The best of the best France lost lemons are arriving back.
If you want to know how much the inhabitants of the coastal city of Menton love their favourite lemon, take a look at the legend that attributes its appearance on the French Riviera to Eve.
It is said that Eve, expelled from the Garden of Eden, took a lemon with her on her journey. Adam, fearing eternal condemnation, begged her to throw him away, which she demanded to be done only in place of her choice. And so he found Menton, nestled in the glittering bay of Garavan, where the Alps slope down just enough to form slopes aligned east to west, ideal conditions for growing lemons.
Although the legend itself cannot be authenticated, the symbolism of the heavenly lemon is rooted in the folklore of this seaside town of about 30,000, where the bus line is called “d “Ze “te”, and the lemon motif seems like a logical choice to many. Local business activities. The city almost doubles in size during the Fete du Citron, an annual festival held in February celebrating the history and culture of tregion’sn’s citrus cultivation, especially the Menton lemon, an officially recognized species that is different from Corsican, Spanish or Italian. Cultivar due to its delicate flavour and large round shape with uneven skin.
The festival’s attraction lies in its platforms and sculptures, each containing over three tons of lemons and oranges tied with a rubber band to a wire structure shaped to match the year’s theme. Fete du Citron differs from other carnival events in France in that the municipal workers, who spend most of the year maintaining tcity’sy’s buildings, also prepare floats and sculptures. The 2022 edition, titled Opera and Dance, marked the triumphant return of the festival after its cancellation in mid-2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sunday’s parade was an anniversary parade featuring roaring bands, flamboyant performers and six floats covered in lemons and oranges, some up to 10 meters high, sculpted to represent the dance styles of samba, kan-kan, haka, matahine, salsa and kathakali. Costumed artists worked alongside smiling city workers in neon green safety vests from the platforms to shower seemingly endless confetti on the 15,000 onlookers, whose outstretched arms signalled they would never have enough. As the party raged in the valley, the terraced hills that dominated the city hid a harsher reality: Menton was once the premier lemon region in all of Europe, but only about fifteen growers remain today.
All fruit for the Fete du Citron sculptures and floats must be imported from Spain”. “The annual production of Menton lemons is between 100 and 120 tons. We need 150 to 180 tons of lemons and oranges during this period. Therefore, the production of Menton lemons is not enough to create the whole festival. Du Ced” o,” tcity’sy’s technical service Director Christophe Genie said that the remaining citrus fruit was sold at a discounted price after the party.
Apart from the biblical legend, the documented history of the rise and fall of the Menton lemon began with its arrival from Spain in the 15th century. The fruit quickly adapted to the temperate microclimate of Menton, created by the unique combination of a protective mountain range and proximity to the ocean.
By the end of the 18th century, the region is estimated to produce one million lemons annually, said David Rousseau, director of Menton’sn’s heritage department”. “In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the lemon was the natural wealth of the city of Menton.
Lemons were exported to the USA, Russia. It was a global product “n,” he said. The decline of the Menton lemon began at the end of the French Revolution when laws were repealed that protected it from competition from other lemon-producing regions.
The second blow came in the 19th century when the arrival of British winter tourists led to the construction of hotels and villas on citrus terraces. Finally, in the 1950s, an unusual cold wave marked the extinction of the Menton lemon”. “Severe frosts in Menton and France killed the remaining lemon the “s,” Rousseau said”. “In the 1980s, lemons started to make a comeback, thanks to several growers who saw the potential of lemons and put them back into production” Show Source Texts.
One such manufacturer is Laurent Gannac. Originally from southwestern France, Gannack came to Menton in 1988 to work as a landscape architect.
He said that every time he brought lemon trees to customers in the area, he was asked: Is this a lemon from Mento”? “I have a background in science and agriculture and have never even heard of Menton lemons “s,” he said. He quickly became interested in learning about the species and planted his first Menton lemon tree in 1991. At the time, Nanak said, the few remaining manufacturers wondered why a young man might be interested in a seemingly extinct product.
Today Hannack and his son own 750 trees on 2.5 hectares of land and plan to grow 1,000 trees over the next three years. Although his business pales in comparison to that of growers in Spain or Italy, Gannach proudly calls himself the first person in recent years to make his living entirely from the Menton lemon. And yet he is one of the very few.
“Planting 400 trees here means starting from a completely abandoned area, putting it in order, levelling the terraces, creating irrigation ponds and protecting it from wild boa “s,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, especially when you consider that it takes eight years for the investment to pay”
Now, Hannack says that is changing, thanks mainly to the efforts of local authorities, growers and other stakeholders to obtain an EU Protected Geographical Indication for the Menton lemon, which he received in 2015. Menton Lemon at that time for almost two decades; during this process, Hannack encountered the uniqueness of this species during a visit to the French National Institute for Agricultural Research.
“I always thought Mentonese were a little biased towards their LEMON,” he said”.
It has a different taste and texture than lemon you’ll find elsewhere and can even be eaten straight from the tree (like the fruit). We want to keep this particular variety”. “Every year, we plant new trees to continue the culture,” Colagreco said. In season, chefs use fruit in dishes such as Menton Lemon Pie or Fish Larva Tourbillon with Menton Lemons and Herbs. Lemon conf “t “remembers the taste all year round”.