Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Those of you who have been reading this for any length of time know that I have issues - dating issues, chocolate issues, and perfectionist issues.  When I review something - say peanut brittle - I want to review ALL the peanut brittle.  The only way I know how to tell you what's best is by comparing them.  I can't just try a random peanut brittle and remember all the others.  I don't how gourmets do it.

Of course, the problem with this perfectionism is that I can never get my hands on ALL the peanut brittles.

But I can't stop myself.  Today I went in Rite Aid to check out the Halloween Candy.  I have to tell you, I am underwhelmed this year.  Not much new and exciting.  But we'll get to that.

I saw this - Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle by our friends at Old Dominion and had to buy it:

Box looks nice!  But look at this blob:

That's how it is - all in a blob.  You gotta work at it to pull it apart.  It's not bad - chocolate covered peanut brittle - I mean, can you really go wrong?  But it's not as good as Feridies.  Feridies is much thicker, not in a blob and has more peanuts.

And, of course, Planters has a peanut bar (there's my love, Mr. Peanut):

In color it falls between the Old Dominion bar and the overcooked Carolina bar.  I gotta say, it's surprisingly good.  Very peanutty.  But a bit smaller and with more calories that the others.  No wonder I like it - probably has more sugar.  God help me.

I promised you peanut butter!  But I can't review all the peanut butters - I will literally explode.  I adore peanut butter and if I have multiple jars in the house, I'll eat them all.  So I'll just review some fringe peanut butters.

Imagine my amazement when I saw this at Harry and David - Creamy Caramel Peanut Spread!

Looks pretty good, right?  I like caramel.  I love peanut butter.  I like candies that have both.  This, however, I do not like.  I prefer plain peanut butter.

Just so you know, I've tried A LOT of these flavored peanut butters.  And for the most part, I don't think they improve on plain peanut butter.  That's my standard.  If it's not better than plain peanut butter - it should not be made.  The caramel flavor here just makes the peanut butter taste weird.  Boo!

But there's another - Creamy Raspberry Peanut Spread!

BLEECH!!!  Funky weird raspberry taste - what the hell were they thinking?  Just get some raspberry jam!  UGH!  I think this line is going to disappear from the Harry and David shelves.

These samples I got at the Fancy Food Show. This is Peanut Butter and Co's Smooth Operator - their natural regular ol' peanut butter:
It's good - very peanutty. 

But their White Chocolate Wonderful - oh dear God - it's TO DIE FOR.  I don't have a picture of it here because I will eat the entire jar.  It is the best peanut butter in the entire Universe.  They have it at Super Target and more grocery stores now.  I think you should go out and get some as soon as possible if you like peanut butter.  Your life will never be the same.

From the Fancy Food Show - Justin's (also all-natural) honey peanut butter blend:
Is also okay.  There's nothing wrong with these, but Peter Pan is so damn good why go to the trouble of finding new peanut butter unless it's extraordinary?

Justin's also makes maple almond butter:
This was much blander than I thought it should be.  I like almonds, I like maple.  But this?  Eh.

Harry and David also has a chocolate hazelnut spread.  They are totally trying to move in on Nutella.  Their jar is even shaped like the Nutella jar (shame, Harry and David, shame):
This is a little single serving of Nutella I got at Candy Expo:

This is the Harry and David spread which looks just like Nutella (same color, a little less thick).  But.....
Nutella is better.  The difference is slight - but Nutella tastes a little sweeter and more chocolately.  The Harry and David mix has a stronger hazelnut flavor.  But both are damn good. 

Not as good as White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter - not even close.

This is somewhere between a butter and a jelly.  It's Harry and David's Pumpkin Pecan Fruit Butter:

Okay - I know that looks gross, but this stuff is soooooo good!  It's spicy (ginger) and pumpkiny and the chunks of pecan are delish!  I've been eating it right out of the jar!  Who needs pumpkin or pecan pie?  This is awesome!!!!!!!

Now for the jelly (well, actually jam)!!  My friend Ruth Taylor (who went to the Fancy Food Show with me), makes the most amazing jams.  I mean, she wins blue ribbons at the NC State Fair!
This is her raspberry peach:
Doesn't it look great?  And it is - the sweetness of the peach works perfectly with the tartness of the raspberries.  YUM!!!! And so fresh and fruity tasting - wow!!!

And this (my favorite) is cherry pecan:
Wow!!  Tart cherries (see the chucks?) and pecans - so very, very good!  It's packed with fruit and nuts and really is a treat in and of itself.  Put it on some Walker's Shortbread - woowee!  Now THAT would be amazing!

It's fall!  Time to get out there and try some new flavors, hit some festivals, celebrate the harvest and the season and most importantly - life!


Kris, in New England said...

Jif - Super Chunk.

That's all.

Denise Ryan said...

Kris - I'll say it again - it's a good thing we don't live closer to each other. I'd be dragging you to the State Fair right now to get a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Jif it is!!