Tropical Italy: Growing Mangoes in Sicily

If you know Marco Colzani, you know he has an obsession for top quality raw materials. From his iconic pistachio spread to his single-origin chocolates, everything from the Colzani lab simply tastes extraordinary. His Mango Nectar, our newest addition to the succhi family, is no different. 

The reason Marco’s mango nectar tastes like nothing we’ve ever experienced is that he only uses the most intensely flavorful, perfectly ripened mangoes out there. His source? Farmer Vincenzo of Papa Mango, a one-of-a-kind producer in Sicily. 

Wait, Mangoes in Sicily?

Absolutely! The warming Sicilian climate is very favorable to mango cultivation. The northern coast, especially the area between Messina and Palermo, is particularly good for this tropical crop. The Papa Mango groves are right in this sweet spot, across the sea from the Aeolian Islands and less than 100km from Mt Etna. Sicilian soil + Mediterranean breeze = tropical fruit heaven.

Meet Papa Mango

Vincenzo Amata wasn’t always a tropical fruit farmer. He tried his first Sicilian mango late in life and it only took one bite to convince him: he was destined to grow mangoes. Taking a chance on Sicily’s burgeoning tropical fruit scene, he created Papa Mango. He recovered abandoned citrus fruit groves in Sant’Agata di Militello, specifically in Contrada Papa. You might say Vincenzo found his calling. In his own words:

“Plants feel everything, like babies. They need to be taken care of constantly, with attention, study, and a lot of passion. Farming technique is not enough, if it’s not supported by passion. Today they respond to our care, delivering marvelous fruit”.

cultivation of mangoes in sicily

High-Quality Mangoes

Vincenzo proudly works with the University of Palermo to understand and develop the most sustainable practices for mango cultivation in Sicily. They implemented irrigation systems supplied directly by their own water wells, drastically reducing water consumption. They pamper and care for each mango plant, fertilizing them with compost made on the farm itself.

The key factor that makes Papa Mango a true gem is its harvesting process. Each mango is hand-picked exclusively at peak ripeness. The majority of tropical fruit producers use a technique known as Delayed Ripening Technology: fruit is picked while still unripe, and the ripening process is induced by spraying the fruits while in transit to their destination. Not Vincenzo:

“Only harvesting at peak ripeness, like we do, allows the highest quality mango. Sicilian mangoes stand out for their irregular shapes: you can’t find two alike mangoes on the same branch, what they share is an extraordinary intensity of flavors.”

Once picked, Papa Mango carefully packs the fruit to ensure they make it to the Colzani lab in tip-top condition. They arrive up in Lombardia within 48 hours of harvest, no freezing or chemical spraying necessary. That’s VERY unique, and Marco makes sure to coax all the freshness out of these flavor bombs. Look at that insanely intense orange color and take a sip of the velvety mango extract, it’s as if you just made a mango smoothie on a beach and drank it right from the blender.