Gift Guide 2019: Pining for This

November 24, 2019

Would you be shocked to learn that the pinenuts you’re most likely using in your pesto come from China or Siberia?

I was. On a recent trip to Italy I couldn’t help noticing that the pinoli in the markets were much larger than the ones I buy at home.

Back in my own kitchen, I scrutinized the pinenuts in my freezer. (They’re filled with oil, which means that left in the cupboard they quickly go bad.) Sure enough, the label said something about the various countries the pinenuts might have come from, and not one of them was Italy or the United States.

I took out a handful and laid them next to the ones I’d bought in Italy. Half the size! Then I tasted them: half the flavor too.

If you’re looking for a thoughtful and inexpensive gift for a cook, you could hardly do better than Gustiamo Pinoli which are organically grown and harvested by hand. I can’t think of a better way to stuff a stocking.

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5 Comments

  • Joy says:

    Such a lovely idea! I, too, noticed the size and taste difference of pine nuts on a recent trip to Turkey where pine nuts from there (at least in the region that produces lots of pine nuts) look very similar to your Italian ones. So amazing how much better they were. Folks there also said they have more protein than Chinese ones (although I haven’t verified that myself).

  • Greg says:

    Good information to know. Similarly was displeased after buying garlic in a store here that it was grown in China, when it’s easily grown here, even if labor costs are justifiably higher.

    • admin says:

      There are so many reasons to loathe Chinese garlic. The biggest one, for me anyway, is that they refrigerate the bulbs, so that when they are removed from the cooler and held at room temperature they begin to sprout and get bitter. One great holiday gift is garlic from the farmers market, which will usually keep until the end of January or early February if it’s kept in a cool, dark place.

  • Michele Cohen says:

    Another. Reason not to buy Chinese pine nuts is they can cause “pine mouth syndrome”. I believe this is a reaction to toxins in the nuts. Symptoms occur a few days after eating and consist of a nasty metallic taste in you mouth. Symptoms could last for a week or more. Google it.

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