Top Pick Of The Week

September 30, 2008

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Mixed Nuts

Not just any mixed nuts—these have the sizzle of real wasabi. Photography by Emily Chang | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Gourmet nuts flavored with real wasabi.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Other products are flavored with faux wasabi (read all about it). You’ll enjoy the difference.
WHY WE LOVE IT: If you love wasabi and you love nuts, this is a match made in heaven.
WHERE TO BUY IT: and fine retailers nationwide.

Real Wasabi Snack & Cocktail Nuts: Hot Stuff

CAPSULE REPORT: We never met a Real Wasabi product we didn’t like. With its new line of wasabi-flavored cocktail nuts, the company is tied with Palette Fine Foods for top honors, with most Top Picks Of The Week (three). The majority of people who eat sushi don’t realize that the wasabi served to them typically is not real wasabi (Wasabia japonica), but a far less expensive mixture of ordinary horseradish root and mustard. And, as with the finest craft brew versus a mass-market beer, there’s a big difference in taste. You can read more about real versus imitation wasabi in our review of authentic wasabi powder (you mix it with water to create the paste, just as they do at sushi bars) from Real Wasabi.

Now about those wasabi nuts. Available in six-ounce cans in Wasabi Almonds, Wasabi Cashews, Wasabi Pistachios and Wasabi Mixed Nuts, these elegantly “warm” (not fiery hot) nuts will wow with beer, cocktails or as garnishes—chopped or whole atop goat cheese canapés or tossed into a chicken salad, for example. They have just the right touch of wasabi: enough to assert itself, but not enough to cover up the excellent quality of the nuts. The cans make colorful stocking stuffers and a welcome addition to a gift basket.

We’d like to give a shout out to Doug Lambrecht, founder of Real Wasabi, for bringing real wasabi to more Americans beyond the handful who have experienced it fresh-grated in the country’s most elite sushi bars. Now do your part: Get to know all of the Real Wasabi products. See the delicious wasabi nut varieties close up in the full review below. The nuts are all-natural and certified kosher by OU.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


Cook With Nuts

Party Nuts Nuts: Sweet And Savory Recipes Totally Nuts Cookbook
Party Nuts, by Sally Sampson. The author has a business that sells spiced nuts, so she knows of what she writes! You’ll find recipes for everything from Cajun Pecans to Coconut Indian Almonds. You’ll be able to party for the rest of your life with these recipes. Click here for more information or to purchase. Nuts: Sweet And Savory Recipes, by Tina Salter and Holly Stewart. Use nuts to make everything you cook a bit more special. More than 100 recipes with lavish photography, from classic comfort food to memorable dishes for special occasions. Click here for more information or to purchase. The Totally Nuts Cookbook, by Helene Siegal. Not just the familiar (almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts) but the less familiar, such as chestnuts and pine nuts, appear in starters, sides and desserts. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Real Wasabi Cocktail & Snack Nuts: Hot Stuff




Originating in the mountains of Japan, Wasabia Japonica now grows in the cool, shady mountainous areas of China and Korea, in the rainforests of coastal Oregon, in parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, and in New Zealand. But it isn’t easy to grow real wasabi, which makes it expensive. That’s why an imitation wasabi has been made from common horseradish (Amoracia rusticana, a botanical cousin) mixed with mustard, cornstarch and food coloring. Most “wasabi” isn’t the real deal, alas, and most products claiming to be “wasabi” aren’t.

Why should you care? Once you’ve tasted the real thing, there’s no going back. Imagine if your only reference to coffee were instant coffee, and one day you tasted a cup brewed from real ground beans. Put a great Cheddar next to Velveeta. You get the picture.

Wasabia Japonica
Wasabi japonica growing in a misty mountain stream in Japan. Photo courtesy of Real Wasabi, LLC.

You can read about the difference between real wasabi and the less expensive, imitation product served by most restaurants. Then, check out the delicious nuts flavored with the real thing.

Continue To Page 2: Real Wasabi Nut Varieties


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