Order Placed: Friday, March 18, 2005
Received on: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 by DHL (keep in mind order was placed late Friday night.)
What We Ordered:
Olive Oil and Grains special $110 ...Geraci Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Sicily $16 ...Vicopisano Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Toscana $21 ...Florilegium by Fattoria Casamora Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Maurizio Montani - Toscana $28 ...Lentils by La Valletta - Umbria $12.50 ...Farro Perlato by La Valletta - Umbria $8 ...Beans Fagioli del Purgatorio by La Valletta - Umbria $11 Stratto Tomato Concentrate by Pianogrillo - Sicilia $26.50 The Pastiera Napoletana (Neapolitan Grain Pie) by Di Ciaccio - Campania $20 Cherry Tomatoes by Sapori del Salento - Puglia $19 Piennolo Vine Tomatoes from Mount Vesuvio by Giovanni Marino - Campania $16 Lentils by La Valletta - Umbria $12.50 Organic 100% Tomato Sauce by Sapori del Salento - Puglia $9 Farro Perlato by La Valletta - Umbria $8 Maccheroncini Farro Selection by Carol and Carla Latini - Marche $7.50 Tagliatelle Farro Selection by Carol and Carla Latini - Marche $7.50 Mais Yellow Coarse Polenta Flour by Mulino Marino - Piemonte $6 Penne by Pastifficio Martelli - Toscano $5.50 Tacconi with Wheat Germ (Greme di Grano) by Antico Pastiffico Morelli $5.50 Sea Salt Fino by Vincenzo Gucciardo from WWF Reserve Salt Panes - Trapani Sicily $5.50 Coarse Sea Salt by Vincenzo Gucciardo from WWF Reserve Salt Panes - Trapani Sicily $4.50
Everything arrived in good order except that there were 3 items missing from the shipment (the 2 packs of Beans and the Stratto). I called and they said they would look into what happened and call right back, which they did. The options were to send out the remaining items or give me a refund. I chose to have them ship the remaining items.
Their Olive Oil and Grains special looked like a great deal – but one of the olive oils was from 2002-2003 and has a consumption date of Dec 31, 2004. I mentioned the outdated oils and they sent me a new vintage bottle with the missing items. The polenta too had a past consumption date – but it cooks just fine (I should say - great! - it's really good polenta) - I didn’t realize it until I opened it.
The new package with the beans and the Stratto came by UPS ground as arranged – we never got to try the Stratto as the bottle came completely smashed inside the bubble wrap. I didn’t ask for a replacement as they had re-sent the olive oil already. (But see the July update below...)
I might order from them again but I would make sure I noted I didn’t want “past dated” products sent to me. They have some unique products so they may be the source I need for some special ingredients. Their customer service was excellent.
We’re using the coarse salt as our cooking salt and it is really salty so I have to be really careful not too use too much. The polenta as I mentioned above is excellent quality - as are the beans, lentils and farro - I would definitely order them again. The tomato items we've tried are all excellent quality but seem very expensive for what they are - I think less expensive alternatives are available.
The pasta is great. We have tested a number of brands of artisan made pasta and there is a huge difference. The Latini and Martelli pastas are fantastic - highly recommended. I really didn't like the Pastiera Napoletana - it might be that I don't have the experience of eating many of them. The flavor was fine - it just seemed very expensive for what it was. Definitely a pass for us in the future - but now I know!
Update: July 2005 After reading about the Stratto mishap, Antonio at Gustiamo sent us a brand new bottle! Thank you!