Tag Archives: Escazu

Big Spoon Roasters – Nut Butters Handcrafted in Durham!

Big Spoon Roasters - Durham, NC

Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Butter & Apples

I love peanut butter so much that I think of it as its own food group. I eat it pretty much everyday so I am happy to know we have locally made nut butters available here in the Triangle. Big Spoon Roasters makes handcrafted nut butters from scratch in Durham and it is delicious! It is honestly the best peanut butter I have ever had and I love that their ingredients are locally sourced whenever possible and that their core philosophy is based on the belief that food matters.  According to their website “It matters to our health, our happiness, and the well being of our planet.  We believe that food should be delicious, nutritious, and good for all those involved in producing it.”

Mark & Megan at the Carrboro Farmers' Market

Mark & Megan at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market

Mark Overbay founded Big Spoon Roasters in 2010. He has always had a passion for food and his interest in making nut butters was sparked by his time and experiences in  Zimbabwe as a member of the Peace Corps where he witnessed locals harvesting and roasting nuts to mash into nut butters to eat. His experiences there made him think about peanut butter in a different light with the realization it didn’t need to be an overly sweet product with a bunch of fillers. He began tinkering with recipes using simple natural ingredients when he got back to the states and the rest is history.

Big Spoon Roasters

Big Spoon Roasters 8 oz. Jar

When they aren’t busy making their nut butters and energy bars and shipping them off to over 90 retail locations throughout the Triangle and the country, you will often find Mark and his wife Megan at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market Saturday mornings selling their handcrafted creations. I’ve stopped by their table at the market a few times now and always enjoy talking to them. They typically have several of their nut butters on hand to sample and purchase. I am a creature of habit and so far I have only tried their classic peanut butter (I am boring I know) and I love it.

Big Spoon Roasters

Biscuit with Big Spoon Peanut Butter at Jubala Village Coffee

It isn’t a sugary peanut butter and it doesn’t have a bunch of unhealthy ingredients like the stuff you typically find from national brands. Big Spoon’s peanut butter is made with simple ingredients local and regionally sourced peanuts, wildflower honey, organic coconut oil, and sea salt make. That’s it! The peanut butter has tiny bits of nut chunks giving it great texture with just the right amount of sweetness from the wildflower honey. My favorite way to enjoy their peanut butter is by spreading it on a fresh crisp North Carolina apple. I also love having the peanut butter on fresh made biscuits at Jubala Village Coffee. It is such a great combo and makes for a perfectly sized snack to go with my morning coffee.

Several Nut Butters to Choose

Several Nut Butters to Choose

In addition to the classic peanut butter, Big Spoon offers a variety of other small-batch butters, made from other nut varieties like pecans, cashews and almonds. They also have a peanut butter mixed with stone-milled dark chocolate  (I recall now having tried a sample of this too at Jubala and it is awesome!). Their newest creation is a Chai Spice nut butter made with a blend of cardamom, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and black pepper, that is mixed with fresh-roasted, freshly milled peanuts and almonds and local wildflower honey & sea salt. I think I may need to try that one next!

Peanut Butter Cups with Big Spoon Peanut Butter & Escazu Chocolate

Peanut Butter Cups with Big Spoon Peanut Butter & Escazu Chocolate

If the pictures and descriptions above haven’t  made you hungry yet this last one should do the trick. Last winter I experimented with making homemade peanut butter cups by melting down locally made chocolate from Escazu in Raleigh and filling small paper cups with a dab of Big Spoon peanut butter submerged in the melted chocolate before chilling them in the fridge. The results were heavenly. I had planned to give the peanut butter cups away as gifts but they didn’t make it out of my kitchen because of my sweet tooth. If you get a chance I highly recommend you pick up a jar of one of their nut butters to try, they also make great gifts for foodie friends. A list of local retail locations carrying their products is shared below. To learn more about their different nut butters offerings visit the Big Spoon Roasters website here. Enjoy!

Big Spoon Roasters – Durham, North Carolina
Wesbite: http://bigspoonroasters.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bigspoonroasters
Twitter:  @bigspooners

Where can you buy it in the Triangle?
A Southern Season (Chapel Hill)
Beaufort Olive Oil Company (Atlantic Beach)
Bella Bean Organics (Durham)
Bull Street Gourmet & Market (Durham)
The Carolina Inn (Chapel Hill)
Carrboro Farmers’ Market (Carrboro)
Cocoa Cinnamon (Durham)
Durham Farmers’ Market (Durham)
Escazu Artisan Chocolates (Raleigh)
Foster’s Market (Chapel Hill & Durham)
Guglhupf (Durham)
Johnny’s Gone Fishing (Carrboro)
Loaf Bakery (Durham)
Lomo Market (mobile)
Lucky Star (Chapel Hill)
NOFO @ The Pig (Raleigh)
Orrman’s Cheese Shop (Charlotte)
Parker & Otis (Durham)
Queen City Pantry (Charlotte)
Raleigh Denim (Raleigh)
Rose’s Meat Market & Sweet Shop (Durham)
Saxapahaw General Store (Saxapahaw)
Wine Authorities (Durham)
Yellow Dog Bread Company (Raleigh)

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Picture of The Week: The Raleigh Bar!

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A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit downtown Portland and while strolling through a chocolate shop in the Pearl District called Cacoa I came across a chocolate bar made with pecan, nougat, bacon and caramel. It was called the “Raleigh Bar” and had an image of Sir Walter Raleigh splashed across the wrapper. Of course I had to buy one of theses bars and it wasquite delicious.

As much as I loved the Portland and the chocolate I found there, the Triangle chocolate scene is pretty darn good too. In fact, Raleigh is now the home of two “bean to bar” chcoclate shops. The next time you are in downtown Raleigh and need something for your sweet tooth check out Escazu Chocolates on Blount Street and Videri Chocolate Factory on Davie Street in Warehouse district.

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A Trip To Escazu Chocolate – Downtown Raleigh Chocolatier!

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Last weekend I made a trip to Escazu Chocolates at their new location on Blount Street  near the Historic Mordecai Neighborhood in Downtown Raleigh (map).  Escazu specializes in uniquely flavored handcrafted chocolates made from organic cocoa beans from Latin America.   They are a true chocolatier in that they actually make their own chocolate right there in the shop from beans they import from Costa Rica and Venezuela.   Escazu originally started out in New Bern, NC before moving  to Raleigh to open a boutique store on Glenwood Avenue South back in 2007.  They moved into their new location on Blount Street next door to The Market Restaurant in the spring of 2010 and have been well received by the neighborhood.

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It is a small little shop with a collection of wooden tables and impressive display case of their chocolates.  As you relax and savor their handmade creations at one of the tables you can actually see them making chocolate in the back through a window in the front shop wall.  Their chocolates resemble pieces of modern art and are almost too pretty to eat and range between $1.00 and $2.00 a piece.  This may sound like a lot, but after tasting one I assure you that you will be more than happy to pay for the quality and unique flavors they serve.  Regular chocolate candies found in the local drug store don’t even begin to compare with chocolate creations they produce at Escazu.   

They offer a wide variety of flavors and always seem to be working on inventing something new.  In the past they have featured such worldly flavors as bourbon vanilla ganache, blueberry filled dark chocolates, and a balsamic vinegar white chocolate.  On this latest visit I sampled a dark chocolate made with goat’s milk, dark chocolate with basil, and a chocolate with chili and lime (pictured left to right in the above photo). All of them were quite excellent!

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The picture above is a close-up of my favorite – the dark chocolate with basil.  You wouldn’t think these two flavors would go together, but they complement each other perfectly!  The amazing thing about the Escazu chocolates is how satisfying they are.  Instead of stuffing your face with handfuls of cheap candy that leave you feeling ill and unfulfilled, these handcrafted pieces of edible art dazzle your taste buds and fill your mouth with a flavor that is so satisfying you only need a few bites, and yet they still leave you longing for your next visit to try a new flavor.

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In addition to their chocolates, the folks at Escazu offer baked goods prepared by the well known local baker Crumb and serve organic coffee from Raleigh’s own Larry’s Beans.  I’m sure I will be back again soon to try some new flavors, but I am also looking forward to visiting them later this winter to try some of their hot chocolate!  The next time you are in the Downtown Raleigh area be sure to check out this hidden gem.  Your taste buds will thank you!

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