Pistì, the Italian pistachio also loved abroad.
Bronte, in the province of Catania, is known everywhere for its pistachios. From this small town on the slopes of Etna, 25 thousand inhabitants in all, almost 1% of the world production of the famous product arrives. On average 4 million kilos, caught every other year. Green gold, as they call it in Sicily, takes a long time to mature. In the 3 thousand hectares of Bronte pistachio groves it is harvested between the end of August and the beginning of September. “This was the year on”, says Nino Marino. “We have stocked up, now we are waiting for 2021”, the odd year, the good year. Pistì, the company that Marino founded with his partner Vincenzo Longhitano, is one of the largest confectionery companies in the city and is part, together with Vincente delicacies and Madero quality, of the Antichi Sapori dell’Etna company. “We started in 2002, we were 23 and we wanted to do business. Vincenzo is from Bronte and grew up with the pistachio culture, he invented recipes ”. Hence the idea of creating a artisan laboratory for the production of typical Sicilian sweets : nougat, martorana fruit, crunchy and chocolate, almond specialties, panettone and doves.
Obviously pistachio based, but not only: also hazelnuts, almonds, candied fruit. “We prefer Sicilian raw materials – continues Marino – but they are not always sufficient to support the entire production”. Let’s take the pistachio: “ we have 60 hectares of land where we grow it . But we need a lot of it, we use 500 tons of it in two years: we therefore buy about 30-40% of all the pistachio grown in Bronte . For the remainder, we turn to abroad. Iran, Greece, California, Turkey and Spain ”.
With that small laboratory at the beginning of the 2000s the company began to make itself known. The debut at the Cibus in Parma marked the road to unexpected success: more and more orders were arriving and it was necessary to purchase an entire pastry shop in the city center. The business continued to grow and in 2009 a space of 4 thousand square meters was inaugurated, “a huge pastry shop built in the volcanic sciara. Not an industry but a production of the highest level, which we take care of in detail “and which independently produces the energy necessary to sustain itself thanks to 3 square meters of photovoltaic panels. “Now in times of high production we employ 200 people, 90% of whom are women under 30 : they are more precise”, explains Marino.
Pistì has always followed the entire product chain, from the pistachio grove to the shelf. “We were among the first to receive authorization for the sale and processing of the“ Bronte DOP green pistachio ”. Today 70% of our production goes to Italy , we are in all the main brands, especially in the north, in Lombardy, Piedmont and Triveneto. The remaining 30% goes abroad, exported in 41 countries around the world , primarily Australia, New Zealand, California and Japan, where it is sold both in large-scale distribution and in stores ”.
The company expects to close 2019 with a turnover of 45 million euros , a leap forward compared to the 30 million in 2018. “We have set ourselves the goal for 2020 of reaching 55 -58 million, equally distributed between the domestic and international markets, where our brand is beginning to be known and appreciated ”, concludes Marino.
The flagship product is the spreadable pistachio cream, but for the Christmas holidays the “brontese” is ready, a special leavened product filled with green gold cream.