Aegina, a small island at the heart of Argosaronic Gulf, has so many things to love: sandy beaches, picturesque alleys, authentic fish tavernas, traditional villages, the ancient ruins of the Temple of Goddess Afaia. Yet, this island is famous for its pistachios. This remarkable nut which has been called superfood and has inspired every possible recipe, from marmalades and Mojito cocktails to soaps and face creams.
Pistachios are considered a super nutritional, concentrated food as a few grams only provide us multiple beneficial components. In fact, 10 to 15 pieces cover a lot of our organism's daily needs in energy, good monosaturated fats, fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And of course, with 3 to 4 calories each, pistachios have the fewer calories of all nuts, especially when consumed unbaked and unsalted.
The Greek Shelled Pistachio or Aegina Pistachio, as it is widely known, comes from the tree Fistikia and has its roots in Iran. There is no specific record of when it was imported in Greece and specifically in Aegina, but there are a few references from 1898 a.C., concerning trades with pistachios among the locals Aeginites. Greece comes first in Europe and sixth globally in pistachio production, with more than 9.500 tons per year.
The Fistikia tree in Aegina uses for its benefit the calcareous soils of the island, the dry climate and its proximity to the sea. Therefore, these pistachios have exceptional organoleptic characteristics, rich flavor, and delicate scent. In 1996, the Aegina Pistachio has recorded at the European Union as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product.
Each year, at the end of the summer, comes the harvest of this famous nut, which is a true celebration for the island. For more than ten days, everyone wakes up really early in the morning and starts strewing canvases under the trees, shaking the branches with sticks covered in cloth and transferring the packed sacks to the peeling machines. Every inch of the island smells like fresh pistachio.
The procedure requires sampling and chemical controls, a first handpick, washing with a special solution and drying in a shady place. Then they are mixed with salt and citric acid and cooked in a specific oven.
For the past 9 years, the end of the pistachio harvest signals a rather unusual festival, called Fistiki Fest -which has hundreds of visitors annually and its only purpose is the promotion of its little tasty nut. Thus, every second weekend of September, Aegina's port is dressed in white with dozens of little kiosks, showing off their imaginative creations inspired by the island's pistachios. However, the festival is also surrounded with numerous cultural events in different areas of the town, such as concerts, painting exhibitions, theatrical performances, parades, competitions and gastronomy evenings. An authentic Greek celebration which arouses the island with its rhythm and smells like... pistachio!
This year, our annual fest sets on 14-17 of September. Phillipos Hellenic Goods will be there waiting for you to come and taste our exceptional varieties of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aegina Pistachios, and Kalamata Olives.