Pistachio – know the real truth
For those who love pistachio gelato, Rivareno offers an intense and unique flavour that you won’t find in any other gelateria. Here we explain why.
There are 5 main pistachio growing areas: Iran, Turkey, California, Syria and Sicily. In Sicily, it is only the small town of Bronte that grows them and they are considered to be the best! The pistachio we use to make our Pistachio flavour is a unique blend made exclusively for Rivareno by the expert hands of the Anastasi family in Bronte, Sicily. The Anastasi family have over 40 years experience over 3 generations and have an enviable reputation internationally.
Relying on a single origin fruit is difficult because of things outside our control – i.e. the weather. Added to this difficulty is the fact that pistachios in Bronte are only harvested every second year. In the year between harvests, the buds of the pistachio are picked one-by-one which causes the plant to go into shock, producing many more and better quality pistachios the following year. This rare process only occurs in Bronte and is one of the reasons why these pistachios are so prized and costly.
There are three harvests of middle eastern pistachio (as distinct from 3 different varieties) being the Perfect Green, Mawardi and Reddish Yellow. No particular harvest is explicitly better than the other.
Being a natural product, pistachio’s flavour varies from year to year and within the same year from harvest to harvest. With this in mind, you can see how difficult it would be to have a consistent flavoured pistachio. So how do we deal with this? To counter this natural phenomenon and maintain a consistent pistachio flavour in our gelato, every year (and sometimes even during the year) our blend of pistachios that we use changes.
Our Sicilian supplier, Anastasi, mechanically refine the pistachios so that no chemicals are used in the process. The grinding is part of the reason why our pistachio gelato is so good – it is a process best left to the experts rather than attempting to do it in-house. It is ground so finely that it becomes a fine paste or “butter”. The result is an intensely flavoured, velvety smooth pistachio. You cannot detect any small pieces of pistachio – i.e. there is no coarseness. This enhances the sensory experience as more pistachio is able to be detected by your taste buds. This is why our pistachio gelato literally hits you at the first taste.
Now let’s not forget the pistachio peel which also deserves a special mention. Our pistachio gelato contains some peel. The amount of peel used is one of our secrets in obtaining the best pistachio taste. Like in all fruit, the peel contains natural flavour that you do not want to waste. Again, the amount of peel we use varies according to the year and the harvest.
Some myths or misconceptions…
Some of you have asked if it is true that pistachio from Bronte really costs $90-$100 per kilo. Thankfully this is not true. Whilst it is expensive, it is far from this quoted price.
Another question we have had is about the type of pistachio that we use and whether or not we use the peel. As mentioned above, with middle eastern pistachios, there are three harvests of the same plant. This is not to be confused with three different varieties. We use all three harvests of pistachio as and when they are available. Regarding the peel, it is important to use peel, as well as the nut itself. The secret is how much peel to use!
Some have asked about the origin of the pistachio and what the differences are between pistachio from Bronte or Sicilian pistachios. The term “Sicilian pistachios” is a loose reference which has little or no real meaning. This is because no one checks or certifies “Sicilian” pistachios and they could be either a blend of Bronte and foreign pistachios or could even be completely foreign. Our pistachio, being predominantly from Bronte and which is carefully blended especially for us (it is not a pre-prepared blend) by the Anastasi family in Bronte, therefore has significantly more credibility than simply “Sicilian pistachios”.
Good pistachio flavoured gelato is very hard to come by. At Rivareno, Pistachio is one of our most popular flavours – and for good reason! In addition to the smoothness of the pistachio nut paste itself, it is the velvety smooth texture of our gelato which you won’t find anywhere else.
So, that’s the scoop… Now you know what is involved and the lengths we go to in obtaining such an amazing top quality gelato flavour.