Mount Etna covers an area of almost 1300 square kilometers, combining various landscapes and microclimates. This variety, mixed with the rich-in-minerals volcanic soil, make the perfect combination to generate several products with unique flavors. Some of them are one city’s specialties, others are easily findable in a larger area within the Etnean territory. Here some of the most famous Mount Etna food products.
Maybe the most famous food product of Mount Etna, used in many preparations from pasta to dessert. The DOP Pistacchio comes from Bronte, a village part of the Catania district located in the North-West area of Etna. The kernels of this Green Gold are the edible part and can be eaten raw or roasted; its flavor actually makes it a versatile ingredient in many preparations, such as pistachio spread-creams and ice-cream flavorings. To add a unique, all-Sicilian touch you could also ground it and sprinkle it on top of pasta or pizza. A real treat for tastebuds!
Located in the same area as Bronte, Maletto is another village famous for its strawberries. Every year in June the city organizes three days during which the red berry is the center of all celebration; as a matter of fact, the cultivation of strawberries has been the core of this Etnean town’s economy since the 1950s. The finest variant of this fruit is the fragolina, a small-sized strawberry which is often the star of pastry preparations.
Moving southwards, another typical product is Zafferana Etnea’s honey. Among other products, honey is the best-seller during the Ottobrata, a festival taking place each Sunday in October. Indeed, Zafferana has the highest regional productions of honey, also known for its beneficial effects in the form of royal jelly or propolis. Its production started in the 1920s and became the city’s main occupation. Today, many are the factories that export it to the whole country; some of them are also open to visits, as for instance the Oro dell’Etna farm. In there you can discover all the secrets of its preparation and its many varieties in terms of flavors and forms. Of course, it is also a must-stop if you want to buy some to take home!
Bordering with Zafferana Etnea, Santa Venerina is another small city with its own specialty: the liquor production. The agricultural improvements of the mid-19th century were crucial for this specialty’s production. As a matter of fact, many distilleries sprung which survive up to this day. Liquors flavors vary from lemon (Limoncello), to almond, to hazelnut, to pistachio, not to forget the Cannellino, the famous cinnamon-flavored one. The city today hosts also an Enology Museum (“Museo della civiltà enologica – La distilleria“) exhibiting the orginal tools used more than one century ago. World-famous is the Fuoco dell’Etna (Fire of Etna), a scarlet-red liquor with hints of strawberry and aromatic herbs.
Some food products are typical of the whole Mount Etna area and not necessarily place-specific. This is the case of cherries, which grow in the south-eastern Etnean area (Giarre, Mascali, Fiumefreddo) and have a dark red color. Etnean apples are a typical fruit as well; it is common for people of all ages to spend the early autumn Sundays harvesting them. Compared to the apples you can find in the supermarket, these are smaller and less polished, however, their juicy consistency and their sweetness make them definitely one of a kind. Besides apples, another great harvest product are chestnuts, which get then roasted and eaten during the chillier days of Autumn.
Last but not least, another typical cultivation of Etna is definitely the grapevine. The grapes are delicious to eat in their many variations and consistencies; however, they are also fundamental for the production of the Etna DOC wine. Many are the vineyards and wineries located all around Etna, from Nicolosi to Piedimonte and Linguaglossa.
Our Etna Wine and Alcantara and Good Morning Etna tours, which take place on the Northern Side of Etna, go across the cities of Piedimonte and Linguaglossa, where you will be able to see the vineyards. Also, in our Etna Wine Tasting Tour, you can visit two different wineries of the Etna with wine tastings of Etna Doc wines.
Alternatively, our Top Easy Tour on Etna South actually goes through both Santa Venerina and Zafferana Etnea, so you will be able to see some of the mentioned cities with their specialties.