Up until recently I didn't even know it was called Italian Stone Fruit or that I had a collection. I just referred to it as the fruit we got while living in Sicily forty plus years ago. Imagine my surprise when I came across Joan's blog Anything Goes Here and discovered it was collectible. In fact, she's been collecting it for years and even had her collection featured in Country Living Magazine in 2001.
I have new respect for my fruit now. Unfortunately, Keith used to enjoy playing with it when he was around two (he's 41 now). He'd climb up onto the table when I wasn't looking and clang the pieces together. He enjoyed the noise they made. There are many little dings and chips to prove it, but I'm able to turn the fruit over and arrange it so most don't show.
Today I keep it in the dining room in a basket. I took it outside in hopes of getting some good pictures in the natural light, but a short shower came along and it was even more humid out there than normal. My camera lens kept fogging up and the stone fruit was sweating.
I tried rearranging the fruit in the basket a little so you could see some more pieces. There's actually an avocado and a walnut too.
Every couple of pictures I had to stop and wipe the camera lens or all of the pictures would have looked like this one.
Here are a few of the damaged pieces. The peach on the left has a round water mark that won't wipe off. The plum has a big chip that's turned black. It all made sense to me after taking the fruit outside and seeing it sweat. When the electricity came back on after Hurricane Ike we shoved the A/C down to cool the place off as quickly as possible. A couple of weeks later I happened to look at a framed print I had hanging in the dining room. It looked dirty, but it was actually mold and had to be thrown away. The sudden drop in temperature from the A/C caused the glass to sweat. I now believe that's what happened to the fruit too. It sweated and that one chip is actually a little mold. Warning...if you have moldy stone fruit don't use bleach. It takes the paint off too. Live and learn. You'll notice Keith did quite a job on the walnut. It's full of chips and I tried to "paint" it once years ago with brown Magic Marker.
I brought all the fruit inside and dried it. I'm taking much better care of it now.
The fruit was very common in Sicily. My husband was in the Navy and stationed at the U.S. Naval Air Facility at Sigonella, Sicily (now a Naval base). I think most of the people I knew bought this fruit while living there, so a lot of it was brought back to the States. There were a few things we all bought:
Alabaster Eggs which you see all the time at places like Marshall's.
Bar Globes (the top opens and bottles of liquor are stored inside). From time to time I'll see one used as a prop in a movie or on a TV show. Jack Lord of Hawaii 5-0had one in his office. We always got excited every time we saw it. This too has dings and chips from the kids playing around it.
Hand carved and painted Carabinieri.
Taoromina Bells. I found this picture online. I forgot to take one of my bells, but they're hanging in the entryway. At one time I had them hanging outside, so they're a little rusty.
Some of us also bought Italian dishes that were being sold at an Italian department store. I still have mine and use them on holidays.
Those were basically the "hot" items to buy in Italy. Over the years I'm sure many of the above were brought back to the States and probably are still being brought back today.
For more information check out the posts about Italian Stone Fruit on Joan's blog HERE and HERE. She's even selling some of her collection.
I'm glad I have all my Italian things in spite of all the dings, chips and rust. It brings back wonderful memories of a very happy time in our lives.