Sicilian Bronte's Pistachio - the green gold of Bronte
The slopes on Mount Etna, on the east coast of Sicily are the treasure cove of the world famous Bronte Pistachio, also called “green gold” being the most important resource of the area.
Bronte produces only 1% of the world pistachio output, but its quality has no equal. Unlike the products of American or Asia origin, which are mostly yellow-green, the Bronte Pistachio is characterized by an intense bright green colour, with very marked aroma and flavour.
From 2009 , Bronte Pistachio has been granted the DOP marque (Protected Designation of Origin), an international acknowledgment it deserves.
Pistachio tree, with a short and bulky trunk, can live as long as 300 years and develops very slowly. Mount Etna landscape favors this resinous plant, from its thick foliage that necessitates little water, down to its ability to cling the steepest and craggiest mountain slopes. The tree becomes productive only after 10 years. This, in addition to the fact that it must be harvested by hand by shaking the fruit off, collecting them up and placing them onto a ground-sheet, justifies the price.
The Bronte pistachio is sweet, delicate and fragrant. Due to the Laval ground on which it grows, it is rich in vitamins, mineral salts and unsaturated fatty acids. Above all it is unique and for this, along with its size and its brilliant green colour, is greatly appreciated worldwide.
The Bronte Pistachios harvesting
The pistachio harvesting occurs every two years in the month of September, and it lasts about one month.
It is a truly magical event that involves the entire population of Bronte: women, men, the old and the young ascend the heights to pick and shell this splendid fruit, one by one. An almost-sacred rite, the harvest reaps a triumph of brilliant color, from intense green to violet-red, that conquers both aesthetic and palate with its particular brand of Sicilian magic.
The freshly harvested Pistacchio di Bronte, still covered with its hull, is removed from this natural shell, by means of a simple mechanical friction, and the fruit is then dried in the sun for 2-3 days. When it is deprived of its shell, it shows the typical purplish variegations of its protective film. When deprived of its thin reddish-purple skin by means of a short exposure to steam at high pressure, dried and brought to a moisture content of 3-4%, the Pistacchio di Bronte shows its true colour, emerald green.
Bronte pistachios, the “green gold”, are eaten shelled and salted, and have great adaptability, both in the kitchen and the patisserie. They are used in the confectionery industry, above all for cakes, pastries, torrone, mousses, confections, and ice creams.
It is used for preparing sweets, thanks to its intense colouring and flavour which perfectly combines with sugar, thus giving the best of itself. The Pistacchio di Bronte icecream is green, fragrant, pleasantly sweet and characterized by an intense flavour which remains in the mouth. It is one of the most appreciated icecreams in the world.
In the sicilian tradition, pistachios are used to prepare the so called Pesto alla Brontese, used for flavouring pasta dishes as shown in this recipe, for meat stuffing and to stuff the famous Arancini (Sicilian stuffed rice balls).
And to finish up, Pistachio it is also used in the preparation of sausage, excellent in Mortadellas and in salamis, and even in the cosmetics industry.
Look at our recipes page to learn a few special sicilian recipes with pistachio!