The name is Pistì, as in the Italian word “pistacchio”, but what it truly means is Sweet Sicily, referring to the company’s motto: this small-sized but highly-specialized Sicilian enterprise is based in Bronte (located in the province of Catania, slightly northwest of Mount Etna, the famous volcano, and about 30 kilometres west of the coast), the land of the world-famous pistachio nut, with unique characteristics that make it the perfect ingredient for mouth-watering sweets.
Almonds (from the Sicilian town Avola), honey, chocolate, orange zest are among the other ingredients that Pistì uses to combine quality and tradition in its rich variety of sweets, chocolates, cookies, cakes, pastries and an amazing pistachio spread. With a 12 million euro-revenue, over 30 employees and 130 temporary workers that come into play in peak seasons (like the Christmas holidays), Pistì has grown from a small mom-and-pop pastry shop into a 4,000 square-meter implant – that, by the way, is completely powered by renewable energy. The recipes are drawn directly from the Sicilian tradition, sometimes from Grandma’s cook book, and all the sweets are hand-made with local produce.
“We don’t need 4,000 square meters to make room for new machinery, but to give our cooks and pastry artisans all the space they need for their creativity”, say Nino Marino and Vincenzo Longhitano, Pistì’s founders. “The business has been growing year after year and expanding internationally, particularly into Uk, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland and South America where we proudly export our sweets”, point out Marino and Longhitano: “exports make up for 30% of the sales, and the share is increasing. The Sicilian brand is well recognized everywhere”.
Pistì’s products are sold in specialty stores, like wine and delicatessen shops, where their combination of quality, creativity and tradition stands out, also marked by an elegant packaging. Following new marketing trends and technology evolutions, the Sicilian company has also launched a Facebook page where it posts photos and news about its products but also engages its customers with an on-going talk about food and Sicilian tradition.
“Our goal is to offer a unique product while generating value in our territory”, say Marino and Longhitano: “Our employees are all from Bronte, and mostly young people. We cater on Bronte’s excellence: pistachios are Bronte’s main revenue source, so much so that it is dubbed here the Green Gold”. Globally, only Iran, Siria, China, Turkey and California can boast levels of production similar to the small Sicilian town, but to Marino and Longhitano, Bronte’s green nut is the only one suitable: “It’s much less woody and more oily, just what you need for perfect pastries”. And while other countries may have their pistachios, it’s the Sicilian recipes and the Italian mastery and fantasy in baking that they lack.