What started as a hobby from the love of the yellow liqueur, has given the Eindhoven friends their own little factory at the Fuutlaan since a month. The name? Limoncello Che Dona Luce’ (limoncello that gives light). And that in the city of light, Eindhoven. “We really see a future in this,” says Mr. Boon.
“Nice for with a tiramisu after dinner”, that value had limoncello for friends Harrie Vet (32) and Nick van den Nieuwenhof (24). Vet recalls a dinner at the Eindhoven Italian restaurant Antonio’s, where they ended the meal with a limoncello. “We’re going to make that ourselves, we said to each other ironically. We never expected it would lead to our own organisation a year and a half later.”
The ball didn’t roll immediately, Vet tells us. It took an inspiring trip to the south. “I was on holiday in Italy, where limoncello originates. It seemed predestined. “The owner of the restaurant where I was eating was enthusiastic about our plans and gave me his recipe. That was great, of course.” The next day consisted mainly of phone calls with Van den Nieuwenhof, in order to arrive at the business plan.
This is how the first seeds of the luminous bottle were planted. “I arrived in Italy with a boot full of bags and suitcases, but when I left it was full of lemons,” laughs Vet. The friends from Brabant set to work. First in the living room, then in a friend’s barn. And now they have their own little factory on Fuutlaan. “After some blind tastings, we came up with our own limoncello. That took about a month.”
The Eindhoven men put their hands to the wheel. “When a crate of two thousand lemons is delivered here, we start peeling them. About eighteen of us. Friends, family, everyone gets a peeler. Then the peels are put into airtight barrels with alcohol. The alcohol extracts the oil from the peel. We shake the barrels daily for three weeks, and then we filter. The last step is crucial, according to Vet: “We add a lot less sugar than most recipes do, so that freshness of the lemon is optimal.” Once every three months, such a mega-chest arrives. Good for 1400 bottles.
Unique bottle design
Still, it’s the bottle that makes the product, says Vet. “We had Egmond Design in Son en Breugel design the bottle”. The bottle features iconic Eindhoven buildings like the Klokgebouw and the Evoluon. “The skyline of Eindhoven could not be missing, and we wanted something with a light bulb. Then you also have the name right away.”
The Philips Fruittuin is the purveyor of the yellow fruit. “We are very happy about that: it means we can be sure that it is organic. You don’t want anything sprayed on the skin of this product.
Because only the peels are used, the rest of the lemons go to care farm ‘t Huisven in Heeze. There they are used to make organic lemonade, which is alcohol-free. Vet and Van den Nieuwenhof are happy to participate in this social project. “It is made in the day care centre. That way you also contribute something to the people who get pleasure from it.
The product is a great success, Vet says. They are slowly building up a large network in the festival world, and have even had their own pop-up stall at the Bontgenoten festival. But the next logical step, according to Vet, is to expand into the catering sector. “We are already working on that, the plan has been there for a few months. We’d like to take that step as soon as possible.”
Translated by: Anitha Sevugan