Today we set out to discover a new area on the western slopes of Etna, known throughout the world, especially for its D.O.P. Pistachio: we are talking about Bronte in the province of Catania
The journey is always a discovery and so we drive along a road framed by lava stone, vegetation, glimpses of villages, accompanied by the stunning view of Mount Etna.
This small town mainly bases its economy on agricultural activities, often handed down over time from father to son. So here you can find yourself surrounded by olive groves, chestnut groves, hazelnut groves, prickly pear hedges, and pistachio groves, in a place characterized by clayey and volcanic soils.
We arrive at our destination, as always curious to know, awaited by Carmelo who will accompany us on this journey of taste, sharing with us his fantastic project.
He welcomes us to his farm, an estate of greenery, among fruit trees, plants, and flowers, and all this makes us forget the typical stress of the city: a deep breath and our senses are already awakened.
A small corner of paradise, in which Carmelo is trying to remove all architectural barriers in order to make it as inclusive as possible and usable to anyone who wants to spend time in nature.
After a first welcome, we are ready to start our experience by jumping aboard Carmelo’s jeep that will take us to a unique place of its kind. Arriving at our destination, we find ourselves surrounded by pistachio plants as far as the eye can see, growing among the lava rocks, and all this has something bizarre: how do these plants resist without water? But you know, nature is wonderful and offers unique and unpredictable spectacles!
Before starting our harvesting activity, Carmelo explains that this plant is of Persian origin and that both male and female exist of the fruit. Despite being Sicilian, we must admit that we were not aware of it.
And here we are equipped with a small basket and … immediately at work: the pistachio harvest must be done delicately and, above all, manually (once the fruit has reached the white color) because, precisely due to its location on the volcanic rock, the small fruits once fallen to the ground could get lost among the rocks. The beauty of this fruit when it is ripe is truly unique, and each of us has described it differently: who have found the similarity with small sugared almonds, who with bunches of cherries, and who have defined them as wedding flowers.
Only by personally experiencing this moment do we understand why pistachio is called “The green gold” and we are really happy to have finally had the opportunity to try this beautiful and evocative experience in the midst of nature.
As usual, some archive photos and some videos, that will be used to better tell what this day has transmitted to us, can not be missing.
And we return to the farm, where Carmelo is dedicated to preparing lunch while we relax by taking a walk around the property where, in addition to some houses used for overnight stays, horses, ponies, goats, chickens, a duck, and three splendid donkeys live freely.
But to keep us company throughout the day were certainly some puppies and many small kittens, always looking for caresses and someone to play with them: a really welcoming place for both adults and children.
To complete it all, there are many fruit trees scattered here and there, which we have not been able to resist since we love to eat what nature offers: apple trees, hazelnuts, figs, walnuts, all well arranged and cared for!
Between a walk and a feast of fruit, picked directly from the tree, we arrive at lunchtime and, on our return, we find a fully laid table, outdoors and sheltered by a tree, where a light breeze and the guest of honor that presents itself before our eyes is its majesty “A Muntagna”: We can’t wait to taste all the delicacies that the host has prepared for us, to be accompanied with a good glass of wine of this territory.
All products at Km 0, including bruschetta with pistachio pesto, cherry tomatoes and anchovies with strictly homemade bread, aged cheese and roasted peppers, whose authenticity can be savored from the first taste; but this is just the beginning and we could not miss an excellent plate of penne with pistachio, really delicious. Convinced that the lunch had ended like this, here comes a second course based on Nebrodi pork strips with pistachio, sausage with potatoes, and a side of porcelain salad. “Those who do not accept do not deserve”, it is said by our country and, so, even though we were already full (will it be the fault of all the fruit eaten before lunch?), we could not help but taste this really delicious dish too.
But Carmelo is really a good host, kind and welcoming, in love with his property and above all with the products of his land. He wants us to taste pistachio in all its possible combinations, so after an appetizer, first and the second course, you can’t miss the prickly pears with a sprig of pistachio cream on top and an excellent pistachio ice cream to accompany dark chocolate! Do you think we could refuse these tastings?
With eyes and a full stomach, we can say that we have truly lived a five-sense experience and we conclude our day with new ideas and projects for our travelers to experience.
The time comes to say goodbye with the promise to meet again soon, in this which is, as they say in Sicilian dialect, “‘a home of greetings“ !!!
We are ready to live a new experience … and you?