Maison Gannac Crt Cote D Azur France Yann Savalle 3Maison Gannac
©CRT Côte d'Azur France / Yann Savalle
The routes des saveurs:

on the gourmet trails of the menton lemon

In the Mediterranean glow of the Côte d’Azur, a small, charming town stands out not just for its picturesque landscapes, but also for a golden treasure that awakens all the senses: Menton, the home of exceptional lemons. The Routes des Saveurs (Flavour Routes) lead us into an authentic, scented and sun-soaked world where each zest reveals a world of flavour and history.

MENTON, A LAND OF EXCELLENCE FOR THE LEMON

The lemon: The gold of Menton

Jewel of the Côte d’Azur, Menton has developed as a land of excellence for the lemon and offers us an exceptional terroir which has shaped the international reputation of its citrus fruits.

The gentle, sunny Mediterranean climate, paired with ideally drained soils, creates ideal conditions for lemon production.

This land, bathed in light and just a stone’s throw from the sea, gives birth to Menton lemons of an incomparable quality, presenting a distinctive golden colour and a subtle taste characteristic of these citrus fruits.

Its elliptical, rather than round, shape; its light- to dark-yellow skin, sometimes tending towards green; its clear juice; and its high essential-oil content make the Menton lemon unique in France!

HERITAGE KNOW-HOW

Cultivated since the 16th century, the Menton Lemon carries within in it the passion of the men and women who have brought it to excellence.

At the heart of these orchards lies the traditional know-how of local producers like Le Moulin de Gorbio, Emilie et Les Citrons de Pépé, La Ferme des Citrons, La Citronneraie aux Quatre Vents, Maison Gannac and the producers Christelle and Christophe Sacchelli.

On the Route des Saveurs, these estates and farms open their doors to us for a unique tour and a tasting of their products.

At times passed down from generation to generation, their expertise expresses itself at each stage of the production, from planting to harvest.

This painstaking attention therefore contributes to the global reputation of Menton lemons, making them real Mediterranean jewels.

MENTON LEMON AND THE PGI: RECOGNITION OF A QUALITY AND A TERROIR

The Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) guarantees not only the link between a product and its terroir, but also the fruit’s full traceability, throughout its life cycle. The citrus orchards must therefore be located a maximum of 7 km from the sea, as the crow flies, and at an altitude of at least 390 metres.

Recognised since 2015, this “Menton Lemon” PGI territory extends across the municipalities of Menton, Roquebrune Cap-Martin and the villages of Gorbio, Castellar and Sainte-Agnès.

Its specificity lies in the fact that the lemon ripens on the tree, is collected only by hand, undergoes no processing after harvest and is not waxed in any way. It is only after they have passed through a packaging station that these lemons become the famous Menton lemons!

A DISTINCTION AT THE PARIS GENERAL AGRICULTURAL COMPETITION

In 2023, the Menton Lemon achieved new heights as it brought home a prestigious award from the Paris General Agricultural Competition.

At this edition, it was the Organic Menton-Lemon Limoncello by Maison Gannac, previously La Maison du Citron, that was recognised with a prestigious silver medal.

And it is, of course, the zests of organic, PGI Menton lemons, infused for several weeks in an organic alcohol, that give it this inimitable taste.

This year, a Yuzu jam was awarded silver medal at the International Agriculture Show’s General Agricultural Competition.

Laurent, with 30 years of experience in lemon production, therefore brings his expertise to each stage of the process, supported by his son Adrien.

The exceptional quality of these lemons and the constant know-how of these producers therefore continues to propel this juicy, tangy treasure towards its well-deserved recognition!

THE LEMON FESTIVAL, AN ICONIC CÔTE D’AZUR EVENT

Each February, the Menton Fête du Citron® stands out as a major event, delighting young and old alike.

Over the course of a fortnight, the town becomes a real paradise of citrus fruits, decorated with monumental sculptures made from thousands of lemons and oranges.

Parades, light shows and tastings of local products come together to complete this festival, making it an unforgettable experience.

The Fête du Citron®‘s recognition by the Ministry of Culture in 2019 has added an extra dimension to this exceptional celebration.

Its addition to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in France underlines its importance in the preservation and transmission of cultural heritage.

It also establishes Menton as an iconic location where creativity, tradition and joy come together every year in a festive and delicious atmosphere!

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