Saturday, June 3, 2017

Pistachios, Wine and Honey on Mt. Etna

Our guide for the day Andrea took us to Bronte where we had been told that the best pistachios on the planet are harvested.  We were met by the owner, and trudged over lava fields, to the pistachio groves.  Interspersed with the pistachios are almond and olive trees.  Pistachios are harvested every two years.
Tiny olives


The pistachios are growing wild through the lava rock

Prickly pear

We returned to the processing plant, and were treated to some products using the pistachios.  Then we got to thinking, why did the pistachios used to be dyed red?  Of course, the internet knows, it was because it would cover any blemish on the shells.  The pistachios from Bronte have never been colored, what you see is what you get.
Pistachio pesto

chocolate covered pistachios

Heading out of Bronte we were on our way to Barone de Villagrande, a winery, where we would tour the winery and then have lunch.

Once again, gorgeous gardens

Volcanic soil gives way to exceptional harvests here on the slopes of Mt. Etna.

Antique wine making 

After our tour, we were taken to the dining room, since it was quite windy, otherwise, you can eat outside under the trees.  The tree below is a cedar of Lebanon, which I'd never seen before.  

Cedar of Lebanon


Pasta with goats milk ricotta and ragu with Nero D'avola wine

Pork, fava and potato

Deconstructed cannolo
After our lunch we were taken a few miles away to a honey producer.  We were met by the wife of the owner, and her son.  Then we were taken into the laboratory, and introduced to her husband, the honey man.

Married 68 years, how cute are they?

Centrifuging the honey

Peeling off the wax, it will be laid again on the hive for the bees to make more honey--sustainable

Orange blossom honey

After making our purchases, we were off to the hotel to rest and then have dinner.  At the end of 10 days we have walked miles, seen amazing artisan producers at work, traveled through history,  and met Sicilians proud of their island and their history.  Sicily awaits you, I'll be offering a trip in April, 2018, check the blog, my Facebook page, and website for details in the fall.  Ciao for now.

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