Pistachio from Bronte
Bronte, located in the province of Catania, Sicily, is where the best pistachios comes from.
Here are some interesting facts about Pistachio and, how did it get to the Sicilian land: Hailing from the Mediterranean area, pistachio is a plant that comes from Persia and Turkey, where thrived because of the climate and was cultivated for its seeds that are still used today worldwide both in sweet and savoury preparations.
Its name comes from the Greek work Pistakion and the first mention of the word “pistachio” is to be found in the Old Testament and then in the Genesis, mentioned as a exquisite gift for people.
Pistachio was also renowned among Eastern civilisations, like Babylonians and Jordans, since the third Century BC. and used as a cure for poisonous animals or as an aphrodisiac.
Most of Middle-Eastern desserts today have pistachios as their main ingredients, such as the well known pistachio baklava.
But how did pistachio get to Italy?
It is Pliny the Elder who, thanks to his writings about the History of Nature, reports how Lucius Vitellius (Roman governor in Syria) brought pistachio plant to Spain and Italy around 20/30 AD.
The plant didn’t flourish as well as abroad on Italy’s territories because of the different climate and cultivation’s techniques and so from a fruit plant it was converted in wood material to be used and burned at home.
It’s only thanks to the Arabs, more or less eight Centuries later, that pistachio comes back in Italy as an edible element. Conquering Marsala, in Sicily, in 902 AD, they started to cultivate it properly finding in the territory at Etna’s feet the perfect habitat for it.
It is in Bronte, in fact, town in the province of Catania, Sicily, located at Vulcano Etna’s feet, that the plant flourished and developed its unique organoleptic characteristics thanks to the volcanic ground, made fertile by lava’s ashes.