The Aegina Pistachio
The first pistachio trees came to the island in the late 19th century and many more were planted between 1920 and 1940, once their ability to adapt to the soil and be productive became apparent. The pistachio, called fistiki Aeginis in Greek, was a major factor in bolstering the local economy and even now its contribution to the income of Aegina households is sizeable, whether through cultivation, packaging or trading. Most important has been its role in maintaining the island's character by preventing the wholesale construction of land that would have turned the island into another suburb of Athens.
Why is the Aegina pistachio special?
The Aegina pistachio has been a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product since 1996. A unique combination of factors endow it with the special characteristics that have made it so famous. It owes its status to the hot, dry climate, proximity to the sea and the lime-rich soil of the island. In addition, the relatively infertile soil, semi-irrigated cultivation, minimal use of fertilisers, low humidity and limited production render it a truly "noble fruit" with a rich content of stored, nourishing substances. Drying pistachios in the sun after harvest greatly enhances their organoleptic properties.
The benefits of pistachios
Pistachios are known as a super-concentrated food. The nut is one of the few foods that even in small amounts can provide almost all of the necessary nutrients. Specifically, just a handful of nuts meet a significant portion of daily requirements in energy, good monounsaturated fatty acids, fibre, vitamins (especially B complex), minerals and beneficial antioxidant substances. As for the flavour - the proof is in the tasting.
That's why visitors stock up on pistachios before leaving the island. That's also why it is a product that the entire island celebrates each September after the harvest with the Fistiki Fest. Don't miss it!