Sara Massa is the next generation of the Villa Massa domain.
Her father, Stefano and his brother Sergio, founded the premium Italian Limoncello company in 1991 based off of an ancient family recipe that dates back over a century. At that time, the Villa Massa family was the first to produce traditional Sorrento Limoncello out of Italy. Chilled got to chat with Sara, one of the most charismatic brand managers out there, about her family’s brand.
Villa Massa Limoncello uses a family recipe dating back to 1890. Tell us a bit about your brand’s history.
The tradition has it that, in the end of the nineteenth century, the great families of Sorrento never failed to offer their distinguished guests a taste of Limoncello, the liqueur produced at home using the finest lemons from the family lemon grove.
My family was also one among these. We used to make limoncello at home and offer to our guests as an aperitif and digestive.
The intuition of producing the family limoncello recipe to a larger scale, came to my uncle while talking to the farmer who took care of our lemon garden. He realized that the man was quite upset because he could not pay for the labor required to gather even the ripe lemons. Then he noticed that the lemon liquor of his grandmother was preferred by our guests to other branded liqueurs. Thus my father and uncle founded Villa Massa with the aim of producing the authentic lemon liqueur for the national and international market.
What was it like growing up in a family so full of tradition and history?
Villa Massa was officially introduced to the world in 1991 and it is the first company to manufacture and commercialize in Italy and abroad the authentic Lemon Liqueur from Sorrento. Despite the different versions, now limoncello is undoubtedly one of the most famous and popular products of the Campania region and even Italy! I think it’s an incredible experience to feel part of this worldwide expansion of our Sorrentine traditions. From our kitchen table to the most refined dining tables.
What is your involvement in branding/marketing Villa Massa Limoncello?
My job as International Brand Manager is very versatile. I get to travel a lot and discover how different countries like to enjoy Villa Massa – neat, in cocktails or paired with specific food. It’s a great balance between promoting my local Italian traditions and discover international and modern habits. The sure thing is that consumers look for more premium and authentic products that are true to noble values and believes. I feel glad to represent a genuine, tasteful & refined lifestyle.
What sets your Limoncello apart from the others on the market?
Its quality and authenticity: (100% natural) prized variety of lemons (PGI), total absence of preservatives and coloring, as well and highly accurate processing techniques, remaining true to the best tradition of the Limoncello of Sorrento.
Pioneer: first one to introduce Limoncello of Sorrento in the industry (1991) and first Limoncello ever exported internationally
What are some of the best ways to enjoy Villa Massa Limoncello?
The traditional way of drinking Villa Massa is at the end of a meal ice cold, neat, in a chilled cordial glass. Nevertheless, it can also be enjoyed in long drinks, served over fruit salad, vanilla ice cream or even in coffee. Or in a Tonica as a great refreshing option for those hot summer days.
Do you have a favorite cocktail or way to enjoy your brand?
My favourite cocktail is Villa Massa & Tonica, a very refreshing and easy to make aperitif. Very few ingredients are needed: Villa Massa (1 part), premium tonic water (3 parts), 3-4 fresh basil leaves (gently smashed among your hands to release the aroma) and bunch of ice. The perfect drink to enjoy before the meal or on a terrace on a beautiful sunny day!
What would you like bartenders/consumers to know about Villa Massa Limoncello?
Villa Massa is made with all-natural, quality ingredients – containing no artificial preservatives, additives or coloring. We exclusively use P.G.I Sorrento Oval lemons, grown only in Sorrento Peninsula. Purely lemons, water, proprietary neutral grain spirit, pure sugar and water. The taste of Mamma’s limoncello!
What is next for Villa Massa?
We see a great opportunity within the current cocktail culture and trend globally. Villa Massa is an all natural product and seems to resonate with this audience. We are excited to provide inspiration to the many cocktail curators by utilizing Villa Massa in their cocktails.