Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO

Production Area

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The Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO refers to the pistachio nut, with its shell, shelled or peeled, of plants belonging to the Pistacia vera species, deriving from the Napoletana cultivar (also known as Bianca or Nostrale).

Production Method

The product is mostly cultivated in lava soil, an ideal substrate for growing turpentine trees, the common name given to the Pistacia terebinthus plant, which is the most important grafting support for the propagation of Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO. Pistachio groves can be specialised or associated with other types of plants, and the only consented training methods are “shrub”, “free-vase” and “single-plant”. Harvesting is carried out by hand every two years, and generally takes place between August 20th and October 10th. The pistachio nuts must be hulled within 24 hours of harvesting: the edible part of the fruit is separated from the external and fibrous hull. Later the fruits are dried in their shells at a temperature of 40-50°C, until obtaining nuts with a residual humidity between 4 and 6%. Parts of the product are then shelled or peeled, removing the purple-pinkish film by immersing the product in boiling water; the nuts are then dried. These procedures can be carried out mechanically. The product can be stored for up to 24 months after the harvest; the dry pistachio nuts must be put in jute, paper or polythene bags.

Appearance and Flavour

The Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO nuts have a long and slightly flattened shape, about the size of an olive. The colour of the external part of the fruit with its shell is ruby red, whilst inside it is emerald green. The flavour is strongly aromatic.

Production Area

The production area of Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO is within the municipal areas of Bronte, Adrano and Biancavilla in the Province of Catania, in the Sicily region.

History

The pistachio plant was imported to Sicily by Arabs during their domination in the VIII and IX centuries. Its long life and resistance to bad atmospheric conditions allowed the pistachio plant to settle steadily in the volcanic soils that were difficult to cultivate - the so-called sciare - which characterise Bronte and its surrounding areas. In fact, over the years it became the most important local cultivation in terms of surface area and profits. The local population developed their tradition and wealth through the cultivation of pistachio plants thanks to the hard work of farmers, who passed on their knowledge of caring for the lochi, the local name for pistachio tree groves, from generation to generation, contributing to the fact that the town of Bronte acquired the name “pistachio city”.

Gastronomy

Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO should be stored in a cool, dry place. It can be eaten without cooking or processing, as a snack or with an aperitif, although thanks to its distinctive aroma and quality it has always been the primary element used in Sicilian confectionery products and cuisine in general. It is traditionally used by confectioners from Bronte as a basic ingredient for ice-creams, pastries, creams and spirits, or to prepare the tasty “pistachio cake” with sponge cake filled with chocolate.

Marketing

The product is marketed as Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO. It is sold in the shell, shelled or peeled, finely chopped or semi-processed as pistachio flour or paste. It is wrapped in new packaging made from suitable materials.

Distinctive Features

Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO is neither roasted nor salted. In addition to its uniform green colour and strong aroma, it has many nutritional properties: it contains vitamin A and is rich in iron, phosphorus and monounsaturated fats, in particular: palmitic acid, minimum 10%; linoleic acid, minimum 15%, elements which help strengthen the body’s immune system and promote general well-being.

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