Thursday, July 2, 2015

Philly Made Limoncello!

Pollyood's Storefront Window on 1908 East Passyunk Avenue
This is such a fun time of year for Food Lovers, it's hard to pin down what is floating my boat the most from day to day.

But as you know,  sometimes I come across a discovery that I just have to share.  Such is the case with my discovery that we have our own, home made Limoncello here in Philly!  Yes, you read right.  Home grown Limoncello!  Read on - and then make your way to Passyunk Avenue.  You need to get to Pollyodd!

A few weeks ago, my wife and I met a good friend of ours in order to participate in one of the first "Passyunk Passeggiata" events - that lovely Italian tradition of taking a stroll, having an apertivo or two and some snacks before dinner.  As we sipped and strolled, I remember that a fellow Philly food blogger ( mentioned to me that I had to check out Pollyodd on Passyunk Avenue for some amazing, locally made Limoncello.

Note:  If you are not familiar with Limoncello, it is generally believed to have originated along the Amalfi Coast - the home of the world's most delicious lemons.  It is thought of as an appertivo, a digestivo, or just a lovely way to sip away an afternoon.  Limoncello should always be served chilled.  In Pennsylvania state stores we have generally had two choices of the liqueur  - both imported from Italy.

So, following the good advice that I had received, we made our way to the Pollyodd store at 1908 East Passyunk Avenue.  The owner, Joan Verratti, welcomed us like we were old friends and immediately started us on a taste testing of her wonderful liqueurs. Within minutes, bags were put down on the floor and we were happily sipping the wide array of 5 cream based and 5 water based cello flavors.  Joan of course, makes the traditional lemon - and trust me on this, if you sort of, kind of, like Limoncello but find some brands a bit harsh - you will adore Pollyodd's traditional lemon Lemoncello.  She also produces a lime based liqueur, Limecello, which we all three declared heavenly, especially given the very warm evening.

We then veered from the more traditional and tasted the cream based 'cellos.  Joan makes Lemoncreamcello, Orangecreamcello, Strawberrycreamcello, Bananacreamcello, and Chocolatecreamcello.  Wow!   The flavors are just delicious. And along with what going through my mind, while looking at Joan's collection of cocktail recipe cards, the possibilities for some pretty amazing drinks seemed endless.

Then, we moved on to the water  based cellos.  We had tried the traditional lemon and the aforementioned lime, so we moved on to Orangecello, Chocolatecello, and Mangocello.  Of course we listened intently as Joan described the various cocktails that could be crafted from mixing some of the flavors and/or adding other ingredients.  The water based cellos were also delicious.  I could see that it would all depend on your mood - cream based one day, water based and a bit lighter another.  And again, the potential for lots of invention abound.

Joan and I with some 'cellos
In front of a portrait of her late son
I think I speak for us all when I say that one of the best parts of the whole experience at Pollyodd was getting to know Joan and the story behind the cellos and the shop.  Joan liked to make Italian - American liqueurs at home; her base organization, Naoj & Mot distillery, and the Pollyodd Shop grew from that home based production experience. Each bottle of Joan's cello is made by hand in small batches, and each flavor contains no more than five locally sourced ingredients (water, sugar, grain alcohol, fruits and chocolates).  You should also know that a portion of Pollyodd's proceeds go to fund a scholarship for underprivileged children.  The scholarship is named in memory of Joan's late son, Thomas Joseph.  The Thomas J. Verratti III Memorial Scholarship provides tuition and support for students to be able to attend Bishop Neumann High School.

I am so pleased to urge you to visit  Pollyodd, to meet Joan, to try some of the wonderful cellos and to get into the habit of taking a few home.   It is no secret to readers of this Blog that "Local" is my mantra.  Well, here we have a truly local business, offering wonderful products, and giving something back to the community, as well. In my opinion, Joan's story represents a lot of what the Philly food scene is all about.

And, hey, let's make this home grown business even busier!  Next time you are out to dinner - especially along the Passyunk Avenue corridor - ask for a "Pollyodd" cello before or after your meal.  Rumor has it that the store is not getting as much support as it could from the local eateries and as far as I am concerned that is just crazy!

Let me close with Joan's philosophy of doing business.  I think that says it all:

"dalle mie mani al tuo cuore".  "From my hands to your heart".

And, believe me, she means it.

Happy 4th of July!

Treasure Real Food