The city of Bronte is perched at the top of slope of volcanic rock, located about half a mile northeast of Etna. The Arabs, who once controlled the region, are responsible for bringing pistachio trees to Sicily from the Middle East. Still today the Sicilian word for pistachio is frastuca, from the Arab fustuq, and frastucara reffers to a forest of pistachio trees.
Sicily is the only place in Italy where pistachios are grown, and have become quite expensive due to their limited production. Pistachio cultivation in Sicily is laborious work. The trees only bear fruit every two years and are planted in areas that prevent the use of machines to harvest the fruit. The intense, full flavor and grassy aroma of Bronte pistachios comes from the mineral rich soil and the Sicilian sun and air. The pistachios have a high concentration of vitamins and protein.
Bronte pistachios are an essential ingredient in many Sicilian desserts. The pistachios are used whole or as a paste to make torroni, cassate and gelato. They are also added to various cured meats like sausages and mortadella, and chicken galantine.
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