At this time of the year, Italian countryside’s landscapes are changing colors; from light yellowish they are going towards one of my favorite colors: orange and red! Colors are bright and warm and every little gem of nature adds a pinch of Autumn in our days.
There is one gem that became very popular and typical in Italy even though its origins are to be found in a very far land. It is kaki (or Persimmon), a rounded and orange sweet fruit that decorates many family tables in Italy in Autumn time! Not to speak about the beautiful tree of cachi, with their bright orange color: they are simply part of our imaginary of a chilly rainy November day.
The origins of this fruit are to be found in Asia and it can be proudly described as one of the oldest plants in cultivation. In Italy kaki is eaten alone and simple with a spoon as a dessert and it is also used to make jams, cakes and liquors, just like most things in Italy. Our motto is: whatever tastes good should be eaten in all its possible shapes! That’s why during our Italian Food Tours you can try many different kinds of jams, patè and dressings!
Be careful to eat cachi only when well ripe, as they contain high levels of tannins and are really astringent (or allappanti as Italian say)! You’ll understand if it is just by touching it: it should be soft! If you are in Italy and you buy them, you’ll probably be sold unripe ones! That is completely normal! Just place them together with few apples and they might be ready to be eaten even within 24 hours!
Cachi contain a lot of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and fiber, and are said to be beneficial for the nervous system, the liver, and for gastrointestinal problems. They contain a lot of sugar and are a high calorie fruit: try it to believe it! Even one normal size cachi can be really filling! If you pass by in the right season (between October and November) you might be lucky enough to try them during our Italian Food Tours.
Interesting facts about cachi
The full name is diospyros kaki, from Greek the fruit of Zeus! In Italy is often called cachi or diospero in Tuscany.
This fruit was introduced across Italy in the middle 1800s. It is believed that Mussolini created a decree for them, requiring each farmhouse have a cachi tree planted besides it.