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Two fruits enjoyed this Sicilian spring

Posted by Suzanne on 07 Aug 2017



A blond orange and the little nespola (loquat)

I enjoyed the two fruits in the Madonie mountains this spring. the sweet blond orange of Scillato (arancia bionda) and the little nespola (loquat).

The blond orange is a sweet and juicy orange grown at the bottom of the Madonie Mountains near the tiny village of Scillato, about 20 minutes down the mountain road from Polizzi.

This delicious orange has been described by Sicilian cook, author and cooking school owner Fabrizia Lanza as 'plump, tiny, fragrant and sensual' and she notes, that in the Madonie foothills, the micro climate near Scillato is perfect for the growing of this April maturing orange.

It is celebrated in a one day festival held in early spring.

I missed the festive activities in Scillato (when I did see the festival poster in Scillato, the 22nd festival for this sweet little ornage had come and gone) but I did get to enjoy the near last of the 2017  arancia bionda season at Luigi's Ristorante Donna Lavia (just outside Polizzi) in the first week of May.

Served after lunch with the humble and refreshing little orange coloured fruit, la nespola, the bionda orange was sweet perfection. 



The little nespola

And the little orange coloured nespola, also known as a loquat, a Japanese or Chinese plum and medlar has a light, tangy and refreshing taste and is enjoyed in Sicily in spring. The shiny dark, polished looking seeds are flawless.

It is so easy to eat nespola after nespola. I also enjoyed a plate of nespole and cherries on my last night in Polizzi, late in May, at Ristorante Itria.



“Nobody is sure if they (nespola/loquat) originated from Europe or China where they grew loquats extensively but what they do know is that the seeds were carted in those early trade routes all around the world.” (Backyard Farmer October 2014)

The nespole served that day in early May at Donna Lavia were, Luigi said, from the coast east of Palermo, somewhere near Termini Imerese/Bagheria.

I took a drive down to Scillato not long after that lunch at Donna Lavia to try and buy some bionda oranges from the roadside stall that I had heard of, but had no luck.

Maybe it was too late in the season.






A Note: Fabrizia Lanza's quote is from an article (written by her) in the May 2015 edition of the Sicilian magazine Gattopardo.

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