In 5,000 years, the genetic diversity of this fruit was affected by man in such a way that an 80% loss in biodiversity was estimated. Since the 1600’s these peachy fruits are grown in and around the volcano of Mount Etna, originating in China, over the centuries spread out to the rest of Asia and Western countries, then crossing the Atlantic to the Americas.
No doubt one of the most sumptuous fruits I have ever tasted, the Sicilian Tabacchere, a furry peach packed with flavour in mind boggling. They taste unlike any other peach you’ll ever taste, even if they were slightly over ripe. I left them for a few days and discovered this fruit does not keep for long, they ripen quickly and are fragile, so it is difficult to find them out of Sicily. The taste was almost a cross between pineapple and coconut, a concentration of sweetness extraordinary.
A study conducted by CREA-FRU’s Molecular Genetics department on 120 accessions made it possible to identify 62 types of flat peaches, grouped into 3 different clusters – the oriental one, the one deriving from the Sicilian Saturn, Spanish Paraguayo and Chinese cultivars and the one deriving from Stark Saturn. Ignazio Verde (in the photo above) explains that “the fact that both Chinese and Sicilian peaches are part of the same cluster may be due to the visits of Italian missionaries in China in 1600. In addition, as there are also Spanish types within the same cultivar, it may be due to the peaches brought back by the Spaniards from China.” (source internet)