Product Review: Buddha Cups, raw organic dark chocolate almond butter cups! »
Your Vegansaurus loves (vegan, fair trade, organic) chocolate, and your Vegansaurus loves almond butter, so when the lovely people of Buddha Chocolate offered to send us a sample two-pack of their fancy gourmet cups, you know we took them up on it.
I cut one in half to share with whoever else was in the apartment that day, namely one of my roommates, her boyfriend, and my brother, all omnivores.
The results were … mixed. While the chocolate was rich, the almond butter was dry and crumbly. The omnis all said they could “tell” the chocolate was vegan; I haven’t had dairy chocolate in like seven years, so I wasn’t really sure what they were tasting that I wasn’t (or vice versa?).
I suspected user error, though—they’d gone from a hot package in the mail to the fridge, and then right back out to a hot apartment—and the second one I let sit on the counter a while before eating it. Much better. The almond butter was softer, the chocolate melted into it, and it was really satisfying. Not too sweet, so you could totally eat one for breakfast (seriously, the fat and protein? Awesome to start the day) if you didn’t want to wait till dessert.
Buddha Cups are handmade in Brooklyn by a couple of awesome vegans, and are available at select Manhattan and Brooklyn locations, or you can buy them online. They’re like Justin’s, but almondy and harder to get! I recommend them. In fact, I’d eat one right now if I had it.
[Top photo via Buddha Chocolate; second photo by me]
Guest Product Review: Living Tree Raw Almond Butter! »
There’s something timeless and wonderful about the taste of almonds that no other seed or nut butter could ever match. But hot dang, that ish is expensive! Anyone who’s bought almond butter recently knows that there’s quite a significant price jump between peanut butter and almond butter ($5 to $10 sometimes!), and an even greater price gap between roasted and raw varieties of almond butter. You could easily pay $7 to $10 more for raw almond butter! In these tough times, that’s a lot of dough to spend on butter!
In my opinion, shelling out for more expensive almond butter isn’t usually worth it. I mean, we have nonprofit jobs, families and gender-queer allies to feed! That said, I believe splurging now and then for raw, sprouted, organic, non-GMO almond butter from Living Tree is just about the healthiest and tastiest decision you could make!
While I don’t think heated nut fats will kill you, I do believe that sprouted nut butters taste better and are the only legit way to know you’re eating truly raw almonds. Sprouting almonds before grinding them into nut butter is one of the most labor-intensive and debated practices in the nut butter business. In order to call your food “living,” some say nut butters have to be sprouted. California has some pretty tough laws when it comes to heating almonds, even those that are organic and labeled “raw.” I am pretty sure the most common source of “truly raw almonds” are imported from Italy.
That means that raw almond butter could basically refer to many different levels of “rawness,” and the only real way you can really tell if an almond is raw or living is if it sprouts. Living Tree Sprouted almond butter is definitely raw, and is an incredible hybrid between chunky and smooth. It feels like a totally different almond butter. It’s incredibly fluffy, like eating an almond cloud, with little grains of sand flowing into your mouth and heart.
If you’re going to dump tons of almond butter into a raw pad thai recipe or use it as the base of an almond butter and jelly sandwich, then you can choose whatever brand/roasted/raw variety you see fit. But if you’re going to invite your snobby raw correspondent over for a spot of green tea and raw crumpets, I would be ever so delighted if you served Living Tree Sprouted Almond Butter!
UPDATE: I found out from Living Tree that their organic, “alive” almond butter is only raw, not sprouted. They only purchase almonds from local organic California family farmers, and have been working with the same farmers for more than 15 years.
Instead of actually sprouting the almonds, they instead make the almond butter over several days. The key difference in their process is that they slice and never grind the almonds. After this, they let the mixture rest overnight, and slice again the next day. This is why their almond butter tastes so fluffy, and they believe it preserves the health content of the nuts.
[Photo courtesy of Living Tree, which sent me a complimentary jar of the almond butter.]
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Covered Pretzels from Eat Drink Better! So simple, so genius. Dark chocolate. Almond butter. Pretzels. I want you! I especially love how they are made with pretzel rods because those are my jam. I’m all about nibs and rods! Ew, not like that, perv!