The Land Where Lemons Grow

The Land Where Lemons Grow
Genre : Cookery
Published : 14 Apr 2014 - Penguin
In this delightful new book, the story of citrus runs through the history of Italy like a golden thread

The Land Where Lemons Grow uses citrus to reveal an untold history of Italy, from the arrival of citrons in 2nd century Calabria to Slow Food and cutting-edge genetic research in the 21st. In sensuous and measured prose Helena Attlee explores the curious past and present of citrus; the uses of its essential oils in perfumes; the primitive violence of the Battle of Oranges in Ivrea. She exposes the earliest manifestations of the Mafia among lemon gardens outside Palermo, and traces ongoing links between organized crime and the citrus industry. By combining travel writing with history, recipes, horticulture and art, Helena Attlee takes the reader on a unique and rich journey through Italy's cultural, moral, culinary and political past.


Thrillingly sensual, and zesty in every sense, Helena Attlee is the best of companions as she leads us through sundrenched citrus groves and in and out of history. A book full of surprises, with many curiosities, stories and recipes on the way".

Deborah Moggach, author of THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

Inspired and inspiring, in prose as sharp as the fruit it celebrates

David Wheeler, editor of Hortus

This is the first among my books of the year. Every page of Attlee's subtle fusion of history and horticulture made me feel that it's time to pack the bags again for Italy

Jonathan Keates Literary Review

4 stars. Attlee, who knows and loves Italy and the Italians, takes the reader through the country's scented gardens with her sharp descriptions, pertinent stories and quotes and intriguing recipes. I was there with her

Anna del Conte, Sunday Telegraph

Fascinating . . . A distinguished garden writer, Attlee fell under the spell of citrus over ten years ago and the book, like the eleventh labour of Hercules to steal the golden fruit of the Hesperides, is the result. She writes with great lucidity, charm and gentle humour, and wears her considerable learning lightly . . . Helena Attlee's elegant, absorbing prose and sure-footed ability to combine the academic with the anecdotal, make The Land Where Lemons Grow a welcome addition to the library of citrologists and Italophiles alike

The Times Literary Supplement

A paradise of citrus is how I always think of Italy too: a place where ice-cold limoncello is sipped from tiny glasses on piazzas, and everything from ricotta cake to osso bucco is enlivened with zest. What a joy, therefore, to read Helena Attlee's The Land Where Lemons Grow, which tells the story of Italy through its citrus fruit

Bee Wilson, Telegraph

Truly fascinating . . . For many years, Attlee has been collecting evidence for a story of citrus trees in Italy. The result, THE LAND WHERE LEMONS GROW, is remarkable, excellently produced and essential for all lovers of Italy, their summer libraries and out-of-season itineraries . . . Attlee's book is unmissable for anyone intrigued by the relation between humans' travel, greed and ingenuity and the spread of the plants that we eat, smell and drink

Robin Lane Fox, Financial Times

It turned out to be the book I pressed on friends more than any other this year. If they were bemused, I hope they remained to be charmed. I read it randomly a few pages at a time until there were no pages I hadn't read twice. It was my respite from purposive reading.

Tom Stoppard TLS, Books of the Year

A beautifully written book, infused with the bittersweet scent of citrus fruits and the flavour of Italy


No matter how lovely your holiday destination, this book will make you yearn to be in Italy...An absolute joy

Daily Mail

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