The Surprising Home of the World's Best Pistachios

The cultivation of pistachios in Greece began in Aegina in 1896 when Nikolao Peroglou planted various nut trees. The pistachio thrived in the dry soil, leading to its widespread cultivation.

Pistachios are deeply intertwined with Aegina’s identity and economy. Many locals rely on growing and selling pistachios for their livelihood, and the nuts are celebrated in local traditions and cuisine.

Aegina pistachios, known as fistiki Aeginis, are a rarer koilarati variety with a pale blonde shell, fuchsia-tinged exterior, and emerald meat when ripe. They are known for their sweeter taste compared to American and Iranian pistachios.

The island’s hot summers, mild winters, low elevation, and chalky soils create perfect conditions for pistachio trees. Breezes from the Aegean Sea aid in pollination, contributing to a successful cultivation cycle.

Aegina pistachios were declared a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product by the European Union in 1996, ensuring their unique qualities and traditional cultivation methods are preserved.

Harvest time for Aegina pistachios is typically between mid-August and early September. The process is a family affair, with members gathering, cleaning, and drying the nuts. The annual Fistiki Fest celebrates the harvest and draws over 20,000 attendees.

The Aegina Pistachio Cooperative sells the nuts raw, baked, and salted near the port’s ticketing booth. Local shops like Eakion and To Mikro Megalo offer pistachio desserts and products. Visitors can reach Aegina from Athens’s Piraeus port.