Pairing dishes with the sweet, lemony taste of limoncello is easier than you may think, especially when it’s mixed in a lovely cocktail.

Sara Massa, Brand Manager for Villa Massa Limoncello, gives us some insight into pairing food with this amazing Italian liqueur. Villa Massa’s limoncello uses a family recipe that dates back to 1890, a recipe that has always used Sorrento lemons.

Villa Massa family in lemon orchard

Photo Courtesy of Villa Massa

These large, bright yellow citrus fruits are quite specific in character, possessing their own protected Geographical Indication (PGI) by the E.U. Some years later, limoncello from the Sorrento region received its own protected status. Sorrento lemons are particularly juicy with a balanced acidity and powerful fragrance, all of which translate into the limoncello for which they are used.

Sara Massa of Villa Massa, what's chilling right now

Photo Courtesy of Villa Massa

The bright, sweet-tart flavor of Villa Massa limoncello makes it a natural base for spring and summer cocktails. Sara is partial to the Villa Massa & Tonica. That recipe, along with one for Villa Massa Sanguinella, which Sara calls a “sophisticated kick start to enliven the palate,” are here faves and here’s what she likes to pair them with:

Villa Massa Tonica cocktail made with Limoncello liqueur

Villa Massa Tonica

Photo Courtesy of Villa Massa

Villa Massa & Tonica

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Villa Massa Limoncello
  • 3 oz. Tonic Water
  • 3 fresh Basil Leaves
  • Ice

Preparation: Fill a wine glass with ice. Pour Villa Massa Limoncello and tonic water into glass. Slap a leaf of fresh basil in your hands and add it to the glass. Stir ingredients and serve.

Pair with Spuntini (Italian for “small bites”):

  • Bruschetta
  • Caprese salad with tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese
  • Italian meats as mortadella, bresaola, prosciutto di Parma and salami
  • Smoked salmon tartine or tartare

Villa Massa Sanguinella cocktail made with limoncello liqueur

Villa Massa Sanguinella

Photo Courtesy of Villa Massa

Villa Massa Sanguinella

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Villa Massa Limoncello
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 2 oz. Orange Juice
  • 1 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz. Simple Syrup

Preparation: Pour the ingredients into a shaker with ice and mix. Pour mixture into a low glass with ice, and garnish with an orange slice.

Pair with Cheese:

  • Hard cheese like pecorino or Grana Padano flake
  • Italian green and black olives