Top Pick Of The Week

June 2, 2009

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Cashew Nuts

No everyday cashew nut, these aromatic, artisan-peppercorn Meyer Private Reserve Cashews are the cashew version of Steak-au-Poivre. Photography by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE. Styling by Lauren LaPenna.

WHAT IT IS: Gourmet nuts, beautifully gift boxed.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Superb quality, artisan roasting techniques and deft flavoring of specific varieties.
WHY WE LOVE IT: If you “can’t stop eating” regular nuts, wait until you get a taste of these! A memorable gift, too.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Buy Online Here.

Squirrel Brand Gourmet Nuts: Coveted By Humans

CAPSULE REPORT: “Categorizing Squirrel Brand as just a nut company is simplifying things a bit too much,” says the company website. “We prefer to consider ourselves as more of a sensory experience.” While we normally skip over glowing marketing statements, in this case, we totally agree.

In its earlier days, Squirrel Brand was not targeted to gourmets, but to folks looking for a simple bag of fresh, salted peanuts. Old radio commercials on the company website urge the average Joe to enjoy them, and tell parents to buy a bag for the kids.

Today, average Joe has been left behind; he would not be too interested in the sophisticated, transcendent truffled almonds which we think are to die for—a fusion of California nuts and Ritrovo’s Italian truffle salt. Meyer Private Reserve cashews from Brazil are dusted with a delicate blend of five peppercorns from the Pacific Rim that accents—never overwhelms—the fine cashew flavor. The same seasoning is available on “blistered” Virginia peanuts, roasted with a special technique for extra crunchiness. And yes, there are the sweet offerings—Crème Caramel Pecans, Crème Brulée Almonds—and the “plain” nuts, including mixed nuts and pistachios salted with Fleur de Sel.

Squirrel Brand opens your eyes to a category called “gourmet nuts”—not just the best quality nuts, but the best quality handled by master roasters and flavored by great palates. With Father’s Day coming up, you don’t have to go nuts or squirrely figuring out how to treat Dad to something special. Just hop over to Squirrel Brand and shell out for something special. Read the full review below, including recipe ideas and serving suggestions.

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.


More Gourmet Nuts To Go Nuts Over

Brookfarm Macadamia Nuts Nutty Girl Pistachio Nuts
Brookfarm Spiced Macadamia Nuts. Another Top Pick Of The Week, these macadamias, flavored with Australian specialty spices, bush pepper or Kashmiri chilli, are another flavored nut not to miss. Nutty Girl Nut Mixes. A Top Pick, any girl or guy would love a gift box of these wonderfully seasoned nut mixes. We’d love the recipes, but Nutty Girl isn’t talking. She’s also an artist—check out the gift box designs. Santa Barbara Pistachio Company. If you love pistachios, this Top Pick California grower has the best—plain, flavored, toffee covered (yum!) and certified kosher, too. Try some.

Squirrel Brand Gourmet Nuts: Coveted By Humans


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The Squirrel Brand Company has been roasting nuts since 1888 and is still a family-owned business. Roasted by masters in small batches, the nuts show their breed.

The company has bragging rights that Squirrel Brand nuts were carried to the South Pole by Admiral Richard Byrd on his first expedition. They were shipped all over the globe during World War II, where one soldier, stationed in the Philippines, wrote back that “They were the only nuts that arrived without worms.” Could it be the sturdy tins?

The company offers nine varieties of nuts, plus mixed nuts, a nut sampler and a hand-crafted, rough-textured artisan peanut butter. The products are packaged in the gift tins shown at the right, alone or within a lovely wood box, and a sleek, heavy-duty resealable bag (the “refill bag”) for home use.

The nuts are roasted in a kettle with—of course—peanut oil. We’ll look at the delicious results in a moment. But first, something to help you enjoy them guilt-free:

Squirrel Brand Nuts
Handsome gift tins, a cute squirrel and especially delicious nuts.

The Health Benefits Of Nuts

Nuts are a good protein food. Yes, they contain a reasonable amount of fat, but it is largely unsaturated, heart-healthy fat. In fact, in 2003, the FDA approved the following claim for seven different types of nuts,* including four offered by Squirrel Brand:

“Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

*Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.

So, it isn’t health food, but eaten moderately—and we don’t mean the caramelized, toffee-covered variety—nuts are a healthier snack. Now, let’s take a look at those gourmet nuts!

— Karen Hochman

Continue To Page 2: Types Of Gourmet Nuts

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