“We’d like to buy some limoncello to take home. Can you suggest a place to snag a bottle or two?” This request used to send me reeling. Personally, I can live without the stuff–amaro and grappa rank way higher for me on the digestivo deliciousness scale. But visitors, having been served tart homemade versions of the citrus-based digestif after a fish feast on the Amalfi Coast or the Pontine Islands, would want to take a 750mL dose of vacay home with them. I can hardly blame them. But most of the stuff on the market is made in factories–not some nonno’s cellar–and has all the appeal and balance of yellow highlighter-infused jet fuel. My quest for some decent potable citrus souvenirs led me to La Cardellina, a tiny eco-shop on Vicolo del Cedro 33 in Trastevere, where small batch digestivi are among the many attractive offerings. The shelves are lined with a small but well curated selection of natural wines from biodynamic producers, artisanal pastas, honeys, organic olive oils, and jams. It has become my go-to shop for boozy gifts and I even swing by from time to time for amaro and grappa tastings during my Trastevere tours.
La Cardellina completely rules and it’s thanks to the unbelievably nice and super committed owners Enrico Gastaldo and Matteo Casilli. They could easily sell industrial junk and make out like bandits like nearly everyone else in tourist-laden Trastevere. But they are totally devoted to showcasing products they love and frankly, this approach is fresher than an ice cold shot of limoncello.