Cachi, Kaki, Persimmon: The Italian Autumn Fruit
By Isadora Bilancino
When autumn arrives, Italian countryside landscapes beautifully change colors. They slowly turn from light yellowish into golden oranges and reds. Colors are bright and warm, and every little gem of nature adds a pinch of autumn in our days.
What is Cachi?
There is one gem in particular that became very popular and typical in Italy, even though its origins are in Asia. This autumnal fruit is known by several names: cachi, kaki, or Persimmon (sometimes called Italian Persimmon). (For the purposes of clarity, this article will refer to the fruit as “cachi” throughout.)
The cachi is a rounded and orange sweet fruit that decorates many family tables in Italy in autumn. The beautiful cachi trees have a bright orange color, and they enhance the look of Italian autumns with their eye-pleasing cachi fruits dangling from the tree branches.
The Fruit’s Origins
The origins of the cachi fruit are found in Asia, and it can be proudly described as one of the oldest plants in cultivation. In Italy, cachi is eaten on its own, and simply – with a spoon, as a dessert. 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 forms! That’s why during our Food Tours you can try many different kinds of jams, patès, and dressings!
Be careful to eat cachi only when it is ripe, as they contain high levels of tannins. You’ll know just by touching it: it should be soft! If you are in Italy and you buy them, you’ll probably be sold unripe cachis. That is completely normal! Just place them together with few apples, and they will be ready to eat sometimes within 24 hours!
Cachi fruit 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. Even one normal-sized 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 the Fruit
The full name is “diospyros kaki,” from Greek, the fruit of Zeus. In Italy, it is often called “cachi,” or “diospero” in Tuscany.
This fruit was introduced across Italy in the mid-1800s. It is believed that Mussolini created a decree for them, requiring each farmhouse have a cachi tree planted beside it.
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