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picture showing the Nutcellars chocolate caramelised macadamias

NUTS ABOUT CHRISTMAS?

I’m nuts about Christmas. I love the decorations, the festivities, and all that goes with it. However, I really love good locally produced food and drinks, like the nuts from the Nutcellars, for a truly special Christmas.

by Emma Johnson

I’d been hearing about the Nutcellars for a while before actually getting round to trying them. When finally I popped down to Stony Stratford market the producers explained their story, without knowing I’d be sharing it with you!

The Nutcellar Story

The Nutcellars is a family-run business with a long history that connects them to Malawi. And, in fact, to macadamia nuts!  The Nutcellar business itself is still quite a fledgling business, having started only a couple of years ago.

The family import the nuts directly, however, there is more to the story than simply importing. Having planted their first macademica trees in 1992, they began smallholder macadamia production. In 2004, the family set up a charity Neno Macadamia Trust in 2004. I’d really recommend reading more about this. The goal is support the poorer smallholder farmers, particularly adapting to climate change. Along with this, they are committed to address environmental issues.

The Nuts

The round, creamy balls of macadamia nut, come with sweet and savoury options. We bought the chocolate, caramelised macadamias and a jar of the chocolate spread. I am a both a self-confessed chocoholic and a nutaholic, more likely to eat 20 hazel nuts at a time, than 1!

Chocolate, carmelised macadamias

When I first tasted the chocolate, carmelised macadamias, I was a little concerned that there wasn’t quite enough chocolate coating for me. However, and this is a big however, I learned how to eat them. That might sound strange, but they are designed to be savoured and enjoyed. There really is more to them than a box of everyday chocolate nuts.

If you take your time, then the chocolatey coating comes through. Of course, it did take me a whole bag, to recognise this. One at a time, (or occasionally two) with morning coffee, after lunch, after dinner and so on!  They will work really well as your after Christmas lunch treat. Ultimately, chocoholics may appreciate slightly more of the chocolatey coating but after a whole bag they worked well for me!

The Chocolate Spread

We don’t do white chocolate so I can’t comment on the white chocolate spread. House policy means I normally make my own. A bit of a challenge for The Nutcellars to beat my taste test!

My daughter is responsible for chocolate spread taste test. Like me with the caramelised nuts to start with she was a little unsure to begin with. Gradually, the taste came through and by the last lick of the jar she was asking me to buy more. She liked the smoothness of the spread and although it does taste different to my spread she liked the flavour.

Where to Buy

My Refill Market, Stony Stratford

Local farmers markets

Here at the Nutcellars website

The Costs

They do cost more than a supermarket but this product has a story and a far greater value:

  • it supports farmers in Malawi
  • promotes ethical and fair trading
  • reducing climate change impact
  • support local business here in Milton Keynes.
  • tastes delicious

Cost is still an issue to most of us, so for me this won’t be an everyday product but it will definitely be my go-to-treat or gift.

Chocadamia chocolate macadamia spread -£5.95 for 170g or £4.50 for 100g

Chocolate caramelised macedamias – £4.50 for 100g or £8.50 for 225g

delicious chocolate spread recipe

Delicious Easy to Make Chocolate Spread Recipe

This delicious, easy-to-make chocolate spread recipe is perfect to scoop onto your bread, let it melt into your crumpets, or as someone I know does spoon it directly into your mouth!

by Emma Johnson

This recipe is slightly adapted from a Good Housekeeping recipe I found many years ago. I have tried many including those with cream.  The cream does not work, don’t bother either trying it, in my opinion!

Ingredients

100g blanched and ground hazelnuts

250gmilk chocolate, broken into pieces

200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

50g icing sugar, sieved

100 ml Fruity Famer vegetable oil or similar – ones with a milder taste

1/2 tsp vanilla essence or extract (whichever you have)

 

  Blanch the Nuts

Although you can buy pre-blanched hazelnuts, it’s easy to do it yourself:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan) mark 5.
  2. Scatter the nuts onto a baking tray, heavy-based is best.
  3. Put them in the oven and toast for about 5 or so minutes. Keep checking though.
  4. Once they look slightly golden brown, take them out of the oven and see if the skin removes easily.
  5. Cool the nuts and then pop them onto a cloth. Cover the cloth over them and rub vigorously to remove the skin.
  6. Once completely removed you’ll be left with golden nuts.

The Spread

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces and pop into a heatproof bowl.
  2. If you have a microwave, carefully melt the chocolate. You don’t have to fully melt every piece as when you stir together, they’ll continue to melt.
  3. If you prefer to use a stove, pop the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Do not fill the pan too high because if water gets into the chocolate, you’ll ruin it. Once melted remove from the stove.
  4. Grinding the nuts: choose the hard way, pop them into a heavy-duty pestle and mortar, then grind. Or put them into a food processor and let that chop them finely for you!
  5. Add the nuts to the processor and continue to whiz it up.
  6. Add the icing sugar, whiz again, before adding the melted chocolate, oil, and vanilla.
  7. This recipe does leave a little crunch in the final mixture. If you do have fussy eaters, try pushing the mixture through a sieve.
  8. Finally, spoon into your sterilised jars.

Results

Whenever I cook something new, I always need positive feedback from them that tastes my latest creation. This one went down particularly well. In fact, one was caught spooning it into her mouth! On that point, if you prefer the spread to be slightly runnier, add a little more oil – up to about a max of 125 ml, I’d say.

If this is all too much of a faff – try the Nutcellar Chocolate Spread.

Website – The Nutcellar

Find them at the local farmer’s markets and at My Refill Market, Stony Stratford