One of the products on our shelves most beloved by aficionados are CB's Roasted Peanuts in the shell. They are a great product - USDA organic peanuts perfectly roasted and lightly salted. Just opening a bag is like going to a baseball game. But without taking anything away from CB's there are two main problems:
And here's the thing about peanut skins (testa is the scientific term): they're actually very good for you. They're high in dietary fibre and they contain reservatrol - the same antimicrobial, antioxidant compound found in red wine. So what's a nut nut to do?
Most of the world's peanuts come from China or the southern United States (CB's are sourced from around the U.S. and roasted in the Pacific Northwest). In 1982, the Racz family of Vittoria ON got out of tobacco and started growing Valencia peanuts and soon became the premier operation in Canada, Kernal Peanuts. Just over a decade ago, they noticed a mutation in some of the peanuts - about one per thousand - where the skin was a dark purple, turning black when roasted. They began to breed to that mutation and are now farming over 40 acres of them. To our thinking, they are the very best peanut out there. The black testa is so fine on them that there's none of that throat-catching going on. The peanuts themselves are perfectly buttery and the light seasoning is an ideal balance. Plus they just look awesome and elegant in the bowl. We went through a lot of samples last weekend but we'll try to find some more for this weekend. You really ought to give them a try - after all, the Blue Jays home opener is Friday night and you're going to need Canadian peanuts. They come in salted, sea salt and black pepper, and garlic flavours.
Oh, and speaking of bowls... The one pictured here is part of a whole new collection of delightful small bowls from India - perfect for mis-en-place, finishing salt for the table, olive pits or a civilized amount of peanuts. You'll find them on the main table just inside the door.