From the delicate morning flowers that bloom in May on the Seville orange trees that decorate the terraces of Vallebona, one of the western Ligurian valleys that rise from the Riviera towards the mountains, a distillation of perfumed waters is obtained. A patient work that requires careful harvesting still done by hand.
Seville orange flower water is one of the traditional and most particular ingredients of Ligurian pastry.
Since 2004 the Guglielmi family, in addition to restarting the activity of the local distillery, has repopulated the terraces of Vallebona with Seville orange trees. They also improved the distillation method, switching from copper stills to the current of steam, which helps not to stress the delicate flowers by avoiding direct contact with boiling water.
The distillery was founded at the beginning of the nineteenth century, transforming an alchemist shop into an artisanal commercial enterprise between France and Italy.
Vallebona, a coastal place with a mild climate, offers an ideal location to grow Seville orange plants, originally native to China.
In the spring the skilled distillers obtain a precious essential oil from the bitter orange flowers, with a sweet, feminine and unmistakable aroma. This oil is also known as Neroli, named after the duchess Anna Maria Orsini, princess of Nerola with French origins, admirer of this scent.