The Mandarino tardivo di Ciaculli (late mandarin of Ciaculli) got its name from the area in which it was first discovered and from the fact that it matures later in the season as compared to the common mandarin varieties.
The origins of the late mandarin of Ciaculli are absolutely natural. It was discovered in the 1940’s as a natural mutation of the small “mandarino avana” (Havana mandarin) and grows only in the small area around Ciaculli, a small village located outside Palermo, Sicily.
Up until the 1950s the area surrounding Palermo was like one big garden, known as the Conca d’Oro (golden basin). In ancient times the total land area was cultivated with citrus fruit. The agricultural area of Ciaculli, in the Conca d’Oro, was known for it huge mandarin orchards. However, in the last 60 years the production in this area has diminished by three quarters, leaving visible damages to the territory, as the disappearnce of the terraced farmland has caused hydrogeological instability. Today, only 80 hectares subsist, cultivated by 90 local farmers who produce the Mandarino tardivo variety using almost exclusively organic farming methods.
Its exceptional aroma and robustness makes the late madarin of Ciaculli immediately recognizable among other mandarins.
The Mandarino tardivo di Ciaculli is further characterized by:
– a strong aroma
– a high sugar content
– very thin peel
– flat spherical shape
– yellow to pale orange color
– no excess of seeds (2 to 6)
The full maturation of the fruit occurs between the months of January and February, and the product is available for commercialization until March, hence why it is called ‘tardivo’.
The fruit is usually consumed fresh, but is also used to prepare marmalades, sorbets, ice creams and to flavor chocolate.
The italian association “Slow Food” has been promoting the cultivation of the mandarino tardivo. A consortium has been created to make sure that the remaining local producers can survive producing this wonderful citrus fruit, receiving a just payment. The production of the “tardivo” is strictly regulated, and only members of the Consorzio il Tardivo di Ciaculli, founded in 1999, can commercialize it.
More info: www.tardivodiciaculli.net