Sick of paying $70 to $100/kilo for stubby little Korean pine nuts that already taste a bit rancid? I am. The past few years I’ve been stocking up on them at the Sandringham Food Market shops where they sometimes have them going for as cheap as $30/kilo, so I can throw them generously into dishes – but there’s no pretending they’re anywhere near as good as the locally grown Pinoli pine nuts, which are deliciously fresh, long and sweet, with a rich price to match.
Palpitations for me today then, when I discovered an Afghani grocer’s in Avondale that stocks these amazing pine nuts in the shell, imported from Afghanistan. Food miles what? I’m supporting the rebuild of the Afghan economy. They’re purportedly organic, and the same goes for quite a good deal of the nuts and dried fruits available in bulk at this wee gem of a store, Quandahari Bazaar. Here you will find shelled pistachios boasting pretty pink/purple/green skins, dried mulberries, 4 or 5 different grades of medjool dates, Bulgarian goat/sheep/cow feta, pure pomegranate juice, huge sacks of top-grade basmati, spices galore, and much more. The current owners bought the shop six months or so ago and have overhauled the stock so they now boast a really quite impressive bazaar. It’s just near the roundabout at the bottom of St Jude St and you should go there.
And the pine nuts taste – funnily enough – a little bit like Christmas. They have a distinct resinous pine note, but a sweetness that balances that. Delicious. You use your thumb nail, or our teeth, to crack the wider, rounder end open, then slip out the kernel. At $39.99/kilo, they’re incredible value.
1 St Jude St, Avondale