Travel to Bronte, Sicily and you will hear of “green gold.” This name has been given to the driver of their economy. The pistachio. Bronte, a town of 20,000 in the shadow of Mt. Etna, accounts for 1% of the world’s pistachios. They even have an annual pistachio festival to celebrate the nut.
What makes these nuts so special? Like the tomatoes grown in the soil of Mt. Vesuvius, the pistachios receive their unique flavor and color from the soil of Mt. Etna. The trees grow on lava rocks on the side of the volcano. Although attempts have been made to relocate the trees to other areas, duplicating the unique quality has never been successful. There is something about the lava rocks that the pistachio trees thrive on. Unfortunately, like any product that is so highly prized, there is fraud with pistachios as well. And to counteract that fraud once again we have D.O.P. status (Protected Designation of Origin). The D.O.P. designation helps to protect against fraud and ensures you are getting an authentic product of the highest quality.
In Bronte, the pistachio is a pretty big deal and it seems like everyone is involved. When it comes time to harvest, nearly everyone young and old comes out to help. Part of what makes these nuts so special is the way they are grown. It is not lines of trees like you would see at an apple orchard, but they grow on the side of Mt. Etna. Imagine climbing a mountain and then out onto tree limbs to harvest a nut. That is what happens every other year in Bronte. No machines can climb the steep terrain so it’s all hands on deck. These pistachios are only harvested every other year to give the tree time to rest. The year off is the only time when any maintenance is done to the trees. Buds are cut off to help preserve the trees energy.
Once harvested, 80% of the pistachios are exported all over the world. Due to the limited supply, they are more expensive and not used in mass production lines. They are sold to companies that value the quality of the product and believe it is worth the price.
Crema di Pistachio DOP Bronte is sweet and retains the beautiful green color from the pistachios. The cream can be used a base for gelato or semifredo, a filling for cannoli, or can be spread on crepes, toast, or pancakes.
These pistachios are combined with other ingredients to produce a cream that makes your mouth water in anticipation. The special conditions under which they are grown produce a nut bold with flavor and a beautiful shade of green. Mix some cream in any batter to create a delicious new spin on your recipe or simply enjoy on toast. It’s sure to please every time!
You can find Crema di Pistachio DOP Bronte at Santisi.