This variety of pistachio grows on the rugged terrain of Bronte and nowhere else in Europe. And only here does it have such a brilliant emerald green color and such an intense, resinous, fatty scent.
Nestled on steep roads between Mount Etna and the Nebrodi Mountains, Bronte lives off pistachios: some grow them, some trade them, some turn them into sweets, creams and sauces.
Trees are not fertilized, they are not irrigated – also because there is no water – they are treated very little and pruned a couple of times, to eliminate dry branches and remove the buds in the years of “discharge”. Pistachios, in fact, produce one year and rest one year and, during the latter, farmers remove the few buds sprouting on the branches in order for the plant to store all the energies to explode in the following season.
Awaited for two years, the harvest is the decisive moment. Between the end of August and the beginning of September the village empties out: in the loci (local name for pistachios) everyone works – women, old people and children.
Harvesting is complicated, it is done while balancing on the lava rocks, clinging to the branches with one hand, while with the other hand the grains are picked off one by one, to be dropped into the cloth bag tied around the neck. In a day’s work a maximum of 20 kilos of pistachios are harvested. Only in the easiest grounds it is possible to help by placing a tarpaulin under the tree.
Bronte’s green pistachio is not able to compete with the less tasty but less expensive fruits coming from Iran, Turkey and America. So the main confectionery industries and the big Italian delicatessens – which once bought pistachios in Sicily – turn to foreign production.
Bronte pistachio is harvested in September, shelled product can be found all year long.
The Presidium was launched to help consumers rediscover this high quality product, while also promoting the great Sicilian confectionery, the one capable of making the most of its qualities.
In Bronte there is no store, bar or pastry shop that does not offer pistachio-based sweets: crunchy, fillette (a kind of savoiardi biscuits), torroni and torroncini, pastries, cakes and so on.
Most of them are preparations in which pistachio has taken the place of almond; sweets that belong to the recent history of the country, the one of the last twenty years. In the ancient and rich tradition of Sicilian confectionery, Bronte’s fruit rarely appears: it is sometimes found in nougat, ice cream, cassata, but it is complementary to the real protagonist of the island’s sweets, almond.
Around the world, instead, pistachio is a fundamental ingredient of many typical preparations.
Municipality of Bronte (Province of Catania)
Pietro Bonaccorso, Bronte (Ct), Zona artigianale Capannone 22, Tel. +39 095 7724121 /+39 328 4840586, email@example.com
Antonino Caudullo, Bronte (Ct), Viale Regina Margherita 132, Tel. +39 095 7722372 / +39 328 8283043, firstname.lastname@example.org
Piergrazia Licandro, San Pietro Clarenza (Ct), Vico Cardillo 4, Tel. +39 095 529933 /
+39 348 9318556, email@example.com
Biagio Schilirò, Bronte (Ct), Via Giotto 13, Tel. +39 328 2513628, firstname.lastname@example.org