Pistachios are my favourite dried fruits. They are tasty and delicate at the same time, good for both sweet and savoury recipes, and on their own as well. Their colour is bright green reminding the most precious emeralds: it is no coincidence that pistachios are also called “green gold”.
I tasted many pistachios during my trips – e.g. in Syria and in Turkey – but none can compete with the Bronte ones.
Pistachio, the pillar of Bronte economy
Bronte is a small village on the Etna’s slopes. Its name means “thunder”, as one of the Cyclopes who shaped Zeus’s thubderbolts. This legend was born when some dwarf elephant’s skeletons were found in a cave in Bronte: the hole in the middle of the skull were mistaken for a Cyclops’s eye.
But those elephants hadn’t the chance to taste pistachios. Indeed these little, delicious fruits arrived in Sicily with the Arab invasion.
Muslims introduced pistachio’s plants in the fertile, igneous ground along with citrus and peaches. The real pistachio is a plant of Persian origin and grows up to six meters in height.
Since that time pistachios are a pillar of local economy: Bronte produces 1% of the world’s output.
The harvest happens every two years in September and the village waits this moment with impatience. Everyone is involved: women, children, students young and old people are glad to be part of the event, shaking the branches and collecting up the precious fruits. When the shell becomes white the fruits are mature and the harvest can begin.
The next harvest will be in the Autumn of 2019, so you can organize a visit to Bronte and attend the show.
How to taste pistachios
Pistachios are delicious on their own, but it is easy to find them in ice-cream, in torrone and in some savoury dishes like pistachio pesto, used as pasta sauce.
The most interesting occasion to taste pistachios is during the dedicated Sagra (festival) held every September in Bronte.
How to recognize the real Bronte pistachio
Simply follow these 4 rules:
- 1. It must have an extended shape, if it has a round shape it is not from Bronte.
- 2. The thin external peel has to have a colour from purple to green. Inside, pistachio has to resemble an emerald.
- 3. Taste it and identify the sweet flavour.
- 4. Ask for the PDO certificate.
Now you are ready to try our special pistachio cream.