No matter where you buy them, pistachios are three or four times more expensive than other nuts, making them almost a luxury. Pistachios are so expensive because the trees they grow on reach full production around 15 to 20 years after being planted. European consumers are looking for unique flavors and sensory experiences. Pistachios are perceived as more premium, luxurious and exotic compared to most other ingredients.
This is also the main reason why luxury brands of, for example, ice cream and chocolate, launch products with pistachios as an ingredient. Other products with pistachio as an ingredient include different pasta dishes, traditional desserts and brittle candies. Pistachios show an alternative production pattern, meaning that the trees produce an above average harvest one year and a lower than average harvest the following year. Split pistachios with shells are the most commonly consumed type of pistachios and are mainly produced as roasted and salted nuts.
Most roasted pistachios in Italy are sold by private supermarket brands such as Coop, Conad or Carrefour. The main target markets for German pistachio exports are Italy (with a 26% share in 2011), followed by Spain (18%), the United Kingdom (12%) and the Netherlands (11%). Pistachios have a very long and illustrious history, and many believe that they were one of the foods that Adam brought to earth and cultivated in the Garden of Eden. Pistachio roasters and other processors in Germany are Intersnack (with 5 production plants in Germany), Omnitrade, Max Kiene, A.
Many kilometers from its origin in the Middle East, pistachio was still considered a luxury food in the Roman capital and was enjoyed by many emperors and was used in Roman dishes worthy of a banquet, such as pistachio pies. Since the 1970s, pistachios have become a commercial crop in many countries around the 30th parallel north and south of the equator. Other examples of premium products are the different types of pistachio chocolates, including famous brands such as Lindt, Damak (Nestlé's special pistachio chocolate brand) or Cote d'Or. After importation, pistachios are usually processed by several specialized companies before they reach the end user.
Even so, legend has it that has not always been the case, and that pistachio may have a much more majestic history. In addition to the health aspect, the consumption of pistachios in shells also offers the pleasure of opening the shells when eating. From the Middle East, explorers and traders transported pistachios far and wide, eating them as a snack for energy and sustenance during their travels, and eventually transported them across the ancient Silk Road that linked China to the West.