When you think of Lake Garda, the first images that come to mind definitely include the famous lemon groves along the Brescia shore of the lake.
The citrus cultivation on Lake Garda have been identified as the northernmost in the world. In fact, thanks to the mild temperatures along the lake shores, the climate is almost Mediterranean and allows the cultivation of lemons, oranges, tangerines, cedars and other Mediterranean species, such as capers and aromatic herbs.
The citrus fruits of Garda
The lemon groves have been present near the lake as early as the 15th century. Once they were very vast, and scattered throughout the Brescia coast, especially between Gargnano and Limone.
Currently, the groves in use are very few - one of those you can visit is the Limonaia of Castel di Limone sul Garda, just a few kilometers from Tremosine sul Garda!
The lemons of Lake Garda continue to be very well known and are among the main ingredients of Garda and Tremosine sul Garda dishes such as honey with lemon, biscuits and baked products flavored with the peel, or even fish dishes that get an extra kick with the grated peel of Garda lemons.
Oranges, grapefruits and tangerines are grown in the gardens and on the balconies Garda area, especially for domestic use.
In the area you can also find cedars, mainly used for candied specialties, jams and alcoholic beverages like cedar water, or drinks produced by the famous company Tassoni from Salò.
Spices, herbs and capers
The fields on the Tremosine sul Garda mountains allow the cultivation of different aromatic herbs, and they’re also the ideal location to collect wild herbs, thanks to their rich biodiversity and uncontaminated air.
Traditional Mediterranean herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary, are the main ingredients used to flavour meats, sausages and to create excellent flavoured salts.
Garda capers grow wild in the Alto Garda Bresciano Park area, and they have been appreciated for hundreds of years. They’re the perfect touch to flavour freshwater fish dishes from Lake Garda.
Around Lake Garda you can also find a small production of a very precious spice - saffron!
Curious facts - Goethe and his ‘Journey to Italy’
During his famous ‘Journey to Italy’, the German poet Goethe discovered the beauty of Lake Garda and dedicated some verses to the Garda lemon groves: “Do you know the land where lemon blossom grows? Amid dark leaves the golden orange glows…”