We have just returned from a weekend in Griffith and a morning with Denis, Annette and Dean Dinicola of Mandole Almond Orchard. The family’s orchard was alive with bees and covered in cloudy white blossoms, their petals falling like snow. Right now; this orchard really is a vision in white.
The Dinicola family had been farming rice and wheat in the Griffith area for three generations but only began planting almonds in 2004. Since then they have covered 600 acres with almond trees and have become the largest privately owned almond property in the Riverina.
The lovely Annette also made us a batch of light, fragrant Pasta de Mandorla biscuits and some deeply sweet, chewy almond torrone (recipes for both below). She is a wonderful cook and though she says most of her almonds find their way into sweets, also uses almond meal for thickening curries, or in salads with quinoa or freekah.
Pasta di Mandorla
160g icing sugar
1/2 cup toasted almonds, halved
Torrone di Mandorla
500g roasted almonds