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Dec 17, 2011 08:17 AM

Italian Pine Nuts in L.A.?

Does anyone know a supplier of Italian-produced pine nuts in Los Angeles? Two years ago I ate Chinese pine nuts and had pine mouth for over a week, and it's worth paying more to avoid repeating that experience. I called the touted Italian shop in Santa Monica, Guidi Marcello, but even theirs were Chinese! I want to make Ligurian pandolce for Christmas.

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  1. There is a huge pine nut shortage in the world right now so the price is high, quality is low, and supply is limited. I'd suggest going somewhere that allows you to sample them and/or has easy returns. I don't have experience with them but many hounds say TJs has excellent pine nuts. Buy a package, open it outside the store, and sample. Return if they aren't top notch.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JudiAU

      Thanks, but your sampling suggestion tells me you haven't experienced the results of Chinese pine nuts. The offending nuts aren't obviously bad, so one can eat them unsuspectingly. Then it's too late. The damage to your taste sensation is done, and it lasts a week. Even sugar tastes bitter. If it's Chinese, don't try it, including the ones at TJs.

      1. re: paprikas

        I got pine nuts at Guido's yesterday. She assured me that they were not from China, but not from Italy and that they were very good. I ate a few yesterday, they tasted fine and did not have any negative effects later. Melisa's pine nuts, at Gelson's claims theirs are from Italy.

        1. re: budlit

          When I telephoned before going there, the man who answered the phone specifically said, "China."

    2. Just as an FYI, Whole Foods has them in the bin from Spain at $28.00 per lb.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Bob Brooks

        The one's at the WF on West Hwd. didn't show Spanish origin.

        1. re: paprikas

          The bin in Sherman Oaks (Sepulveda) did.

        2. re: Bob Brooks

          The ones I've been buying at Whole Foods also specify the origin as European (I believe Spain), but not Italian.

          1. re: will47

            This thread prompted me to check my West Hwd. WF's bin again today. The bulk bin was labeled "Chinese," not Spanish.

            1. re: paprikas

              Glendale WF always has the Spanish.

              1. re: paprikas

                I'm usually at Pasadena - Arroyo or Hastings Ranch. It's probably been at least a few months since I bought any.

                1. re: will47

                  Some very good ones in the freezer case at Roma Deli in Pasadena. Ross swears they're Italian, although they seem to have the stubby countenance of Chinese.

            2. re: Bob Brooks

              The Whole Foods pine nuts from Spain are very good. We use them for pesto all the time.

            3. I eat the pine nuts from TJs often (use in salads) & find them to be very good as well as extremely well priced. However, I checked my bag & it says "product of Vietnam, Russia & Korea" so clearly not what you're looking for. However, I've never had any ill-effects from eating them.

              I used to get my pine nuts from Whole Foods & they're definitely excellent (probably better than TJ) but switched to TJ for economical reasons when they became so expensive.

              1 Reply
              1. re: archer

                yup, me too. i use the tj pine nuts all the time and have never had a problem.

              2. you mean those pine nuts I got at Claros last Saturday are from China? I paid $14 lb. toasted some Sunday and used in caponata w/no notice of change of taste and/or quality.
                I'm eating leftovers now at my office for breakfast.

                will check when I get home.