For Gourmets: Pinoli and other treasures from Mount Vesuvius


Even though tourists arriving in Naples and continuing towards the Sorrento Peninusla can easily overlook the fact that since the times of Plinus the elder, the fertile lava soils originating from Mount Vesuvius have not changed. 
Pine trees take center stage all over the Peninsula - here a view towards Vesuvius in the background, from the Strada Statale Sorrentina. Now in autumn it is time for harvesting the pine nuts.
Now in autumn the pine trees can be harvested - with the pinoli vesuviani being an important ingredient in local cuisine. For example, one recipe combines home-made pasta with ceps (porcini),  peperoncini and the pinoli, sauteed in olive oil from the Sorrento peninsula.
Especially the area covered by the Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio is covered by pine woods, but also vinyards and orchards, and now in autumn is harvest time of many traditional specialties, or ingredients to produce them. 
Lush garden mix on the slopes of Vesuvius: Pine trees everywhere ...
Behind this hill is Pompei - an area covered by orchards, olives and pines
Take a look at a selection of treasures that have been growing here for centuries, ever since the Roman times: Here I would like to focus on the numerous varieties of fruit, from the albicocche (apricots) famous since the times of Pompei, with varieties such as bocuccia, baracca, vitillo, pollastrella and cafona. In spring, heaven is found in harvesting cherries (malizia and durona dael monte varieties), and in late summer the susina pazza di Somma, a plum variety. I have already written on the percocca peach variety in this blog. Amongst the vegetables, you can find the pomodorini (spongilli as they are called), friarielli (read more here), the cavolfiori giganti, and the cipolla della regina, an onion variety growing in Pompei. And - of course - the famous pinoli vesuviani, ready for harvest in autumn. These treasures are surrounded, towards the Nola territory, by foothills of Vesuivus where flowers such as carnations, gladioli, crysanthenum, roses, bocche di leone, irises and even orchids are cultivated .... Quite a colorful picture brimming with flowers and vegetables, having grown lush on the black lava soils, for centuries. 

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