Corti Brothers

 CASAS DE HUALDO PICUAL Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2019 Marco Mugelli Prize winner

Corti Brothers has never had this oil before. It comes from Spain’s province of Toledo, almost in the center of the country. The Finca Hualdo, in El Carpio de Tajo, sits between 400 and 600 meters above sea level. This is a harsh geographical area, and the olives produced here give highly distinctive oils. The estate is a family owned one, consisting of some 3,200 hectares of which about 600 are planted to olives . The first oil was made in 2009 from some 300,000 olive trees. Casas de Hualdo PICUAL was the oil selected at the end of the 2019 Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition as the winner of the MARCO MUGELLI PRIZE, the highest award given at the tasting. It is a delicious medium/intense, intensity oil with peppery Picual flavor.

At twenty years of age, the Los Angeles competition is the oldest olive oil competition in the U.S. (Full Disclosure: I am its chairman, but do not taste. I select the tasters.) Casas de Hualdo entered the competition for the first time in 2019. The traditional oil made in the Toledo area is produced from the Cornicabra variety, but the finca also has planted other varieties. This Picual is an example of modern Picual, harvested earlier than was normal in the center of Spain, and is now recognized as an excellent variety if harvested early. When harvested traditionally, it always has a highly distinctive character. In this case the early harvest has produced a very fresh, grassy scented and pungent oil. Picual is famous for its amount of antioxidants and polyphenols. Harvested early, these are maintained and the fragrance of the variety is less strident and obvious and more like the green olives from which it is produced.

The 2019 Los Angeles competition had 530 extra virgin oils presented. There were 7 Best of Show awards, 20 Best of Class, 136 Gold Medals, 126 Silver medals, and 91 Bronze. The full list is available at The Mugelli award is named for Marco Mugelli, a Florentine oil expert who set in motion the newest technology in oil extraction. He was a taster at the L.A. competition, who died suddenly in 2011. The award is given to the oil considered the best of the Best of Show award winners, both domestic and foreign.

CASAS DE HUALDO PICUAL extra virgin olive oil

$19.99 500 ml (#4750)

$107.00 case of 6 (#4750C)


SAUBOTA, Camel’s milk and SAUMAL, Mare’s milk from Kazakhstan: A real surprise.

SAUMAL is the brand of a very unusual product: freeze dried fresh mare’s milk. The word itself means “healthy animal” in Kazakh. SAUBOTA, is the freeze dried camel’s milk produced by the same company. Kazakhstan is a country in the heart of Eurasia, and both are freeze dried milks from a German-Kazakh project which started in 2015. This milk from two different mammals–horses and camels--is produced using very specific German technology to produce a freeze dried product from two very distinct lactating animals which are not often considered in the American scheme of things. But both types of milk have an envious history in human nourishment. Let’s look a both separately.
SAUMAL is produced from a Kazakh horse breed, the JABE, historically used for work, meat and milk. The milking is done relatively quickly since the mares must be with their foals to be comfortable, which affects the amount of milk produced. Processing takes 24 hours for the fresh milk to be frozen and then dried. It takes 200 liters of fresh milk to produce 19 kilos of the dry product. Saumal is the world’s largest producer of freeze dried mare’s milk.

The company has 25,000 hectares of pasture in the Kazakh steppe with more than 1,500 mares. Mare’s milk has been written about by early medical writers like Hippocrates and Avicenna. With German milk technology, the organoleptic and biological properties of the freeze dried milk remain the same as in fresh milk.

SAUBOTA, meaning “healthy camel calf,” is camel’s milk produced using somewhat the same technology but a different animal raised on the same pasture as the mares. This is in the region of KARAGANDA, in the very center of the continent. Mares are difficult to milk, but camels are nearly impossible–yet it is done. Both animals are on natural pasture all year long--green during the wet months--otherwise dry pasture, but not fed anything other than natural steppe pasture. Like mare’s milk, fresh camel’s milk is pasteurized, frozen and then freeze dried.

Camels (curiously, I have not found a word that is used for the female camel like mare is for horses) are a North American mammal. They originated during the Pleistocene epoch, a period 40 million years ago, on the North American continent. Then, about the size of a rabbit, they continually evolved and migrated to where we see them now–the deserts of the Middle East and Asia. They disappeared from their origin. New World Camelids are found in South America, at the vertiginous heights of the Andes mountains. They are the Vicuña, Llama, Alpaca, and Guanaco.

So what do these milks taste like? Both dissolve very easily in tepid water, just about body temperature, and do not like being made very much ahead of consumption. Two hundred ml of water is enough to dissolve three tablespoons of the dried milk. I would recommend making the amount of milk necessary and then cooling it, if necessary, and drinking it or using it. It does not stand up to being kept more than 12 hours after dissolving. The tastes: Mare’s milk and camel’s milk are similar. Both are opaque white, and have a slightly fresh grass scent of good milk. The milk body is pleasant and not at all sticky or thick. The flavor is fragrant, soft, and very pleasing. Much more so than the sometimes “chalky” taste of cow’s milk.

For the nutritional aspects of these milks, I would suggest your viewing the company website:

SAUMAL Mare’s Milk 200g (7.1 oz.) Pouch in can $24.99 each (#4751)

SAUBOTA Camel Milk 200g (7.1 oz.) Pouch in can $24.99 each (#4752)


KI NO BI GIN Distilled in Kyoto

KI NO BI is the first Japanese gin to be made in Kyoto from Kyoto origin elements. Everything that is distilled to make the gin is grown in the Kyoto area. Even the water is from the famous Fushimi spring which is brought in to the distillery. The distillery itself is a model one with a young, very serious, English distiller overseeing all of the production. I first tasted it in 2018 from a bottle brought back to me from Kyoto. It was then not in the U.S.

Now that it is, this is a very serious Dry gin, but not a London Dry gin style. It is also made by distilling each of the individual elements separately and then blending the elements to create Ki No Bi. It is a supremely elegant gin, that almost necessitates its being drunk straight. With a couple of ice cubes, and Ki No Bi, you

have the approximation of a very fine Martini. If you use vermouth, use a very dry one, Noilly Prat or Dolin. But the balance of flavor in Ki No Bi straight is really fine. Perhaps you should try it with the KÜHNE GIN CORNICHONS also in this newsletter rather than an olive or pearl onion. You just might be surprised.

KI NO BI DRY GIN from Kyoto 45.7% $69.99 750ml (#4753) $377.00 case of 6 (#4753C)

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.    916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food


DUCK FAT SPRAY: Novel, but not a novelty.

Here is a novel way of using a delicious fat in a spray can. CORNHUSKER KITCHEN has created a cooking oil spray from rendered duck fat which allows you to flavor your favorite food with the inimitable scent of duck fat without having to use a great amount of fat in cooking. The 7 oz can has a bag inside holding the liquified duck fat and you merely add the spray to a cold pan, not a hot one, to get the duck fat effect. Frying potatoes has never been easier and the duck fat aroma and flavor is delicious. Potatoes take on another character when treated with duck fat. But then you can use it for frying almost anything. And you don’t have to have the duck present to do so. The can should be stored at room temperature.


$9.99 each (#4754)

$53.00 case of 6 (#4754C)


So, what is a Mangalitsa? Spelled also in slightly different ways, this is a notable breed of pig which comes from Central Europe, Hungary mainly, and was created by a notable royal in the early 19th century. The breed was once very prolific, now reduced in numbers. It is a “lard” breed, having lots of delicious fat surrounding reddish meat rather than the pinkish tone of modern, less fat pigs.

The Austrian Archduke, Joseph Anton Johann, the Palatine of Hungary, crossed older breeds with wild boar and a Serbian breed of pig to create this now unique breed which is notable for its wooly coat, not the silky thin coat of other pigs. It is extremely rustic and is kept out and generally on open pasture. An enterprising grower in Pender, Nebraska, Leon Svoboda of ELTEE FARM, has begun producing what the breed is famous for: LARD.

Lard is the rendered fat of pigs. It is used in a lot of cuisines, but the idea of lard has been shunned in recent times due to habit changes about eating and perhaps unwarranted dietary constrictions. Mangalitsa lard is open kettle produced from the animal’s fat. Lard is a wonderful fat for cooking, but unless you took the time to render it, it really is not found in commerce just as pure lard without preservatives.

Frying in lard is wonderful. There is no frying smell. Using lard in baking–it makes the best pie crusts and flaky pastry possible--is not possible unless you have really good lard. Now with GOURMET PORK LARD, the Eltee Farm’s brand of Mangalitsa Lard, you can try all these things. If you have never tried using lard in cooking, here is your chance.

Mangalitsa, a breed that is very rustic, has more Omega 3 monounsaturated elements in its fat than other fats. In this case it really is true that what the pig eats is transformed into what we, who eat the pig, get. Mangalitsa Lard comes in a 1.5 pound (24 oz.) tub and should be kept refrigerated or frozen. It may not be for everyday use, but when you want a really special taste and consistency, Lard it is!

GOURMET MANGALITSA PORK LARD 1.5 lb tub (24oz.) $15.99 each (#4755)



This island off the southern Viet Nam coast is closer to Cambodia than to Viet Nam. Pronounced “FU WəK”
Phú Quóc island is famous for its fish sauce, black pepper, and now tourism. This last will probably cause the demise of the other two. But I would like to point out the Black Pepper of Phú Quóc.

RED BOAT is the producer of possibly the most famous of the Island’s fish sauce or Núoc Mám Nhi. I have written about it before when just available. It is a 40N fish Sauce. The 40N indicates the level of nitrogen in the sauce, hence the highest flavor and quality.

Now, Red Boat has started importing the Black Pepper of Phú Quóc. This is non-irradiated pepper, hence in its natural state and with the inimitable slight citrus character both to its scent and flavor. Obviously, It has the flavor of black pepper, but then even in black peppers there are differences. This is one of the rare black peppers. Very close to Cambodia’s Kampot pepper area, it may even be the same cultivar. But unless we use it, it will disappear.

Pepper is a vine and requires a great deal of hand labor to produce. Right now due to a shortage of market and labor, pepper farmers are allowing their vines to wither and die since they cannot get enough for their pepper to make ends meet. Here is where using the product helps preserve it.

RED BOAT PHÚ QUÓC BLACK PEPPERCORNS 250g (8.8oz) $16.99 the jar (#4756)


KÜHNE GIN CORNICHONS, new from Germany

Founded 10 generations ago in Berlin, the KÜHNE brand of pickled products has come up with a new one: GIN CORNICHONS. Cornichons are small cucumber gherkins, usually known by this name in France. Since 1905, Kuehne has been the premier gherkin producer in Germany. Based now in Hamburg, they source cucumbers from all over Germany. Using a novel method of picking the cucumbers–a slow moving harvester which straddles the rows--they are picked by hand by pickers lying prone on the machine as it very slowly crawls through the fields. The gherkins are picked when they are not smaller than one’s little finger. Cornichons are picked when the size of one’s little finger.

Pickled using a proprietary recipe, the new GIN CORNICHONS are also flavored with German gin. There is probably less alcohol in the Gin Cornichons than there is in fresh bottled orange juice, but the flavor is there.
They can be used like any other pickle, but are very interesting for use in gin drinks, like a Martini for example. I have used them in Gin and Tonics and the effect is delicious. But in Martinis, they are scrumptious.


$4.99 12.5oz. jar (#4757)

$44.00 case/10 (#4757C)


VOICES FROM THE RAILROAD: Stories by descendants of Chinese railroad workers

A new publication of the Chinese Historical Society of America, based in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Edited by Sue Lee and Connie Young Yu, this history captures the reminiscences of Chinese workers on the Transcontinental Railroad which in 2019 is 150 years old. The work is a memorial and a justification: A memorial since it memorializes family history for a reader other than the interested family and is a justification of the immense effort made by a people considered “un American” and worthless by their American superiors, when, if it had not been for their labor, the Transcontinental Railroad would not be celebrating its 150 years of existence. Our copies are signed by the two editors.

VOICES FROM THE RAILROAD, editors Sue Lee & Connie Young Yu, 95 pages, $25.00 + tax (#4758)


RUE & FORSMAN Ranch Rice: White Jasmine Rice and White Basmati Rice from California

Since 1946, this family farm in Olivehurst, north of Sacramento has produced rice. Just recently, they have begun to grow in California two rice cultivars that were once considered not possible due to California’s dry climate. But Rue and Forsman has made it possible.

Their sustainably grown white Jasmine rice is a cultivar that is a cross of Thai Ho Mali and California long grain. The rice is aromatic, just slightly sticky with a lovely fragrance and an attractive, shiny aspect when cooked.

The sustainably grown white Basmati rice is another fragrant variety, with a distinctive slender grain, that elongates from the uncooked grain when cooked. Again, very aromatic, with its slight “woodsy” scent, this is a drier appearing rice with a wonderful scent and texture, different from the Jasmine. Both come in resealable two pound bags.

I would not recommend cooking less than one cup of rice. Both of these rices re-heat wonderfully. Trying to cook less than a cup of rice is really not practical and normally produces less than stellar results. I would recommend soaking the rice for about a half an hour after rinsing well. You should use about one finger joint of water above the rice level and a bit of salt. Bring the rice to a boil and reduce heat when little craters form on the rice surface. At this time turn the heat to very low or put on a heat dissipater, place a piece of cloth or a cloth napkin on the pot lid and cover the rice with the covered lid. Let finish cooking on low heat or no heat for about 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve. Failing all of this, follow the directions of your rice cooker!

RUE & FORSMAN Ranch California White Jasmine rice $6.99 2 lb bag (#4759)

RUE & FORSMAN Ranch California White Basmati rice $6.99 2 lb bag (#4760)



Terry Beaudoin, not an Italian name, but French, has resuscitated olive growing in Calaveras County, California. Calaveras County, to the south of Amador County, in the Sierra Foothills, used to produce a lot of olives and olive oil. At the closing of Rocca Bella in 1963, the major olive producer then in the area, the groves have been left to their own devices until Terry Beaudoin began to use them again for the production of Sicilian cured olives.

Sicilian cured olives are made curing the olives with salt and water, nothing else. This is a time consuming curing method which produces flavorful olives, but in the Beaudoin olives, they remain crunchy, something rarely seen in cured olives. In olive curing, the flesh tends to soften during curing, giving a sometimes buttery character to the olive texture. The Beaudoin olives remain “crunchy” and thus different from a lot of cured olives on the market. There are two styles: Traditional which are unpitted and Spicy which are pitted. But both have the same delightful, crunchy texture.

The olive size is Colossal or Super Colossal. This is normally the size of the Sevillano cultivar in California. Curiously, olive sizing is unique since there are about 11 sizes ranging from “sub petite” to Super Colossal, with extra large, mammoth, giant, and jumbo--all sizes smaller than colossal and supercolossal. Another one of the curiosities of the food business! However, the Beaudoin Traditional Sicilian Olives are delicious. Their texture alone is only one lovely aspect to their quality. They fit wonderfully as an hors d’oeuvre or antipasto. And you will be keeping alive centenarian olive trees that have been revived from neglect.





VERMOUTH, which is now enjoying something of a comeback, is an aromatized wine. This means that a base wine is flavored with various herbs and spices, including “wormwood” (Artemisia species), from which it takes its name–“wermut” in German. The Mancini family in Italy’s Umbria region, where the notable grape variety is Sagrantino, has taken Sagrantino to the vermouth well with spectacular success.

Using wormwood, gentian and other aromatics, they have created a “varietal” vermouth, if one could call it that, using a red wine rather than white. In Piemonte, where vermouth was conceived, the base wine for Vermouth di Torino, now a denomination of origin, is normally muscat wine. Red wine can be used, but the RAÍNA VERMOUTH NUMERO UNO is made only from this dark, very tannic red variety, called Sagrantino. It is unusual in vermouth production since the basic wine structure makes this vermouth, red in color with a tannic background, carry the herbs and spices extremely well. It makes forceful cocktails and drunk by itself, is delicious both as an aperitif or after dinner as a digestivo. Vermouth Numero Uno makes a killer Negroni, but you should use the classic recipe of equal parts Vermouth and Campari with just a float of gin as the drink was created for the Count Camillo Negroni in Florence. Possibly better yet, is to make an Americano, which is equal parts vermouth and a bitter, such as Campari, Luxardo or others on the market.

Using Vermouth Numero Uno for bourbon cocktails, you might want to do some fiddling around to see how much you like the forceful character of the vermouth and the whiskey used. Higher proof whiskies should go very well.

RAÍNA VERMOUTH NUMERO UNO 18% $29.99 750ml (#4763) $161.00 case of 6 (#4763C)

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.    916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food



Here is a wine with several things going for it: An historical name, an historical grape variety and lovely wine making. Alissa and Anthony Beckman started making wine in 2013 under the CRUESS label. The historical significance of the label is that William Vere Cruess (1886-1968) was Alissa’s great uncle. He was also one of the giants of the then new science of Food Technology at the University of California, Berkeley. Literally responsible for the success of the processed olive industry in California, Cruess also invented such things as fruit cocktail, the prune dehydrator and rejuvenated the science of winemaking after Prohibition. Curiously, he never went to Davis when Food Science and Enology were transferred there. He remained at Berkeley.

FIANO, is a southern Italian grape variety, possibly one of the oldest known in that country. Its name is said to derive from “Apianum”, beloved by bees, since the Romans had named the variety due to its honeyed juice that during harvest was much appreciated by bees. Fiano is also a variety just recently become famous in the world due to the effort of various producers around Naples, namely the Mastroberardino family, making lovely wines from it. Easy to pronounce, it rhymes with “piano,” the variety is grown now in several places in California. The Cruess bottling comes from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. The wine requires several years of aging to show at its best and the 2017 is the current release.

Anthony Beckman, the owner/winemaker, is also the winemaker for Balletto wines in Sonoma. His tempered winemaking produces balanced wines with a sense of character and place.

Pale greenish in color, with a flowery aroma and a rich yet stony flavor, this vintage improves with being open. It seems to develop flavor, but does not appear to oxidize easily. It may change your idea of what white wine should taste like.

CRUESS FIANO 2017 13.2% $23.99 750ml (#4764) $259.00 case/12 (#4764C)

Note:The un-linked items in the newsletter are not available for purchase on our website. If you are interested in any of those items, please phone or email us your request.    916-736-3800 or 800-509-Food



From a group of thirty small farmers, we have chosen a highland Kenya coffee presented to us by Jeremiah’s Pick Coffee Company of San Francisco. KUSHIKUMANA, means “work together” in Swahili, one of Kenya’s languages. The highlands of Meru County in Kenya, about the middle of the country, are from 1,400 meters to 2,000 meters in elevation, optimal growing country for coffee. There are five varietals of Arabica coffee grown, and KENYA coffee is recognized world wide as one of the most consistent high quality coffees produced.

The growers are small growers who pool their beans which are worked separately by each grower, coffee having been introduced by missionaries in 1911. The quality classification of AB refers to the size of the beans. AA quality is 1/4 inch in diameter, and AB is a mixture of this size and one slightly smaller. In some instances, as in our selection, AB, is actually higher in quality. The informing character of Kenyan coffee of this grade is the bright acidity and floral character of the light medium roast we have selected. This is coffee particularly for fans of black coffee or those liking a lighter style with cream and/or sugar. This is “small batch” coffee of the highest quality.



Five years ago, the 24 year anchor/reporter for Channel 31 in Sacramento, TINA MACUHA, was “bitten” by the honey bee “bug” and has not looked back. After doing a story about honey bees, she got her first hive–now has five–and sells some of her wildflower honey directly to Corti Brothers. Her 12 oz jars of dark colored honey are the result of this interest, now passion.

Honey bees are very important to agriculture, and the area surrounding Sacramento is, if nothing else, important agricultural land. When Tina says her honey is wildflower, it really is. Some of her hives are now out on the rural side of the Sacramento River, and the flowers are, well, wild. Forty six percent, almost half, of the global bee population has vanished in the last ten years due to varroa mites, colony collapse, and pesticides. This is something we should all be thinking about: no bees, a lot of food wont be produced. This is not scare tactics, it is extreme reality. Anything that can be done to help honey bees helps us.

THREE BEES WILDFLOWER HONEY is unpasteurized, just natural honey from Sacramento. Its deep color reflects the myriad flowers used by the bees. Deep flavored and very long on the palate, this is honey that sticks with you. It is not a thin, watery honey, but a decisive, full bodied and flavored one that merits your attention. In particular, not a lot is produced, it is from Sacramento, and it sells out very quickly.

Tina Macuha’s THREE BEES WILDFLOWER HONEY $9.99 12oz jar (#4766) Limited Quantity

TERMS OF SALE: This list supersedes all others. All taxable items, such as wine, beer, or spirits will be taxed at the rate of 8.75%. This is for all sales since we sell in California. Foodstuffs are not taxable. Shipping will be charged at prevailing rates. PLEASE NOTE: In extreme weather, either hot or cold, please give us a shipping address where your order may be properly received and stored. Corti Brothers cannot be responsible for items left without protection


Written by Darrell Corti — September 21, 2019

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