Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
Splendid spread made from Sicilian pistachios and extra virgin olive oil
If you want a little something to brighten your day, put a culinary-inspired smile on your face, and leave some lovely fine flavors on your tongue, pick up a jar of this incredible sweet pistachio cream, made in central Italy with extra virgin olive oil. It’s made by the small artisan firm of Colle de Gusto (“hills of flavor”) in the tiny town of Fara di Sabina, in Lazio, smack in the center of Italy. We get it thanks to the wonderful work of Rolando Beramendi, the man behind Manicaretti Imports—one of our longest standing suppliers. Here’s what Rolando had to say:
You know me well by now, and you know that I love “to get lost!” By that I mean I go into a city, a place I’ve never been before, even for a day, and walk aimlessly, just like in David Bowie’s “China Girl”: “I stumble into town, just like a sacred cow!” And this particular day I was walking aimlessly around Rome along the Tevere, down towards the Tempio de Minerva, Buca della Verita’… then crossed to the Circo Massimo and I saw a sign to a marketplace called “Coldiretti.” So, I wandered all around, looking, talking, tasting, and just as I was about to leave, from the corner of my left eye, I saw a gelato stand with a very funny logo, called, “Colle del Gusto.” I saw some nice jars with “nutty” spreads or syrups or whatever you might want to call them, which they would swirl on your gelato. I saw the Pistacchiosa right away and bought one. After I tasted it, I was blown away! I left my card at the stand, and a few days later I heard back from them, and it was very funny! Antonio told me that was the first batch of Pistacchiosa he had made using Anna Maria’s (his girlfriend) extra virgin olive oil from her small farm/agriturismo in the Sabine Hills. They invited me to come up and we spent the most amazing time getting to know each other. And now every time I am in Rome they come join me for dinner. They are lovely people, and I am so proud to say that now they have a nice big warehouse space where they make all the spreads, and have employed many local people in a horrible time for humanity. The Pistacchiosa is truly unique in the sense that it has such a right-on and clean pistachio flavor… all because, I believe, of the quality of the extra virgin olive oil Antonio and Anna Maria della Corte use in it, from their own production on the Sabine Hills right north of Rome.
The Pistacchiosa is made from a very high percentage (35%) of Sicilian pistachios (some of the best in the world), extra virgin olive oil, and a bit of sugar. It has just that right balance—nuts, savory, sweet, super rich but still light. You can use it on just about anything—toast is my top pick. Paesano or Rustic Italian seem ideal. It’s great on pasta, especially if you wanted to do a small pasta dish for a slightly sweet, slightly savory course. It’s also excellent with fish, chicken, or rice. It’s really good with the Mahjoub family’s sun dried, organic Tunisian couscous. Or you can flip the culinary coin and use it with gelato, yogurt, or some of the really amazing ricotta we get at the Cream Top Shop from Bellwether Farms in California. Admittedly, I’ve just been dipping a spoon in the jar and eating it that way. It’s that good.