“I’m not on board with the term ‘guilt-free food’. You shouldn’t feel guilty about eating something delicious,” says Zoe Roberts, owner of Butter Nut—and, evidently, girl after our own heart—as we take a generous sample of the sweet and nutty spread before us and nod vigorously in agreement.
If you’re looking for an extra special topping for your pancakes come Shrove Tuesday, in the hazelnut and cacao spread at Butter Nut we’ve found it for you. “It’s made with 80 per cent nuts—predominantly hazelnuts, which give it that praline-like flavour, as well as cashews for creaminess of texture and a small percentage of dates to take the edge of the bitter cacao.”
Each batch is tested meticulously in Zoe’s Tooting kitchen: “It’s taken lots of trial and error to get the texture spot on. I now know the exact grain I’m looking for.” The nuts are supplied by an ethically-minded wholesaler, and their provenance depends on the season, “which means the nuts have differing oil quantities, so it’s important to taste test every time,” she grins. “But now I can do it by eye. It’s deliciously rich, buttery and chocolatey.”
Melt in the middle
If you manage not to use up the whole pot on pancakes (or with a spoon), Zoe has some suggestions. “I have it on toast, with porridge, in smoothies—it goes with everything! You can bake with it: one of my customers freezes it into balls and then bakes it into muffins, so it melts in the middle. And of course, it’s nice when you just want something sweet with bananas or strawberries, come summer, and perhaps a sprinkling of chia seeds.”
Zoe’s focus is on creating flavour in the most ethical way possible—all too often, the silky smoothness of our favourite spreads is the result of questionably-sourced palm oil. “There are so many names for palm oil, which means half the time you don’t even realise it’s in a product and, therefore, whether it’s been produced sustainably—and the majority of it isn’t,” she laments. “You’ll find none of those nasties in any of my nut butters: no palm oil, no refined sugar, preservatives or additives”—a definition of guilt-free food we can wholly get on board with.