A Lemon for the Vicereines

After the amusement of The Great Yak Quest (2019–2022), nothing could have pleased me more than to be assigned a new quest just one year later — an opportunity for shtick which I look forward to milking for as long as possible.

As a result of a misunderstanding following some perfectly innocent asset-pricing research — asking representatives of a neighboring barony how much they would be willing to pay for one of the province’s fine cantons — I was called before their Excellencies of Østgarðr in their Pennsic Court and tasked with bringing them an exceptional citrus.

For presentation at Barleycorn, I figured I would offer them a succade, or candied lemon peel. This method of preserving the intense flavors of citrus fruit beyond its natural season appears to have developed in Asia, and was transmitted from the Middle East to the Mediterranean in the fifteenth century or so, reaching northern Europe by the sixteenth. As a result, this seemed to be an appropriate gift for the vicereines, who are Renaisance-era Florentines.

I obtained a half dozen lemons, sliced them and then separated the peel from the innards of each slice, preserving just a bit of the pith. I blanched these rings of peel in several changes of boiling water, then candied them by simmering for an hour in a simple syrup of equal amounts of water and sugar. Finally, I fished them out one by one and tossed them in some powdered sugar to help keep them from sticking to each other, and packaged them in a glass jar adorned with a tiny bit of green ribbon.

This was the first time I had candied fruit, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out — a nice tart citrus kick, balanced with enough sugar to make it palatable… not something you could eat by the handful, but a pleasant nibble that might pair well with an afternoon drink.

I can be awkward at extemporaneous speechifying, so I put together a script for the presentation and ran through it a few times in advance — I am sure that the words I delivered in court differed in places, but hopefully this will give a sense of the tone I was going for:

3 thoughts on “A Lemon for the Vicereines”

  1. This was a good one to watch and well presented! We enjoyed the delivery and comedy of it. Thanks for putting in the time both for the Shtick and the candies. I had made candied lemon peel for Pennsic so know how much of a project this was. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

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