Uncertain origins  

To this day, the origin of the bergamot remains uncertain and many stories flourish about the precious fruit.

Some say it was offered as candied fruit to Emperor Charles V during a banquet in Rome in 1536, proven historical facts, or Tales of the Arabian Nights, we know for a fact that the bergamot tree is a hybrid, resulting of the crossing between bitter orange and lemon.

The first plantation essential oil production brings us back to 1750 in the city of Reggio di Calabria, extreme south of Italian mainland.

An exclusive partnership

The bergamot is mainly grown in Calabria, in a generous and balanced terroir, and more particularly on a narrow strip of land along the Ionian sea and the Tyrrhenian sea. There, the farmers are almost the exclusive suppliers of the flavor and fragrance industry, a large percentage of the fruits used for this market comes from this remote place.

Since 2019, Bontoux, through an exclusive partnership with the family business Azienda Agricola Patea, has been strengthening its position and commitment to the development of the organic bergamot.

Based on the eastern Ionian coast of Calabria in Brancaleone, Patea promotes bergamots in different ways, such as juice, liquor… while cultivating, collecting and processing bergamots for its essential oil.

Strongly committed to the preservation of the environment, Patea is regularly audited by Ecogrupo Italia, which provides its organic label.

In 2022, our partner’s gardens have been certified GLOBALG.A.P. Farm Sustainability Assessment (GG FSA), GOLD performance level. The FSA is designed to improve the social, environmental, economic, and overall management practices of farms.

Azienda agricola Patea has been awarded GLOBALG.A.P. RISK ASSESSMENT ON SOCIAL PRACTICE (GRASP), thus continuing its social responsibility efforts to meet the many requirements of the most demanding customers.

GRASP is designed to extend the social standards of the GLOBAL G.A.P. certification.

GLOBALGAP® certification covers, among other things, the implementation of good agricultural practices for cultivation activities, the preservation of resources and environmental protection, and the health and safety of workers.

In the garden

There are 3 cultivars of bergamot, each one with its specificities:

Fantastico : The most widespread of all cultivars nowadays, the tree is vigorous and very productive. The fruit often grows in bunches, and the yield can be up to 120 kg per tree per season.

Castagnaro : A very productive and hardy cultivar, the yearly yield can approach 200 kg fruits characterized by very thick and sometimes rough zest.

Femminello : Despite a lower yield, smaller fruit, and thinner zest, this cultivar is less sensitive to climatic variations during the production cycle.


In the gardens of Calabrian producers, bergamot trees grow from the grafting of a small branch of bergamot on a bitter orange tree, about 5 years later the tree begins to produce its first fruits.

The fruits start to be ripe from December to February, this is when the pickers collect by hand the bergamots and transport them to Patea’s factory.

The peel of bergamot, whatever the variety, is very hard and it is common to let the fruit rest at the factory for another two to three days to soften the skin, before extraction.

Essential oil

The main interest of bergamot lies in the floral and citrusy essential oil contained in the flavedo.

To extract the precious elixir, we use the cold pressing process, the fruits are processed in a unique device called Pelatrice.

In the Pelatrice, the bergamots are placed in an auger system at room temperature. Inside the system, water is sprayed while the peel is grated allowing the essential oil to be captured by the water.

After this, the emulsion of water and essential oil is filtered before going to centrifuges in order to separate the oil from the water phase.


Our technical innovations

For more than 30 years Bontoux has built solid partnerships with its Italian producers such as Azienda Agricola Patea. Thanks to these men and women passionate about bergamot, we have acquired an in-depth knowledge of the fruit while perfecting our global expertise of the essential oil.

Respecting and preserving all the beauty, freshness and complexity of this oil is essential. Therefore, we have developed cutting-edge technologies, to be able to respond to every request from our customers and adapt our natural ingredients to all specific needs, such as furocoumarin free or colorless bergamot essential oil.

These technical innovations, enhanced by several generations of experts within Bontoux, allow us to offer tailor made essential oils with varied organoleptic profiles and multiple applications.