Sicilian almonds: history and curiosities that you cannot miss
Sicilian almonds are among the most loved and appreciated dried fruit all over the world, which can be consumed in different ways.
In Sicily, Sicilian almonds are mostly used in sweet preparations, including nougat, granita and pralines but can be munched enjoying them in their essence.
That of almonds is a very ancient story, which starts between 3000 BC. and 2000 BC, especially in the Asian lands. Even in Egypt, however, the presence of these fruits has been attested, just think that some have been found inside the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun (about 1323 BC).
But it is only thanks to the Arabs that almonds managed to land in the lands of the Mediterranean and Sicily was the main producer, giving life to an important culinary tradition based on the use of fruit.
But we reveal a truly curious fact: wild almonds were originally toxic. Only as a result of transformation interventions, the fruits became edible and it was possible to savor them in all their goodness
The almond tree culture in Sicily is so strong that it has created real initiatives focused on the spectacular flowering of almond trees. Among these, we must mention the famous “Almond Blossom Festival”, organized in Agrigento, during the month of March, to welcome spring.
Among the Sicilian almonds, the one produced in Avola stands out, a city located in the Syracuse area, where its protection consortium is also located. This denomination includes three different varieties:
- La Pizzuta: smooth and hard shell, with small pores. Inside, however, the fruit appears flat and has a characteristic leather red color. This variety is the favorite in the field of pastry because it lends itself to the preparation of sweets and sugared almonds of the highest quality.
- Il Fascionello: also this variety is mainly used in pastry, thanks to its delicate taste.
- La Romana (or Corrente d’Avola): it owes its name to the Roman Avolese family and its shape is triangular and irregular and it is not uncommon to find cases of twinning within the same shell. This type, however, is used exclusively in pastry.
In general, however, the almonds produced in the Sicilian territory, thanks to the characteristic climate of this area and the presence of volcanic soils, are a panacea for health. In fact, they have a higher percentage of essential oils, which make them a unique product, both for their balanced taste and for their nutritional properties.