"Real pistachios" are native to Ancient Persia and today, most of the pistachios that can be found in Italy are from Iran and Iraq. But, did you know that Italy is blessed with its own island where indigenous Italian pistachios can be found? This island is Sicily and the town of Bronte is the pistachio capital, situated near the slopes of Mount Etna.
Planting pistachios in Sicily is a sacred ritual which is passed from older generations to younger ones. Picking pistachios from the trees and letting them dry is still done by hand.
Italians can't imagine their cuisine without pistachios. You can find pistachio cakes, sweets, ice cream, mousse and other confections. There is even pasta, meat stuffing and Arancini (Italian stuffed rice balls) made with pistachios!
Pistachios are harvested between late August and early September, once every two years. It begins at the end of August and lasts through September. At this time, the entire town becomes a big family; adults, kids, teenagers and elderly people ignore the heat, holidays and other affairs—they all collect pistachios instead.
Pistachio season continues well into early October. The lovely town of Bronte holds Pistachio festival every year. The festival dates vary, but they usually take place at the end of September or the beginning of October. It's a great chance to explore ancient Sicilian traditions, taste pistachios, and explore the cuisine and spirits of the region. During the festival, there is also a historical tour that takes place through the centre of Bronte, allowing you to discover the famous Church of Annunziata, the Capizzi Gallery, etc.