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Turkish Pistachios

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Syre Dec 29, 2003 02:47 PM

I have been craving REALLY GOOD turkish pistachios lately (well, ok, I always crave them).

The best I've had in recent times (apart from a trip to Turkey) are the house brand at Kalustyan's in NYC. By the way, if you don't know this store, you should. They have things that are hard to find elsewhere:

http://www.kalustyans.com

The problem is that their shipping charges are too high: UPS ground shipping on a 4lb bag is $11.95 (UPS charges $6.18 for this, so they're basically marking shipping up by 100%).

So my question is: Is there anywhere local where I can get really good and really fresh turkish pistachios? I've found some at the middle eastern store on Mission near Caeser Chavez, but they aren't as fresh and great as I like.

Any hints?

  1. j
    joe Dec 29, 2003 04:59 PM

    you might want to call a turkish restaurant like ALA TURCA and ask them if they might be able to give you an outlet where you could find them.the owners are turk and they should know. another turkish restaurant is on clement. the name is CAFE DE PERA.give them a call. you never know.

    1. a
      Alexandra Dec 30, 2003 01:10 PM

      I know you say you want Turkish pistachios, but there's a great Iranian pistachio vendor at the Berkeley Saturday Farmer's Market. They're grown somewhere in California, so they're extremely fresh and delicious. I think a farmer's market is your best bet if you want really fresh.

      I wonder if Turkish pistachios are recognizably different varieties from Iranian ones?

      Good luck in your search!

      7 Replies
      1. re: Alexandra
        w
        wedgeheadjunkie Dec 30, 2003 04:49 PM

        Having grown up in a predominantly-Armenian community in Fresno, CA during my formative years, I can tell you there are indeed folks who insist that the Turkish pistachios have a richer, more distinct flavor than any other, including even Iranian varieties.

        What distinguishes the Turkish ones is that they are smaller in size and have darker shells that are less open than, say, ones from Calif. Their unique flavor comes from being left to dry with their outer husks, which causes their shells to darken and their flavor to become more intense. It has to do with the protection of the various oils in the meat of the pistachios themselves. Their husks are literally left on right up until they are ready to be processed.

        My uncle used to consume 3/4ths of a pound at a sitting of the "Turkish" ones -- he used to insist upon referring to them as the "Armenian" ones -- but that's a whole other story.

        Sorry I can't help you in your quest, but the best tasting, most similar ones I have come across in the Bay Area were actually from, of all places, a Restoration Hardware store in Berkeley a couple of years ago during Christmas. Can't remember the label name, but I think they were from somewhere in Europe -- maybe Italian?

        1. re: wedgeheadjunkie
          a
          Alexandra Dec 30, 2003 06:16 PM

          Thanks for the info! Great to know...

          Bazzini is the brand of pistachio Restoration Hardware currently sells (from New York - perhaps not the same one as you found, wedgeheadjunkie) - I've linked what they've got on the website (they might have a smaller, pistachio-only bag in stores).

          Link: http://www.restorationhardware.com/pa...

          1. re: Alexandra
            w
            wedgeheadjunkie Dec 30, 2003 06:35 PM

            Yes! That's exactly the brand name -- Bazzini. I recognize the red, white and blue label. Can't remember the exact size and quantity, but they were sold by themselves -- and mighty tasty! Thanks for the tip. I may give their website a try after first phoning the local outlet to see if they're in stock.

            1. re: wedgeheadjunkie
              m
              Melanie Wong Dec 30, 2003 10:50 PM

              Cool!

              While we have your attention, anything on the Armenian food front that we should know about? It seems to be a gap in our spectrum of cuisines.

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                w
                wedgeheadjunkie Dec 31, 2003 10:13 AM

                In order to avoid "topic drift", I'll post some general comments on my take on the SF Armenian food scene in a separate post.

                Sadly, there's not much in the way of good news to report on new spots or recent discoveries. Think I'll have to try and search harder this coming year -- sounds like a good New Year's resolution!

        2. re: Alexandra
          s
          Syre Dec 31, 2003 03:32 AM

          Turkish pistachios come in many varieties, but the kind I really want is called Antep.

          In general, they are smaller and pointier than California or Iranian pistachios, and have a more intense and focused taste.

          1. re: Syre
            w
            wedgeheadjunkie Dec 31, 2003 11:11 AM

            While admittedly not "local" suppliers, these are only a mouse-click away:

            www.turkishtaste.com -- These folks are selling 2lb. bags of Turkish Antep Pistachios for $12.00

            or

            www.zenobianut.com -- These guys have a 5lb. bag for $32.00

            Thank God for the Internet

        3. j
          Jim Leff Dec 30, 2003 11:04 PM

          Syre, I'm not singling you out here...just taking this opportunity to make a point.

          I love pistachios. And I happened to get VERY lucky and bumped into this thread. Most of my fellow pistachio lovers will never see it, and that bums me out a lot.

          By posting about this general topic here on this regional board, it's hidden from many who'd enjoy it...and, just as importantly, who'd contribute tons more suggestions and tips. And future hounds searching the General Topics board (where this topic belongs) for pistachio info will never find this.

          And it's also interrupting the local SF talk. No matter how great a discussion, if it doesn't pertain specifically to the local area, it's diluting the tight focus of the board. And that sets an example for others to do likewise (it's a viral thing).

          So PLEASE bear this in mind, everyone!

          ciao

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jim Leff
            s
            Syre Dec 31, 2003 03:29 AM

            My request was for LOCAL sources of turkish pistacios, which makes it entirely regional.

            Or are you saying that requests for local suppliers of a foodstuff or local restaurants serving a particular dish should not be posted here?

            I didn't think so.

            1. re: Syre
              The Chowhound Team Dec 31, 2003 10:52 AM

              Woops -- looks like Big Dog misread your original post -- yes please keep queries on local sources of pistachios here. Thanks for your indulgence. :)

          2. a
            Ahmet Toprak Jan 3, 2004 07:39 PM

            Check with Aladdin's in San Mateo in three or four weeks. They are about to get some from their wholesaler.

            ALADDIN MARKET & DELI, ( 650 ) 574 - 7288. 224 E HILLSDALE BLVD,SAN MATEO,CA,94403

            Ahmet Toprak
            Director, San Francisco Turkish Radio

            Link: http://www.turkradio.us

            Image: http://www.tulumba.com/mmTULUMBA/Imag...

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ahmet Toprak
              s
              Syre Jan 5, 2004 06:41 AM

              Good tip! I already ordered 5lbs of Antep from Zenobia, but always need more.

              By the way, would you happen to know the name of the wholesaler? I go direct for chocolate (for my personal use only), so maybe I'd do the same for nuts...

              1. re: Syre
                a
                Ahmet Toprak Jan 8, 2004 01:35 AM

                No. Since I am not in that trade unfortunately I do not know the name of the wholesaler.

                Ahmet Toprak

                Link: http://www.turkradio.us/

                Image: http://www.kkup.org/images/ahmet.jpg

            2. s
              Syre Jul 5, 2006 09:56 AM

              Update:

              Trader Joe's now carries Turkish Antep Pistachios!!!

              They're maybe not quite as good as Zenobia, but really not bad at all.

              I wish they grew this variety in California. It's so much better to my taste than the ubiquitous Kerman cultivar.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Syre
                Ruth Lafler Jul 5, 2006 05:11 PM

                Thanks for the update! I'll have to give them a try. As a pistachio lover, have you tried the Trader Joe's English toffee with pistachios instead of almonds?

                1. re: Syre
                  Candice Jul 5, 2006 05:21 PM

                  I was also going to say that I found some Turkish Antep Pistachios at the SOMA Trader Joe's on the shelf above the regular ones. Price was about $4.49 for 12 oz.

                  FYI-that Trader Joe's is now open until 10pm 7 days a week. Much less crowded later in the evening.

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