Is it or is it not? Maybe it happened to you too to be assailed by doubt, but how many pistachios can there ever be in Bronte? The fact is that, if we talk about pistachio everything in Italy from ice cream to desserts, from pesto to creams, seems to be made with the fruit of the small Sicilian town on the slopes of Etna.
We went to Bronte to find out, right there where pistachio is born, grown, harvested, processed and shipped. The goal is to explain how to recognize the real pistachio, how to distinguish it from what pistachio is not, much less Bronte.
WELCOME TO BRONTE: LAND OF PISTACHIO
Today the Bronte area is saturated with pistachio groves: saplings with fragile and sticky branches due to the resin branch out like roots in reverse and, miraculously, come out of the lava rocks, black and rough like a grater.
Winding plots of lava land always facing west with Mount Etna behind, on which you have to climb during the harvest, risking, if all goes well, to take a twist at every step.
It is also necessary to untangle the female trees which, like odalisques court the very few male trees with more robust and virile trunks to be pollinated.
During the harvest that takes place, between August and September, the fruits are tickled and dropped into the bags tied to the neck of the collectors or, where possible, on the sheets under the trees.
But only once every two years, because in the following year the "eyes" are removed from the trees to allow the plant to rest and resist adversity more.
Woe to eat them during: "You get fever, fever!" is the warning that makes explicit the attachment of thrifty Bronte people to every single pistachio.
Scattered among the pistachio groves are some houses, not very bucolic in reality, with large terraces where the pistachios are exposed to the sun to be dried in the final phase of the harvest. And if the weather threatens to rain, the sheets close immediately to protect the precious fruits.
RECOGNIZE THE BRONTE PISTACHIO
Do not be fooled, dispel the doubts, we give you four simple clues to recognize the pistachio that comes from Bronte, the first choice, very good, for which we have a weakness.
1 # EXTENDED SHAPE
If you have to buy shelled pistachios, first of all pay attention to the shape. If rounded, they are certainly not Bronte pistachios. The shape develops mainly in length with a ratio of two to one, like almost pointed grains.
If, on the other hand, you buy pistachios in their shells, pay attention to the ends of the fruit, which are almost never very pronounced and turned upwards. The shape will instead be concave, to protect the fruit.
2 # INTENSE GREEN COLOR
Attention, the shape alone is not enough to distinguish the Bronte pistachio from the others, for example from the Greek one, similar in appearance.
Color helps us. The skin of the peel has a color that tends to purplish, or rather, to aubergine, with light green reflections.
Split into two parts, the pistachio will show the typical emerald green color caused bythe high concentration of chlorophyll, sometimes bright, others more tenuous, never yellow.
If you want real Bronte pistachio, beware of yellowish colors, the more yellow there is, the less chance it comes from Bronte. If you buy the grain, you will notice the purple color less, but the green will be very evident, and as usual the yellow will be missing.
3 # SWEET TASTE
If you are still unsure, try it. The taste tends to be very sweet both on the palate and immediately afterwards in the retronasal passages.This is why you will never find salted Bronte pistachio DOP on the market. The aromatic component is so strong and persistent that it does not require salting.
4 # DENOMINATION: "GREEN PISTACHIO FROM BRONTE DOP"
If your senses don't help you just read the labels and do it right. Yes, with great attention, because on the market there are many generic terms such as "Sicilian Pistachio" or "Pistachio di Bronte". Too bad that neither of them will give you guarantees and certainties.
Least of all the first because it could refer to the pistachios of Agrigento or Raffadali, where green gold is also grown.
Other times, in a more subtle way, you will read "Bronte" somewhere, perhaps in the headquarters of the company that sells it, which is obviously legitimate but does not guarantee that the fruit comes from the city of Etna.
If you want to be certain beyond a reasonable doubt, look for the only denomination that guarantees not only the origin, but also the quality of the product: "Green Pistachio of Bronte DOP".
Everything else may well be green gold, but it doesn't necessarily sparkle.