Tuscany is sunny, tranquil, and the wind seems to blow life around in a different sort of way. Spend a week or two in Montepulciano and you may have trouble leaving. A glass of cool, creamy Crema di Lemoncello, a local specialty, is the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer night.
Montepulciano is one of the rustic, hillside towns of Tuscany. Set in the heart of a prominent wine producing area, it is a region rich in culture, gastronomy and scenic views. Days spent here are filled drinking the local Vino Nobile, eating steak Chianina and walking around the walled city. On a hot summer night, a cool, glass of crema di lemoncello is a nice way to chill down. Usually a winter drink, the creamy liquor is a great way to enjoy the classic Italian Lemoncello drink. This recipe, given courtesy of local Nicla Bernardini of Belmondo Farm, is an easy way to enjoy the drink at home.
Crema di Lemoncello
1000g Everclear or very strong, inexpensive vodka
10-15 lemons, organic (you can use a mixture of lemons and oranges if you prefer)
1000g whole milk
1200g white caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
1. Pour alcohol into a large vessel and zest lemon rinds into it. Let sit for at least 24 hours(pictured left).
2. In a medium sized, heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring milk to a simmer. Whisk in sugar and vanilla. Allow to cool completely and strain. Milk must be completely cooled or you risk it curdling when adding alcohol. If easier, do this step the day before as well.
3. Strain lemon zest from alcohol. Slowly add alcohol to milk, tasting for strength according to preference (pictured left). Make necessary adjustments with extra sugar as needed. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Pour into bottles and store. Serve chilled.