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December 2023

Gannac Pere et Fils

The quintessence of lemon 

“We are fortunate to produce fruit with unique flavours.”

By Caroline Stefani  - Photo Jean-Michel Sordello 
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Laurent Gannac has been a Menton lemon-lover for almost 30 years. He left his native South-West to set up a home for the Riviera and grow this unique citrus fruit steeped in 500 years of history. Although Maison Gannac began as a solo venture, it is now a father-son partnership. “The first lemon tree was planted the year I was born - 1991. It must have been fate,” quips Adrien Gannac. “I was brought up around lemons by a man who was passionate about plants. There was a lemon tart on the table on Sundays, and the Lemon Festival monopolised the whole family's attention every year. But since I was a teenager, I've tended to be more interested in entrepreneurship.” So, Adrien chose to go to business school before being drawn back into the family legacy. “I didn't think I'd be able to develop professionally in the agricultural sector. I’ve finally found my place promoting our production and processing the fruit.” Controlled by the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) label, Menton lemon cultivation has its own codes. The two Menton-based producers maintain close links with several “tastemakers”. Michelin-starred chefs, local brewers, biscuit makers, and traditional ice cream makers – they're all in tune with trends and expectations. “It's great to work with a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, who has plans to make biscuits from our lemon rinds and sell them worldwide! We are fortunate to produce fruit with unique flavours. The geographical location and climate in which it is grown lend it great aromatic power. These characteristics mean that the whole fruit can be used, from the juice and zest to the albedo – the white part of the skin. That's the wonderful thing about Menton lemons: they offer an infinite range of possibilities in the kitchen.” In the early noughties, there were only a dozen producers in the area. Today, there are 70 approved growers, including several professionals. Menton's citrus fruit has a bright future ahead and looks set to delight gourmets the world over.

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