|Jem Raw Nut Butters and Raw Cacao bars|
Deep breath. Allow me to elaborate...
Jem's raw, vegan, organic, orgasmic nut butters come as close to culinary perfection as I think is possible, and I am not being hyperbolic. When my shipment arrived [all 4 flavors, plus a few chocolate bars], I had grand plans of creating some recipes using the nut butters. But one tiny taste, and I quickly realized that in order to experience the purest hits of pleasure possible, these wonderfully complex concoctions were meant to be eaten au naturel – in other words, straight from the jar. Seriously, a few of the flavor combinations were what I'd imagine psychotropic drugs must be like.
I ended up having a spoon or two for dessert at night, savoring each unique bite slowly; it was an amazingly satisfying and healthy way to end a meal.
The nut butters' unique flavor is not just the result of a happy kitchen accident. Besides obviously doing a lot of testing and experimentation, the Jem artisans use only best-quality ingredients obtained ethically: single-source cacao from individual farms [Farm names are listed on the labels] and organic nuts from Oregon. Yes, the products are pricey, but this is truly a case of getting what you pay for. Worth every penny as a treat.
The good news is that Jem and the nice folks at Vegan Cuts are offering 10% off Jem products for all Urban Vegan readers, good until December 5. Just enter this code when you check out: urbanvegan. You can order here.
My tasting notes:
- Cinnamon Red Maca Almond Butter: My favorite of the bunch. Most foodies take pride in having tasted everything, but this is one of those flavor combos that make you stop mid-bite and ask out loud, "Wow, what is this?" Maca is an unusual ingredient and can be an acquired taste, since it's part bitter but also a bit sweet. The inherent sweetness of the almonds and subtle-sweet heat of the cinnamon is the perfect platform to show off maca's distinct aroma. You know it's there, but plays so nicely with the other ingredients that no one dominates – at least not for more than a millisecond. All the ingredients perform a harmonious symphony on your palate
- Coconut Cardamon Almond Butter: I adored this combination – reminded me a bit of Barfu, a rich Indian dessert. Sweet coconut with a subtle hit of cardamon, all wrapped up in a creamy-smooth almond butter. Again, all the flavors more than coexist peacefully – they complement each other and raise each other up, like best friends do. The cardamon is just a tad bit bossier than the almonds and coconut palm sugar, but that's cardamon for you. It works.
- Maqui Camu Super Berry Butter: Another insanely creative combination. Maqui is the latest South American "celebrity" berry, a deep purple wonder that hails from Chile. And its partner in health, cherry-like camu-camu, comes to us by way of Amazonian Peru and Brazil. Despite its name, berry is not the predominant flavor here. Berry is more of a deep, velvety undertone reminiscent of the expert blending of berries in a stellar Cabernet or zinfandel. This was my second favorite flavor.
- Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread: How can anything with these two ingredients not taste amazing? Again, the quality of the ingredients Jem uses – and the fact that this is a raw spread – makes this nut butter stand out. It is spectular and much better than all of the chocolate-hazelnut spreads I've tasted, raw and processed. But everything is relative and since the other flavor combinations are so delightfully quirky, I got spoiled and wanted a quirk thrown in here, too.
- Raw Chocolate Bars: I'll be the first to admit that, although I enjoy an occasional taste of chocolate, I am by no means a chocoholic. But since life is too short for low cacao content, I eat only best-quality chocolate when I do indulge. These all fit the bill: high-cacao content, complex, and earthy. Plus, you gotta' love the fact that the cacao is stone ground. My favorite of the bars was definitely the Coffee Vanilla Disk – a perfectly crafted round of 72% raw chocolate, sprinkled with tiny coffee flakes with vanilla high notes.
Which flavor/item do you think you'd like most?