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Key Ingredient ~ ALMONDS!

Cooking with Almonds ~ Native to the Mediterranean, almonds are an ancient, versatile, and nutritious food that is found in many Mediterranean inspired recipes. Enjoyed whole, blanched, chopped, sliced, roasted, salted or ground, these little gems are a culinary staple that will give even the simplest recipe a flavor boost.

Almond trees bloom in late winter, are harvested in summmer, and can be enjoyed year round. The U.S. is the leading producer of almonds worldwide, with California producing 42 percent of the global supply. Spain and Italy usually rank second and third, though yields vary.

Besides tasting good, almonds are rich in vitamin E and are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats.

Roasting brings out the best in almonds. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Place shelled almonds on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant; stir once or twice to ensure even browning. Note that all almonds will continue to roast slightly after removed from the oven.

This Almond and Polenta Cake is rustic yet elegant. It’s lovely as dessert with whipped cream and fresh berries, or for breakfast with lemon curd.

“Blossom of the almond trees, April’s gift to April’s bees.”
~ Edwin Arnold

Almond and Polenta Cake Photo