One of the most sumptuous fruits of the Sicilian summer has to be the Tabacchere, a strange little squashed furry peach packed with enormous flavour.
I first saw these seemingly insignificant mini fruit at the fruit and vegetable stalls at the open air markets and took them as an inferior version of regular peaches.
I was seriously mistaken as the Tabacchere are baroque masterpieces of the Sicilian estival fruits. They taste unlike any other peach a concentration of delicate sweetness with a pungent aroma that is intoxicating.
A case of Tabacchere is a generous gift a real luxury and can cost up to three times the price of regular peaches. A house drenched in the perfume of these peaches is a sensual pleasure filled with the sweetness of summer sunshine, which lingers in the air and in the mouth.
Also known as saturn, snuffbox and tango doughnut peaches Tabacchere have been grown on the slopes of Mount Etna since the early 1800’s. The rich volcanic soil and the sunshine makes these peaches thrive. Since they do not keep for long and due to their odd size they are generally consumed locally during the short growing season.
These delicate little pieces of flavoursome decadence are characterised by a thin outer skin which easily slips off to reveal a light flesh with a strong scent of peach like a bouquet of roses, Its tiny Tabacchere pip makes it nearly entirely edible.
Peach cobbler is always on the menu when they are in season, any recipe that will make the most of this surprising abundance, to share them with extended Sicilian family and friends.
Everyone should experience the heavenly Tabacchere.