I had some friends over for a Lebanese dinner last night and as usual, I went to Zen on Moscow Road to do my shopping. It’s my favourite Lebanese shop in London, owned and run by three charming brothers who are incredibly friendly and attentive. It is very rare that I have to wait to get served there but this time it was different. There was a lady there, wearing the most impossibly high heels with mid-calf white leggings. She seemed to be a regular client and a flashy one at that judging by her fancy mercedes parked in front of the shop (as if her clothes did not give that away), and she was happily chatting away to Mario, the younger brother, while filling a large bag with fresh pistachios — the season is just starting. I kept making faces at him behind her back, not only to see if he could rush her but also to stop her from taking all the pistachios but she was going on and on, and Mario was too polite to say anything. I thought she would never stop. She did eventually and thankfully, she left some pistachios which I pounced on before someone else did.


She paid and got into her mercedes, and I finished my shopping and went back home, tucking into my fresh pistachios on the tube, leaving some for my guests of course. They were all curious about them, having never seen fresh pistachios before and naturally, they loved them. Apart from being great just as a snack or with drinks, they are also lovely added to a fruit compote or a fruit salad. The only problem with the latter is that if you are greedy like me, you won’t be able to stop eating them while shelling them. Totally irresistible.

There is 14 comments on this post

  • my sitto is going to halab in a couple of weeks for a wedding. I will be sure to ask her to bring back a few kg of pistachios on her way back 🙂
    beautiful shots!

  • she won’t be able to bring them into the US. bringing in fresh food is forbidden, remember. or perhaps they won’t bother checking her being a nice old (?) lady.

  • If I am in lebanon during pistachio season, my mother always stops and buys some on the side of the road, arguing with the merchants to make sure they are fresh and “open” inside. They always insist that theirs are the best, and offer us a few to taste as proof. The pistachios usually don’t make it home since we end up eating them all in the car…

  • i’m not surprised you ate them all in the car. they are incredibly moreish. i finished what my friends didn’t eat (which was plenty) double quick.

  • they were indeed very nice! and interesting to see some seemingly ‘unfamiliar’ food, not because we don’t know it but we’d never seen it in its freshest form. thanks so much!
    although today was dedicated to sorting out books (all those hard decisions: which books to keep, which ones to store and, hardest of all, which ones to give away…) I managed to get another sun-dried tomato & olive loaf into the oven. this and tabbuleh, a simple yet delicious meal.
    by the way, are you aware of the food festival along regents canal tomorrow (sunday)?

  • i loved the sun-dried tomato and olive bread you brought christian. thank you. will try and make it to the food festival.

  • I loved these photos! reminded me of eating pistachios that we’d pluck from the bushes in Ba’akleen in the Chouf ( my parents used to park me there for the summer in a “colonie de vacances”)

  • bushes or trees? all the pistachios that i picked in Greece, Sicily and California were on trees. what was the lebanese colonie de vacnaces like?

  • I remember bushes but then I was only 8 or 10 at the time. The Ba’akleen camp was in a boarding school. We were to perfect our Arabic during the summer. I remember venerable sheikhs teaching us. Come to think of it, I am the only one of the family who lasted there the whole summer. My brother screamed so hard my parents had to bring him back within 24 hours to Beirut. But I liked it. I think the school is still there, last time I checked.

  • how interesting. i never had any sheikhs teach me anything. only nuns, and not very nice ones at that except for the mere superieure.

  • We went there yesterday as soon as Shuna mentioned it on twitter and I saw it on your blog. I’m so excited, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten fresh pistachios, although I have a vague memory of eating fresh almonds from the Persian store when I was little in Paris, and speaking to my sister yesterday, she was telling me that eating fresh almonds in Tehran is one of the only things she remembers really well because she loved them so.

  • hope you enjoy them. your sister would have eaten them in iran. after all, some of the best pistachios come from there. as for fresh almonds, you can see quite a nice picture (if i may say so myself) in my post: what credit crunch, back in May i think.

  • Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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