The Bronte pistachio has a thousand-year history that dates back to ancient times, told by legends and myths that all together meet in the town west of Etna. On the steep streets of this village, between ups and downs paved in ancient stone and stunning medieval architecture, the festival of pistachio, the quintessentially Sicilian fruit planted by the Arab rulers of the 1800s, is then celebrated.
Main protagonist of Etnean volcanic paths, the pistachio plant produces a fruit with unique sensory properties, thus representing the main ingredient of refined and noble pastry productions. In September, the Bronte PDO pistachio festival will allow you to delight your taste buds while discovering stories of ancient aristocratic families. You will walk along extremely narrow streets, the same ones where Verga set his novel “Freedom”.
A small town on the slopes of Etna, Bronte celebrates the Green Gold of Sicily in autumn
Pistachio from Bronte is celebrated in September, when a famous festival takes place. Thousands of people flock there, attracted by this particular quality of pistachio. Savory and sweet products cheer up many autumn nights.
Bronte is a beautiful village near Catania, on the slopes of Mount Etna, where this premium-quality pistachio is grown. The volcanic and clay soil properties make the Bronte variety an excellent food to be consumed on its own, or in recipes of tasty sweets from the ancient Sicilian tradition.
Those who opt for visiting the place cannot help but take some nature trails, in search of caves and ancient lava flows; the landscape is suggestive and nature is the real protagonist, as it always is in the whole island. Bronte is full of churches rich in history and art, you will suddenly feel immersed in a medieval village, where many alleys intertwine following one another.
Historical events took place in Bronte, and one of them occurred in 1799, when the British admiral Horatio Nelson was awarded the title of Duke of Bronte by Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. The king gave him some plots of land, upon which the church of Santa Maria and a castle near the Maniace area had been previously built.
Cultivated by the Arabs in volcanic soils, robust and lush, the pistachio plant has unique sensory properties rarely found in other parts of the world
Grown at an altitude between 300 and 800 meters, Bronte pistachios are appreciated across the globe. Labelled as “protected designation of origin” since 2009, pistachio was used in the preparation of sweets to be presented at ceremonies in the palaces of the Sicilian aristocracy. Whether it be almond paste, a delicate cream or the typical cannoli, this ingredient made the celebrations of Sicilian noblemen a memorable experience.
The pistachio plant is native to Asia Minor, in particular Bronte’s Pistacia Vera is a tree that could reach a height of over 10 meters, so in order to ease the process of harvesting, the farmers avoid this by pruning the trees approximately every two years.
The pistachio plant has a lifespan of about 300 years, being highly resistant to both dry and hot climates. The native variety of Bronte in particular, which grows on the slopes of Etna from Bronte to Ragalna, can sometimes regrow even after being destroyed from the lava of the volcano.
The pistachio tree is characterized by sexed inflorescence, so we can have male and female trees, but since botany tells us that a male tree can fertilize up to ten female trees, farmers tend to plant even only one male tree for a whole piece of land.
Bronte PDO Pistachio matches perfectly with almond paste, and is one of the noble ingredients that characterize the famous Isabella cake.