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Food and wine

The Bronte Pistachio

Colourful, good and valuable, useful for preparing desserts, savoury dishes or even to be enjoyed like this, on its own.

3 minutes

Fresh or dried, the pistachio is one of the most precious ingredients of Sicilian cuisine and is also the symbol of the city of Bronte, in the province of Catania, and its economy, so much so that for its value this fruit has earned the nickname "green gold".

The pistachio , in dialect "frastuca", is a long-lived plant that lives to be 300 years old. In and around Bronte he has found his ideal place. Its origins, however, lie further east, in ancient Persia, and it landed in Sicily with the Arabs. The variety that is born and grows in Bronte has peculiar and unique characteristics that distinguish it from all other species, even those cultivated in the same region: the Etna variety is the only one in Italy where "true pistacia" is produced. It is perhaps the volcanic soil that makes it so special. It is here that it grows, in spite of sun- and fire-scorched soil, between the majesty of Mount Etna and the Nebrodi mountains: a natural habitat favourable to this resinous plant with its thick foliage, which needs neither much water nor special treatment, is capable of clinging to the steepest and steepest slopes thanks to its gnarled branches and deep roots. That is why it is called "smash". The harvest, which takes place every two years (in odd-numbered years to be precise) between the end of August and the beginning of September, is a magical moment in which a collective ritual is renewed that involves the entire population of Bronte: women, men, the elderly and children; all climb up to stone, one by one, this precious fruit, with its ivory-coloured skin that encloses within it a triumph of colourful shades, from pastel green to purplish.

Given its unique characteristics, nutritional and organoleptic properties, and unique and unmistakable taste and aroma, in 2009 the Bronte pistachio obtained the PDO mark from the European Union. By establishing, first of all, the cultivation area of the plants, which must take place in the municipalities of Bronte, Adrano and Biancavilla, and regulating the production, harvesting and labelling techniques, an attempt was made to protect the lovers of a product that conquers the palates of anyone who comes to Sicily to discover the flavours and secrets of a magical land. A trip to the eastern part of the island, between the Strait of Messina, the rich scenery of Mount Etna, declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, and the province of Catania, cannot be separated from a journey along the Bronte green gold routes, which allows you to get to know an important part of the Sicilian food and wine tradition. Starting from the famous cannoli, which can be filled with pistachio cream, prepared and eaten fresh in bars and pastry shops, to the wonderful pistachio ice cream, mellow and refined, to the granita, torroncini and the classic bucellato, where it is mixed with almonds, candied fruit and dried figs, also typical flavours of the local confectionery tradition. It can also be used in the form of grains for and garnishing desserts. But the Bronte pistachio is even used as an ingredient in savoury sauces, such as pesto, or as a flavouring for cold meats and sausages. To celebrate its use in the kitchen, the "Sagra del Pistacchio" (Pistachio Festival) takes place every year at the end of September in several squares and streets of the historical centre of Bronte, attracting and winning over thousands of tourists from all over the world.

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