The Principality of Monaco has over 700 citrus trees and part of the oranges are given away free to anyone who would like them.
Not so many people know that a long time ago before there were casinos, tourism, yachting, and the Grand Prix, the Principality of Monaco was an agricultural land. That comes as no surprise since Monaco is blessed with a Mediterranean atmosphere including mild winters and nearly 300 sunny days during the year, with an annual average temperature of 16.6 °C.
Nowadays, you still have the annual lemon festival in the neighbouring city of Menton, France. As the Principality of Monaco has developed into what it is today, it lost its true citrus fruit farms. The only things that have remained from its history are the beautiful lemon and orange trees all over its streets.
It is easy to fall in love with the view and the feeling of the small cozy streets with endless orange trees, where the oranges are like small little balls of sun with their vibrant colours smiling upon you.
The Principality has over 700 citrus trees and the workers of the Department of Urban Amenities collect over four tons of oranges during the annual pruning of the bitter orange trees that line the main roads. It is an incredibly large amount, so one can imagine the view of those little orange balls rolling up and down the streets.
Who could imagine the smart and generous move from the Government that gives away the oranges free to anyone who would like them? This is a “Monégasque tradition”, happening normally at the end of January-February with no prior authorisation required. The principle is that people who wish, Monégasques and or residents, can stop with their baskets below the trees and serve themselves with bitter oranges, regardless of the quantity.
Be aware that most of the oranges of the Principality are bitter, ideal for making jams, wines, and liquors. Due to their bitter taste, however, they are not edible.
Local entrepreneur, Philip Culazzo found this concept impressive and now he produces a 100% Monégasque artisan liqueur, handmade from unprocessed bitter oranges picked from the trees that line the streets of the Principality.
The L’Orangerie Liqueur de Monaco is a smart combination of past and present offering a truly genuine taste of Monaco and at the same time a solution against food waste. Philip has also created a cocktail called Monaco Spritz to embrace the fact that it is made of a local product.