Pistachio di Bronte DOP

Gelateria Primavera is known for our slightly salty, rich, green Pistachio di Bronte a classic Italian gelato flavour. But what actually does 'di Bronte mean?' This is our most asked question.

Pistachio di Bronte are a type of pistachio nut grown in a small, mountainous village in Sicily. Bronte sits on Mt Etna, an active volcano, in the province of Catania. This pistachio variety grows only on this hilly volcanic earth, and only here does it acquire a bright emerald-green color and an intense fragrance and slight resinous and rich, full flavour. 

Their official title is pistacchio verde di Bronte DOP (which means green pistachio from Bronte, controlled designation of origin) and are often referred to as ‘Bronte red’. This classification is similar to how iconic wine appellations of Europe are catalogued. 

The trees are not fertilized or irrigated and are only pruned a couple of times during unproductive years. They are so valuable that, as this BBC article reports, police patrol the farms on foot and via helicopter to protect the precious crop from thieves. Its rich volcanic soil is considered to be the reason for producing such flavoursome, bright tasting pistachios.

Pistachios from Bronte are very distinct from the pistachios most people are used to.

  • The first thing that catches the eye is their bright green colour. Immediately after the pistachios are picked from their tree, their colour is so intense and bright that you’ll think you are holding a tiny green light bulb in your hands.
  • The fruit itself is a little smaller and more tapered than other varieties.
  • The small green kernel is covered by a purple velvet-like peel; the peel can be either eaten or removed. More of a seed than a nut, they are resonant with fat and are slightly resinous in flavour.
  • The pistachio trees have to alternate productive years with years of rest, and during the rest years the farmers trim off the few buds that sprout on the branches so that the tree can store its energy for the next season.

Harvesting takes place between the end of August and early September, and during this period everyone helps out in the “loci”, the local name for the pistachio groves, including children and the elderly.  The annual pistachio sagra, or festival, is on the second Sunday in October.

The Slow Food Presidium has triggered a rediscovery of this incredible nut, which has no comparison with other similar international products. The Presidium also promotes Sicily’s magnificent traditional confectionery and pastries, which offer the best way of showcasing the pistachios’ quality.

There is not a single café or pastry shop in Bronte that does not offer pistachio-based sweets. Often they are versions of typical almond sweets made using pistachios, created over the past 20 years.

Next time you find yourself on Spring Street, try it for yourself with newfound insight. Or, we can deliver a whole tub to your door.