Monaco: the bitter orange harvest is in full flow!

Publication date: 26/01/2023
Every year, from the middle of January to early February, the bitter oranges known locally as "bigarades" are harvested in the streets of the Principality.

For the last ten days, the gardeners of the Department of Urban Amenities have been working their way through the streets of Monaco, harvesting fruit from the 566 orange trees growing in every corner of the Principality. The aim is to ensure not a single fruit is wasted! Members of the public can come along and collect oranges free, as many times as they wish. Last year, 7.6 tonnes were harvested, with just over 1 tonne distributed to the public.

Most of the produce is distributed to a handful of organisations, including the Distillery of Monaco which uses the ingredients to make its famous liqueur. Schools also use the fruit for educational projects, while the Lycée technique et hôtelier makes fruit jellies. The leaves and branches pruned are mulched and scattered in the gardens of MC.

Nothing is wasted, nothing is created: everything is transformed

Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier


Produce and expertise made in Monaco

The Distillerie de Monaco makes full use of the precious citrus fruits, extracting every drop of flavour. 

As the trees are not treated with pesticides, the zest can be used safely and gives the liqueur its distinctive aroma. It is also used to make the famous local essential oils. The juice is fermented and then distilled on-site for six hours in copper alambics to make the eau-de-vie. The process results in a fine liqueur that is all-natural, and all-Monegasque.

There is almost no end to the ways these bitter oranges can be used, and there's a recipe for every taste: orange wine, marmalade, fruit jelly, stewed fruit, cocktails… Get your aprons on!
The classic local recipe: Monaco Spritz

  • 15cl of Prosecco
  • 5cl of L'Orangerie
  • One orange peel
  • Ice cubes
  • Mix and savour the taste of Monaco in your glass!

Here are the dates on which fruit will be harvested in each district:
Until 27January 
Until 27 January: Boulevard de Suisse and Boulevard d’Italie.
From 30 January to 10 February: Rue Grimaldi
(from 8 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 3.30 pm, weather permitting and depending on how the harvest progresses)

Photo credits: L'Orangerie / Direction de la Communication