Ispica Sesame

Slow Food Presidium

Italy

Sicily

Spices, wild herbs and condiments

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These days, Ispica is known for the intensive production of early-season produce, mostly grown in greenhouses and polytunnels, but it was also an important agricultural center in the past, thanks to its abundant water. One very particular, ancient crop is still grown here, after being introduced to Sicily during the time of Arab rule: sesame.
The Ispica variety was selected two centuries ago by local growers and has a small seed, amber in color, with a strong flavor. Until 50 years ago, around 450 hectares were planted with sesame in Sicily, 400 of which were in the province of Ragusa, and particularly around Ispica in the southeast. This area was once rich in swampy land, which in the spring would dry up while maintaining the perfect moisture level for growing crops without the need of irrigation. Later production fell dramatically due to the laborious harvest and strong competition from imported sesame.
The seeds are sown between April and May and harvested between the end of August and September. The annual plant is very hardy and has few needs. It reaches a height of around 150 centimeters and each pod contains up to 70 precious seeds. Each plant can produce up to 150 pods, and each hectare yields just over 20 quintals of seeds. The harvest is the most delicate moment; the plants are reaped manually, when they change color but before the pods have naturally opened and released their seeds. The cut plants are left to dry in the sun for a few days then threshed manually over a cloth to gather the seeds. The graduated nature of the harvest means the operation must be repeated several times, until the pods are completely empty. The seeds must then be cleaned using special sieves: a tricky operation requiring great experience.
Sesame seeds are an important ingredient in Sicilian tradition, used in recipes for various breads, cookies and other dishes. Ispica sesame is mainly used to make cobaita (locally known also as giuggiulena), a special-occasion candy made with honey, sugar and sesame, with the possible addition of citrus peel and almonds.

Season

The seeds are harvested in early September, and sesame seeds and cobaita are available all year round.

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Production area
Ispica municipality, Ragusa province

Supported by
Ragusa Chamber of Commerce
Producers

Loredana Agosta
Contrada Crocefia
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 333 9775570
michele.padova@alice.it

Azienda Agricola Vitivinicola Agliastro
di Carmelo Peligra
Via Calabria, 7
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 339 8628868
vitivinicolagliastro@gmail.com

Carmelo Calabrese
Contrada Fontanazza
Ispica (Rg)
Tel.+39 335 7391373
carmelo@fonteverde.com
www.fonteverde.com

Corrado Cassar Scalia
Via IV Novembre, 34
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 348 8736925
scaliaco@tiscali.it

Antonino Gambuzza
Via Statale, 186
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 333 6390984
sesamo.gambuzza@gmail.com

Salvatore Gambuzza
Via Enrico Toti, 59
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 366 3826616
gambuzza.giuseppa@virgilio.it

Salvatore Gambuzza
Via Statale, 186
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 339 4004103
info@sesamodispica.it

Sesame products (juggiulena, sesame nougat, tahini) are produced by:
American Bardi Bruno Armenia
Via Molise, 36
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 0932 951477-340 1561533
brunoamericanbar@gmail.com
www.brunosiciliantaste.com

Aruci
di Giovanni Puglisi
Via Ariosto , 94
Rosolini (Sr)
Tel. +39 334 3178690
info@aruci.it
www.aruci.it

Biscotteria Asta dal 1967
di Vincenzo Asta
Via Rapisardi, 27
Ispica (Rg)
Tel.+39 0932 1917532-338 2613930
astaenzo@libero.it
www.panificioasta.com
Presidium Producers’ Coordinator
Salvatore Gambuzza
Tel. +39 366 3826616
presidiosesamoispica@gmail.com

Slow Food Presidium Coordinator
Lorenzo Lauria
Tel. +39 392 6188743
lorenzo.lauria@drivermarketing.it


Production area
Ispica municipality, Ragusa province

Supported by
Ragusa Chamber of Commerce
Producers

Loredana Agosta
Contrada Crocefia
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 333 9775570
michele.padova@alice.it

Azienda Agricola Vitivinicola Agliastro
di Carmelo Peligra
Via Calabria, 7
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 339 8628868
vitivinicolagliastro@gmail.com

Carmelo Calabrese
Contrada Fontanazza
Ispica (Rg)
Tel.+39 335 7391373
carmelo@fonteverde.com
www.fonteverde.com

Corrado Cassar Scalia
Via IV Novembre, 34
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 348 8736925
scaliaco@tiscali.it

Antonino Gambuzza
Via Statale, 186
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 333 6390984
sesamo.gambuzza@gmail.com

Salvatore Gambuzza
Via Enrico Toti, 59
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 366 3826616
gambuzza.giuseppa@virgilio.it

Salvatore Gambuzza
Via Statale, 186
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 339 4004103
info@sesamodispica.it

Sesame products (juggiulena, sesame nougat, tahini) are produced by:
American Bardi Bruno Armenia
Via Molise, 36
Ispica (Rg)
Tel. +39 0932 951477-340 1561533
brunoamericanbar@gmail.com
www.brunosiciliantaste.com

Aruci
di Giovanni Puglisi
Via Ariosto , 94
Rosolini (Sr)
Tel. +39 334 3178690
info@aruci.it
www.aruci.it

Biscotteria Asta dal 1967
di Vincenzo Asta
Via Rapisardi, 27
Ispica (Rg)
Tel.+39 0932 1917532-338 2613930
astaenzo@libero.it
www.panificioasta.com
Presidium Producers’ Coordinator
Salvatore Gambuzza
Tel. +39 366 3826616
presidiosesamoispica@gmail.com

Slow Food Presidium Coordinator
Lorenzo Lauria
Tel. +39 392 6188743
lorenzo.lauria@drivermarketing.it

Territory

StateItaly
RegionSicily