Artisana: A Review

We are big into nut butters in our house. We use them for almost everything- sandwiches, on top of oatmeal, in smoothies, as a dip for fruit, in thai stir-fry sauces, and of course in baking. We don’t use a whole lot of peanut butter, rather opting for almond and cashew butters for the taste and nutritional benefits. We are always looking for new interesting combinations to try, and frequently experiment here at home. So when I was offered an opportunity to review some of Artisana’s organic raw nut butters, I absolutely jumped on it.

I tore the box open minutes after it plopped down onto the porch. They sent me their blogger box, containing a variety box of eight sample packets and two full-size jars (coconut butter and walnut butter). I am mildly familiar with Artisana- I knew of the company, and had actually tried a packet of their cashew butter (and had my mind blown), but I hadn’t looked at their products too closely. Oh, what I’ve been missing out on!

Almond and Cashew butters with sliced gala apples from Solebury Orchards.

Artisana is manufactured by Premier Organics, a company committed to sustainable living. Much of their ingredients are purchased directly from local farmers, and everything is organic and hand-selected to ensure the highest quality nut butters. Their efforts definitely shine through to the final products. Spoiler alert: it was all so delicious and healthful, we actually cut the packets open to get the last bits of nut butter out.

The first thing I noticed about Artisana, aside from how friendly and informative they were, was that almost every packet and jar advised the buyer (or in this case, blogger) to stir/knead and squeeze.This is always a good sign with natural foods, especially nut butters- if your peanut butter doesn’t separate, à la Skippy or JIF, it has nothing good to offer you nutritionally. The separation is an indication of a whole, raw, natural food. Each packet even tells the consumer to knead and squeeze to re-mix the oils into the rest of the butter.

I had originally planned to use the different butters in a variety of dishes, but with the kids I just didn’t have the time to prepare and photograph 8-10 different plates. I opted for a simpler setup, and dove right in:

First up, macadamia butter and coconut butter. I had never even considered making a butter from macadamias, so I knew that this would be one of the first ones that I sampled. I also wanted to try their coconut butter- I love the stuff, even though it is absurdly rich.

Spread over toast with peaches and blueberries- delicious! This took my morning from drab to decadent. The macadamia butter did not disappoint. It was mellow and light, with a texture that you only find in authentic raw, natural foods. It was perfect over toast- it felt indulgent, but it was loading my body with healthy energy to kick-start my day.
I’m keeping my eyes open for packets of this at my local health food store.

The coconut butter was everything coconut butter should be- rich, full of coconut flavor, almost pillowy and seeming to dissolve right in your mouth. I am a huge coconut butter fan, but I know that it is an acquired taste, and that a lot of people find it to be too rich. With the Artisana butter, I found myself eating it right out of the jar in tiny spoonfuls- if there is such a thing as paradise, it is in that jar. If you do find the flavor to be too much, coconut butter makes a great addition to baked goods or thai/indian dishes (coconut rice would be the obvious choice).

Next up, almond and cashew butters. I had tried their cashew butter before, and remembered it being some of the best nut butter I had ever tasted. I was right- in fact, if I had to eat just one thing for the rest of my life, Artisana cashew butter would definitely be in the running. It may have been the best thing I have ever tasted. It is so creamy, like liquid silk, but rich and with a full cashew flavor. I definitely plan on picking up a few packets of this the next time I am in Whole Foods. It would be great to have some on hand during my long days at school to keep my energy levels up!

The almond butter was also delicious- again, very creamy. I don’t know how they do it! Most nut butters are chunky or grainy, but Artisana’s were buttery. What’s more, they don’t add any oils or sugars to the mixture! I always read labels before I purchase a product, and am a firm believer in untouched nut butter.  With some of their butters, such as the macadamia and the walnut, they add another nut to help achieve that great consistency. I assume that some nuts, like macadamias, simply don’t release enough oils to get to that good butter place, so they help them along with some oilier nuts thrown into the mix. I think it only adds to the flavor. My assistant agreed.

Another thing I like about Artisana, beyond their incredible products, is their individual packets of butters in addition to the jarred products. They average under $2, and can be found anywhere that Artisana products are sold. Delicious food that is portable, healthy, and fits in even the smallest pocket of my yoga bag? Yes, please! Even better? Artisana employs a buyback program to offset the use of their packaging. Win!

Next I tried out the pecan and walnut butters. The pecan is mixed with cashews, probably for the sake of texture, and it was incredible. I had some blueberry almond breakfast squares left over from the day before, so I sliced one in half and stuffed it with pecan butter and blackberry chia jam.

Served with a side of berries, this was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. I just can’t get over how creamy the butters are! It is a testament to raw, untouched nut butters that Artisana accomplishes the texture they do. I know a lot of people who believe that to make a good nut butter, you have to add some kind of oil to get the right consistency. This just isn’t true- as evidenced here.

I wound up spooning the walnut butter straight from the jar. It was so good on its own, I didn’t want to ruin the experience 😉 Walnuts have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease when incorporated into a healthy diet- another reason to dig in!

I shared most of my samples with my family, and the walnut butter was my mother’s favorite!

I also received samples of some of their coconut oil, which I was unaware they produced.

I mixed it into some coconut rice to give it a flavor boost.

Divine! I love love love Artisana’s commitment to wellness and quality products. Their coconut oil is organic, raw, extra virgin oil. That means that all of the healthy elements of the food- enzymes, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and essential acids are all preserved, providing you with the nutrients your body needs for optimum performance. Coconuts have been shown to help reduce bad cholesterol, balance hormones, and assist in weight loss. Because their coconut oil is unprocessed, it is a healthy choice for cooking, and I can feel good about eating it.

Speaking of coconuts, I had one more packet to test out…

Raw chocolate coconut butter. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever tasted anything quite so decadent- the pronounced raw chocolate flavor coupled with the silky texture of coconut butter was almost too much to handle.

Bliss, indeed. I wasn’t even sure what to do with it- it was almost too good to eat. I wanted to frame it! In the end, though, there was only ever one practical vehicle for this extraordinary butter…

…sandwiched between two banana halves. Simple, healthy, and most importantly, delicious. It’s hard to believe that something this good could be healthy. It seems like we are conditioned to expect only the unhealthy foods to taste decadent and indulgent, yet the further I go down the vegan rabbit hole to health, the more often I find this myth debunked. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so well since adopting a vegan lifestyle. I certainly wasn’t hurting noshing on that banana/coconut butter mash-up!

Again, my assistant was in accord.

Overall, I was impressed with Artisana’s products. I find it difficult to trust food companies today- there are just too many of them playing the “all natural” card, when really there is almost nothing natural about their product. Artisana is the real deal. Their products are produced and handled with the intention of maintaining the nutritional value of the nuts, and it shows in their final results. Their commitment begins at the farm and ends at the consumer, with every step along the way carefully considered.

Another important thing to note is that their facilities are completely gluten- and peanut-free. This is such a relief- it isn’t uncommon for childcare centers to forbid peanut products, due to the possible peanut allergies of other children. With Artisana products, that worry is erased. I would be able to toss one of these packets into Jack’s lunchbox and send him off to preschool knowing that he has a snack that is healthy and safe.

My only note is this: the price tag is pretty high- upwards of $10 a jar. I know that many people will balk at that, but here’s how I see it: there is a lot of money frequently dumped into unhealthy activities with little to no real benefit. I don’t think it’s outrageous to funnel some of that money into nourishing food. I can’t say that my family will be including Artisana products into our weekly Whole Foods shopping, but that is only because the money for it isn’t there. If I had the extra to spend, I would- without batting an eyelash. I would rather spend the money on Artisana cashew butter twice a month than, say, cable  (we don’t watch TV). As a weekly item, it’s a bit out of our reach…but that doesn’t mean we won’t indulge on occasion, and when we do have a little bit extra to splurge, you can bet it will be on Artisana.


2 thoughts on “Artisana: A Review

  1. Pingback: Vegan: On-The-Go. « Being Elizabeth

  2. Pingback: Breakfast! « Being Elizabeth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s