Appetizers
August 9, 2010
Take a bite (crunch!) of an Almondina and become an instant fan

By Allen Pierleoni
apierleoni@sacbee.com

Consider the Almondina biscuit, which is like a really skinny biscotti. Better yet, bite into one. Feel the crunch. Hear the crunch. Taste the flavors merging in the mouth. Now enjoy the history of the award-winning (and Rachel Ray-endorsed) cookie:

"Grandma" Dina Nathanson, who lived in Israel, loved to bake and share her recipes. But she wouldn't part with the ingredients for one particular family favorite - le petit gateau sec (small dry cookie) - until the end of her life. It was only then, in 1929, that she divulged the secret recipe to her daughter, Ahuda Zaliouk.

Ahuda handed down the recipe to her son, Yuval Zaliouk, who later became an internationally known orchestral conductor. In 1989, he named the roasted almond-studded cookie after his grandmother - Almondina - and introduced it to the public through his company, YZ Enterprises.

Today, 11 flavors of Almondina are made. In our area, they sell for around $3.49 per four-ounce package at Corti Bros., Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Elliot's.

We sampled three of the flavors and liked the new chocolate-cherry best, followed by original (with raisins) and gingerspice. Bonus: They're kosher, contain no cholesterol, and "no added fat or salt." Warning: They're instantly addictive.

The tasters agreed they'd be ideal dipped in coffee, tea, red wine or milk, or crushed and sprinkled over ice cream.

For more information: www.almondina.com.

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

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