The green pistachio of Bronte could certainly be the city's emblem: its longevity, its willpower to overcome any adversity, even to bear fruits although clinging on lava rocks, reflect somewhat many characteristics of the bronte's people.
A people that is not afraid of hard work, that has always struggled to take home what is necessary; that over the pistachio has built wealth, culture and its traditions, but also the habit to respect the territory in which lives.
It is a precious fruit from ancient and noble origins, always a protagonist in the more refined kitchens, sought-after for its aromatic and pleasant taste.
In particular, today, is utilized in the sphere of sweets and salami factories (confectionery, salami), but also in chemistry and cosmetics (well known the active principles of its oil, to beautify the skin).
The oil extracted from the fruit, particularly delicate, finds application in dermatology for its high emollient and softening quality.
Was known and cultivated by the ancient Jews and it was then considered a precious fruit: Jacob says to his sons to try to soften the heart of the Pharaoh Assurbanipal offering to him these gifts:
«… a little resin, some honey, some myrrh, some pistachio and some almonds» (Genesi XLIII, v.11).
The pistachio (from the Greek Pistàkion) was already known to Assyrians and Greeks as a medicinal drug, a powerful aphrodisiac and as an antidote against bites of poisonous creatures.
Avicenna, considered the Hippocras and the Aristotle of the Muslim East, in his "Canon of Medicine" prescribed it against liver diseases and as an aphrodisiac.
During the high middle ages were the Arabs that, having taken away Sicily from the Byzantine, incremented the pistachio cultivation and this had a great expansion in the territory of Bronte. Of Arab origin are, in fact, the words frastuca and frastucara that respectively indicate the fruit (in Arab "fustuq") and the plant.
In the sciare (stony ground) of Bronte, in fact, was realized an extraordinary union between the plant and the lava ground, that continuously fertilized by the volcano' ashes, favored the production of a fruit that, for taste and flavor, is far superior of the remaining world production.
Here, in a steep and stony land, the brontese peasant has reclaimed and transformed the lava flows of Etna in an unusual Eden, realizing the miracle of a plant born from the rocks to produce small, tasty fruits of the highest quality, of a beautiful color: emerald green, sought after and used in confectionery and gastronomy for their elevated organoleptic proprieties.
Bronte, Italian capital of pistachio
The Mediterranean has always been one of the principal exchange centre for the enhancement of the world alimentary products. Traditionally has been the sea of the taste, of the flavours , of fragrance, of spice. A peculiar characteristic that has formed the culture, the economy and even the scenery, changing it deeply and in a way almost irreversible.
Spice in general but also basil, rosemary, pepper, olives, citrus wine and the vine and other thousands of products and cultivations that have invaded and changed this cultural and geographic space bringing to goods exchange and also to a cultural comparison maintaining a constant common value of taste and traditions.
The products, generally of mid-eastern origin, represent a particular aspect of this patrimony and have had a remarkable influence in the European and Mediterranean gastronomic culture. Cuscus, pepper, wine, chestnuts and hundreds of other products derive from progressive and millenary exchange and the Mediterranean sea has always been its communication space.
Pistachio, an exceptionally antique fruit, known to Babylonians, Assyrians, Jordanians, Greeks, mentioned even in the book of Genesis and reported on the obelisk erected by the king of Assyrians around the VI century B.C., is one of the alimentary products included in the gastronomic patrimony of the Mediterranean people.
Of this precious fruit , brought to Sicily by the Arabs, Bronte represents the principal production area in Italy.
Iran is the biggest producer of pistachio in the world with a surface of 230.000 hectares followed by Turkey with 39.000 hectares, United States with 31.000 hectares and Syria with 20.000 hectares.
In Europe only Italy, Greece and Spain produce pistachio / the first two with about 9.000 hectares and Spain with 1.500, of which 2.000 in Andalusia.
In Sicily the pistachio grows prevalently in Bronte occupying there about 80% of the cultivable area, also in Adrano and Ragalna, in the province of Agrigento, particularly in Favara and Raffadali, and finally in S.Cataldo, province of Caltanissetta. The average biennial Sicilian production is about 32.000 quintals of shelled product, 80% of which is exported abroad.