The last production of Ardoino Biancardo was in 2005. This very late harvest oil, almost opalescent in color and very soft in flavor, is highly prized on the Ligurian Riviera. Historically, it was always sold to the demanding gourmets of neighboring France. The only producer left who makes this oil style is Ardoino. In the almost 30 years Corti Brothers has offered Ardoino oils, we have been able to offer Biancardo only 12 times. It is very special and not for everyone.
Harvested from high growing Taggiasca trees almost at the top of the Ligurian Alps, the mountains which separate Liguria from its neighboring region of Piemonte, it must be a special growing season where Nature does not cause the olives to fall from the trees during winter. Harvested from dead ripe fruit, this is not your everyday oil. It is an oil for using when pungent extra virgin olive oil character is not desired, but the silky, smooth character of oil is required. We have customers who are great fans of Biancardo. If you have not yet experienced Biancardo, you owe it to yourself to try it at least once. Since it is not produced every year, it would be better to say you have tried it than not. This is an “anointing” oil rather than a “flavoring” one.
Leah Garchik, the noted columnist of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote on 20 June 2008:
“P.S.: A social insider, familiar with trends in gifts and party favors says olive oil is the new wine.”
If true, you should have enough hostess gifts with this newsletter for a whole season!
V. Alisios Shredded Coconut
Corti Brothers packs for sale some very fine shredded coconut which I think is by far and away the best of its type. Produced from selected coconuts in the Philippines, one of the three largest coconut producing countries–the other two are India and Indonesia–very little thought is given to this product. It should be more popular and once was. Having found this source for tasty, high quality, white coconut meat, I decided to offer it to our customers.
Originally written “cocoanut,” due to a lapsus in Dr. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary, coconut seems not to be recorded in western cookery until the mid 1800s. It appears commercially in the US in the 1890s from the Franklin Baker Company of Philadelphia. For about 90 years, shredded coconut is very much a regional or specific product in the American diet. In the South, Ambrosia, a salad of sliced fresh oranges, sprinkled with shredded coconut, was a special winter dessert. A new take on Ambrosia--definitely to be tried--is found in the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, (2006, Norton) which is a delicious starter salad, but not the canonical recipe. The laconic comment by Marion Cunningham in her revision of the Fanny Farmer cookbook (1979), states, “(Sliced bananas may be added at the last, but then it is not strictly ambrosia.)”
Before our interest in all cuisines from Asia and southeastern Asia, shredded coconut was a basic ingredient in American baking and dessert making. Remember Baker’s German’s Chocolate cake, coconut macaroons, even the movie theater staple, the Mounds Bar? All tickled our fancy. Now you can try some of these dishes again. Even Ambrosia is a delicious, refreshing change of pace. Unfortunately, its elements are perhaps too common place for us now. But sometimes, it is just this “commonplace-ness” which makes a dish tasty. We could do worse in our cooking
Coconut cream pie, coconut pudding, coconut shrimp are all made with shredded coconut. Certainly fresh coconuts are now more available, but there is almost an atavistic feeling about the taste and texture of shredded coconut. A familiar exotic ingredient!
The three styles of V. Alisios Coconut which Corti Brothers packs are: Unsweetened Medium Shred; Unsweetened Fancy shred; Sweetened Large shred. These are all packed in re-sealable, 8 oz. stand up pouch bags. Once opened, please store cool or freeze.