The Bronte’s pistachio is a native plant from the Mediterranean, that is grown from the seed, used for the direct uses in pastries and for spice cured meat products. The peculiarity of the Pistacchio di Bronte is the green emerald colour of its flour which makes it privileged in the creation of “torroni” , cakes and ice-creams. The fruit of “Pistacchio di Bronte” gathered in clusters are made up of longs drupe, more little than olives. The “Pistacchio of Bronte” is made up of fine husk, that is easy clean when it ripe.

From cultivation to processing

Situated on steep roads between volcano Etna and the mountain Nebrodi, Bronte lives with Pistacchio: there is those who cultivated it, who trade it, and who transforms it into cakes, creams and sauces.

The trees are not fertilized, not irrigated because there isn’t any water. They are treated very little and are pruned just a couple of times to exterminate the deadwood and take off gems in the year of rest. The Pistachio ,in fact, one year produces and one year rests, during this year, the farmers exterminate the less gems on the branches and this process makes it possible so that the plant can store energy for the next year.

Attesa per due anni, la raccolta è il momento decisivo. Tra la fine di agosto e l’inizio di settembre il paese si svuota: nei lochi (nome locale delle pistacchiete) lavorano tutti: donne, vecchi e bambini. Un’operazione quasi acrobatica: in bilico sui massi di lava e aggrappati ai rami con una mano, con l’altra si staccano i chicchi uno a uno, per farli cadere nella sacca di tela legata al collo. In una giornata di lavoro si raccolgono al massimo 20 chili di pistacchi. Soltanto nei terreni più facili ci si può aiutare sistemando un telone sotto l’albero.

After waiting for two years the harvesting is the decisive moment. Between the end of August and the beginning of September the town empties: in the “lochi” (local name where are Pistacchio’s plants). Everyone works: women, elderly and children. One acrobatic operation in poised on the stones of lava and clinging with one hand to the branches, with the other hand picking the grains one by one, and putting them in a canvas bag tied around the neck. In one days work it can be picked up to a maxim of 20 kilos of pistachio. On easier lands the pistachio can be picked fixing a drop curtain under the tree.

The Pistacchio of Bronte doesn’t keep in competition whit less savoury fruit, but with less expensive definitely coming from Iran, from Turkey and America. So the main Italian confectionary and the big industries ham factory, that before used the Sicilian Pistacchio now they uses pistachio of other places. The Slow Food of Bronte can help rediscover this high quality product, using the big confectionary Sicilian’s shops which are capable of valuing its quality.

The Terebinto

The fundamental and arboreal species of the existence of the Bronte’s Pistachio industry is the “Terebinto” (pistacia terebintus), a shrub which is ramified with a reddish tawny cortex of aromatic resinous odour more rarely it’s a little high tree of 5m of hard, compact and heavy wood.

The fruiting of “terebinto” it’s represented from big red, green-grey drupes, features that makes it very attractive and just for this motive it is used in parks, gardens and villas.

In nature, the propagation of the “Terebinto” it’s helped by birds, that feed on the seeds which are distributed naturally with the faeces which are expelled making more easily germination.

The “Terebinto” is a tree that can live in little deep lands and even in the fissures of rocks.

The “Terebinto” is marked by some unsolicited characteristics what the slow capacity of growing in seedbed and the difficult engrafting the trees, the poor attitude to rooting in vivo and in vitro.