Not too long ago, I was contacted by Pic's Peanut Butter to see if I would be interested in trying their cool peanut butter from New Zealand.
Well, part of me wanted to scoff at the very idea--after all, peanut butter is an American phenomenon, right? Naturally we do it best.
But I resisted the temptation to, Princess Bride style, say "inconceivable!". Instead, I said "yes, I will try your New Zealand peanut butter." Because I really, really love peanut butter, and they were offering it to me for free.
Plus, they addressed my concern on their website in this amusing letter:
Dear American Person,
Living, as you do, in the spiritual home of peanut butter, you can, if you poke around a bit, find an extraordinary variety of peanut butters and peanut oil. So why on earth should you buy peanut butter from the other side of the world?
Because you won’t find any American peanut butters quite like ours. Despite the fact that our Hi-oleic nuts were developed in the US, they just can’t be grown in America. It’s something to do with cross pollination with ordinary peanuts that makes them revert within a season. The trick is to declare your whole country Hi-oleic, which is what Australia and Argentina have done.
Argentinian Hi-oleics are, however, harvested younger than their Australian cousins, making them sweeter, but with a less intense flavour.
So, that’s why you won’t find any American peanut butter quite like ours. And hey, if you don’t find it the best tasting peanut butter you’ve ever eaten, we will give you your money back.
Well, I wasn't so concerned about getting my money back since I was getting the stuff for free, but I withheld judgment until tasting.
A week or so later I got the peanut butter in the mail, along with a jar of roasted peanuts. I immediately set forth to test the product on a slice of toast I happened to have nearby.
So, back to the big question: does peanut butter from New Zealand taste different?
Well, I've got to tell you, this peanut butter is special.
First, the consistency is different. This is a no-stir peanut butter, but somehow it manages to have the same texture as a stir-type of peanut butter after it has been stirred. So a little bit more liquid (in a good way, in my opinion) but without the stirring needed.
The flavor was unique, too. It was still absolutely recognizable as peanut butter, but it was somehow different, too. It almost tasted as if they had made this peanut butter with those little intensely flavored spanish peanuts; it had a very roasty, robust flavor.
I really liked this peanut butter.
Now, they sent it to me for a review and to test out with baking, but I am going to tell you the truth: I got through the whole jar just eating it on toast and by the spoonful after a few days, and I never got the chance to bake with it.
Which, perhaps is the best review of all: I loved eating it so much I didnt' even get to the intended use.
So if you see this stuff in the stores, give it a try! It's not quite like any other peanut butter I have ever tried.
What's your favorite kind of peanut butter?