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Apr 15, 2011 05:23 AM

Pinoli ( pine nuts)

I read somewhere that the pine nuts we see in stores are from China and inferior to the Italian ones. They are stripped or washed in something not nice, something like that, the ones from China.
Anyone know where I can get really good ones? I have a special recipe I want to try and want quality pinoli. Thanks Chowhounders!

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  1. Having experienced pine mouth, I share your concern...

    I like the Italian ones available at Fiesta Farms. Don't know the price offhand, but reasonable when taking into account the quality. You won't find them in the nuts section, look for them near the mushrooms in the produce section. You may have to hunt a little.

    Fresh and Wild at Spadina/King also carries Italian pine nuts, also decent quality.

    Fiesta Farms
    200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

    1 Reply
    1. Pine nuts from China have doubled in price recently. The world wide shortage appears to be worse than coffee or wheat.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jayt90

        Costco sells a large, maybe 1 lb bag (just guessing) for $24 or so. Are these the Chinese variety?

      2. One has to be super-careful about these pine nuts. I have the dreaded pine nut mouth twice now and it meant I had a meal at a high-end restaurant which went to waste because I thought the food was off when it was my mouth. I also had to reschedule a Scaramouche dinner with friends and another time because of it.

        It's also been reported that some pine-nuts that appear to be from countries that are not known for having pine nuts that cause that syndrome are nuts that have been purchased in bulk from China and then packaged in the country and then listed as being from that country.

        I've avoided pine nuts ever since this happened to me twice but there are many recipes that require them so I am going to try the Italian ones people are talking about. Costco's are indeed from China.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. This whole issue about pine nuts from China is new for me...I've never experienced the 'pine mouth' condition, fortunately, although I've made plenty of pesto sauce over the years. I assume that I've probably prepared much of it using the Chinese pine nuts too. So, to repeat froglegs' request, where can one get good quality pine nuts? I'm pretty sure that places like Pusateri's, Grande Cheese, or Lady York Foods would have them, but is it possible to purchase in bulk, or at least in larger quantities. Price is certainly a factor, since I use a lot of pesto sauce in my cooking.

            Edit: I discovered this earlier CH thread on pine nuts: and this Wikipedia pine mouth reference:

            1539 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA

            Lady York Foods
            2939 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON , CA

            6 Replies
            1. re: Yongeman

              I no longer eat pine nuts in any form - I have had pine mouth a few times and so has my husband. Once from a high end restaurant another time from expensive package of organic pine nuts. It's awful and as hard as it is I no longer eat anything with pine nuts and have switched my go-to pesto recipe to include walnuts instead.

              1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                I haven't had pine nut mouth (touch long as it's not pine), but am afraid to risk it. The last recipe that called for pine nuts got cashews instead, as did my pesto this past summer.

                I checked the pine nuts a few weeks ago at Pusateri's and they were from China.

                1. re: Sooeygun

                  According to Wikipedia, not all Chinese species are culprits...on the other hand, is it really worth the risk? I guess I've been lucky so far.

                  1. re: Yongeman

                    Not all Chinese species of pinenuts are culprits, but apparenty all species that are not Chinese are not culprits. So, since it's impossible to know which Chinese species cause the syndrome and which don't it's best to stay away from Chinese pinenuts altogether.

                    I've had it twice now and, while not harmful, it certainly makes food awful for up to a week and sometimes more.

                    Non-Chinese pinenuts in Toronto appear to be rare. I was at Ruby Watchco a few months ago for dinner and they had a dish with pinenuts in it. I asked the Chef, Lynn, if they were from China and caused pine mouth and she said she hoped they didn't as she paid a lot for them. So, she didn't really know if that's her criterion. I didn't get the dreaded syndrome that time though.

                    Ruby Watchco
                    730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                    1. re: Flexitarian

                      The word missing from your argument--and others here--is "random." You really don't know what causes this problem, nor does anyone else. I don't deny its existence but there's no telling why it happens or who it will affect. Just shots in the dark until we know what's up. FWIW, I've never had it, only buy small quantities from bulk supplies(never the teensy packets), and keep 'em fridged in an air-tight container. See the problem?

                      Chinese pine nuts are ubiquitous, though some are plainly fresher than others. Perhaps looking further afield would help? Places like Samara Roasted Nuts might be worth contacting for non-Chinese pine nuts.

                      1. re: Flexitarian

                        European pine nuts have a completely different shape from the Chinese ones. (more elongated, looking like a grain of rice) whereas the Chinese type looks like a like a pomegranate aril. I would have expected that Lynn Crawford would have known how to tell them apart.