Ahh, good question. The word gourmet, though it’s often overused (gourmet cat food anyone?) is used to describe foodie related things such as restaurants, cuisines, meals or ingredients of high quality and fine presentation. Over the years you may have noticed a rise in the word gourmet being used to preface anything from hot dogs to, well, the humble nut butter. And while it may be easy to dismiss the word ‘gourmet’ as trend or hype, when we say that we make gourmet peanut butter, we really mean it. Lemme tell you why.
Peanut butter for the people
Peanut butter, the everyman and, ahem, everywoman staple originated as a health food for the upper classes in the 19th century. Originally created for sanitariums like John Harvey Kellogg’s Western Health Reform Institute, natural peanut butter satisfied the need for a protein-rich food that didn’t have to be chewed! Wealthy guests at these institutions eventually made the spread popular among the well-to-do. As its popularity grew, there were economic pressures to expand peanut-butter consumption more democratically, which is when the recipe changed so to speak.
Peanut butter wasn’t known to travel well and was mainly produced for regional markets in small batches. Sounds pretty gourmet, no? Well, not for long. Like other traditionally “American” foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, and ice-cream cones, peanut butter hit the mass market at the end of the 19th century. Hello hydrogenation! In the early 1920s, hydrogenation helped the big three peanut butter brands (Jif, Skippy, and Peter Pan) raise the melting point of peanut butter so that it would stay solid at room temp, stop the separation of the peanut oil, and extend its shelf life. In 1942, hydrogenated peanut butter outsold natural peanut butter for the first time. And today? Well, in the American market, more than 80% of peanut butters are hydrogenated.
Don’t fret. The 21st century has seen the increasing popularity and availability of alternatives to mass produced peanut butter. Artisanal and organic varieties are easier than ever to find as food entrepreneurs, like us at Fix & Fogg, try to bring peanut butter back to its delicious and nutritious roots.
Gourmet peanut butter is a delicious fine art
Chefs, connoisseurs, and creators see gourmet food as a form of art. Making gourmet food, whether we’re talking a 5-course degustation or a jar of Fruit Toast peanut butter, is about creating something original that people may not have tried before. It’s about creating something new and exciting with passion and heart. And that’s always something we pride ourselves on at Fix & Fogg.
From the moment we come up with an idea for a flavour, we put our all into creating the ultimate peanut butter experience for our fans. And so, the fine art of being a gourmet peanut butter company actually extends beyond the nut butters themselves. Gourmet for us is also reflected in the presentation of our nut butters. You might not know it, but we used to do everything from hand sterilising the jars to designing the labels for our range of pbs.
As we grew, we’ve managed to buy the equipment that helps us produce our nut butters on a larger scale, but we still meticulously oversee how we package our products. For instance, we still labour over the labels and Roman himself just designed the new paper tube packaging (cut it out, Roman). Why is presentation so important? Because while our peanut butter has an incredible taste, humans are known to eat with their eyes first. So, a truly gourmet peanut butter will put as much passion and care into their packing as they do the spread.
Gourmet peanut butter is healthy
Back in the day when French cuisine was all the rage, gourmet food was never expected to be about more than taste. Nowadays, people expect their high quality foods to be both delicious and healthy. Gourmet peanut butter then has to be good for you. We’ve already explored in previous posts why peanut butter is actually good for you, and we’ve looked in depth at its nutritional values, so we won’t repeat ourselves here. But it’s worth asking the question: at what point does ordinary peanut butter become gourmet peanut butter?
Easy answer: ingredients.
For a peanut butter worthy enough to be called gourmet it’s got to be made with the finest ingredients possible. A truly gourmet peanut butter will use the best peanuts, kinda like how we source our hi-oleic peanuts from Argentina because they have the best flavour. And, if you look at our labels for Smooth and Super Crunchy, you’ll see that the only two ingredients a healthy peanut butter requires are peanuts and salt. That’s all folks. Compare this to conventional peanut butters whose list of ingredients can contain random ingredients such as corn syrup, sugar, stabilisers, and hydrogenated oils like palm oil.
You won’t ever find any of that nasty in a jar of Fix & Fogg. Pinky promise.
Gourmet peanut butter is an experience
Lastly, to make a gourmet peanut butter, it’s about providing an incredible experience from beginning to end. Yup, sounds like a stretch, but hear me out. So, here’s what we’ve got so far: gourmet peanut butter has to be made from the best ingredients, has to be healthy and delicious, and has to look good. Tick, tick, tick.
But let’s take it a step further and say that a gourmet peanut butter has to include excellent customer service and an epic brand story. We like to show you how our peanut butter gets made, the passionate people behind the product you love so much, and offer up recipes, anecdotes, and information. A gourmet peanut butter company puts heart and soul in their peanut butter, but also in everything else they do from labels and websites, to stories shared on social.
At Fix & Fogg we do peanut butter, gourmet peanut butter, and we do it right.
Feeling peckish? Head to our shop.