Kiwis in Italy


Kiwis growing at the home of my colleague and friend, Armando
Viagrande, Sicily
2012

Growing up, my mother often peeled and sliced kiwis for our special weekend breakfasts. She had them available at other times, but I mostly remember eating those bright green slices on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The fruit usually accompanied her famous blueberry muffins, my personal favorite! Of the muffin, I loved biting into a berry that was still hot and juicy. Of the kiwi, I loved the crunch of the inner ring of seeds and the complimentary but distinct sweetnesses between the flesh and the seeds.

Over the years I have grown to tolerate the skin on certain kiwi, and to eat less-ripe kiwi than the soft, juicy kiwi of my childhood. Sometimes the less-ripe kiwi is a crunchy delight, though it tickles my mouth more with that sticky-itchy feeling I get from eating too much pineapple in one sitting.

You may be able to imagine my surprise and delight to find an abundance of kiwi in the stores and markets in Sicily. Come to find out, Italy is the global leader in kiwi production. Italy has no shame in adopting new fruits and vegetables (ahem, history of the tomato please), and incorporating them so deeply in Italian food culture as to be a part of its food identity. Seriously, can we talk about Italian food without mentioning tomatoes? I think not.

I mean, I could go on and on about certain dishes, but if it is a comprehensive discussion, tomatoes are going to be covered…I digress.

The kiwis pictured above are flourishing in the four-cornered gazebo canopy of Armando’s mini-farm. He grows nearly every traditional Italian plant you could think of if you listed the first ten Italian plants to come to mind, and then he keeps birds, rabbits, beautiful ferns and luscious trees. One could mistake his grounds for a veritable utopia, especially when the fragrant wine he produces lulls you into submission. You submit yourself to the soft hum of insects working around you, the muted chirp of night birds, and the sparkling stars overhead, and just like that, you are one with the earth and lost forever to the innocence and magic of Armando’s garden.

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6 Comments

Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo.

6 responses to “Kiwis in Italy

  1. Anonymous

    Yes, food posts are my favorite! I am currently obsessed with Figs and recently moved into a neighborhood near Philadelphia’s famed Italian Market. Many residents of the area have Fig trees in their back yard and this post reminded me of how much fun it is to celebrate a seasonal somewhat rare/unusual fruits.

    -M.

  2. M

    Excellent post! I love the food features.
    I’ve been obsessed with Figs this summer. I recently moved to a new apartment near Philadelphia’s famed Italian Market and have been taking advantage of the fresh Fig’s. This post reminded me of how much fun it is to celebrate and enjoy unusual/rare fruits.

    • it’s so funny, i’ve eaten and LOVED a bunch of figs here, but haven’t really blogged it because I have done it several times. I am happy to be so integrated, but at the same time I want to document food a little bit more. encouragement on food posts is great – just gotta keep my camera out…sometimes I need the balance of just sitting back and enjoying without documenting. time for the pendulum to swing back…

      also, jealous of your proximity – I don’t even live that close to an Italian food market!!! ha ha…have to drive out of the way to hit one up (instead of a grocery store).

  3. Ashley

    Have you ever had a kiwi grape? I learned about them last year when we received them as part of our organic co-op delivery. They are the perfect love-child of a kiwi and grape. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actinidia_arguta

  4. I came upon kiwis growing in our village (Bagni di Lucca) just then other day. They clearly love it here.

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