Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: Sunland peanut butter

You may remember that in early April, I took a road trip to Chicago, stopping in Iowa City on the way. There, at a Bruegger’s Bagels, I found, tried, and loved a new-to-me brand of peanut butter—Sunland. I bought the Dark Chocolate variety, and it was pretty much heavenly.

I emailed Sunland to let them know I liked their product, and Brittany in customer service wrote me back offering to send me three jars of my choice from their catalog to sample! I settled on Organic Thai Ginger and Red Pepper, Organic Spicy Southwestern, and Natural Caramel.

Though I definitely plan to cook and bake with each, I wanted to try each one on its own first. Since I have a bajillion packages of Corn Thins (ganked from the finish line party of the Hospital Hill half-marathon I ran the weekend before last), I decided to use those as the vehicle for my PB-tasting.

First up was the Organic Thai Ginger and Red Pepper, the flavor that Brittany at Sunland recommended in particular. I’m not generally a big fan of ginger, and was worried it would be overwhelming, but was happy to find it wasn’t at all. The aroma of Thai spices wafts straight out of the jar, and the peanut butter, though thin in texture, is packed with flavor, plus a nice hint of heat. I can tell this will be great on sesame noodles or tofu satay.

Second, I tried the Organic Spicy Southwestern. Whispers of cumin and ground chili permeate this peanut butter, which is also thin, but features giant chewy chunks of peanuts. The lime flavor is front-and-center here, and though it’s different than I expected, this one excites me—I can envision making a killer mole sauce with it.

I saved the sweet for last, of course, and I was not let down by the Natural Caramel. It’s much thicker than the other two, and really appears identical to any other creamy PB. When I first took a bite, all I tasted was the peanut butter—thick, smooth, and full-bodied. As it started to melt away on my tongue, though, the caramel notes came forward and took over, cutting the richness of the PB and treating me to a dulce-de-leche-esque aftertaste. So good! I’ve since eaten this on honey-wheat bagel and on a banana, and it’s downright magical.

So which was my favorite? Honestly, I’d have to say the Caramel. Though I usually consider myself more of a salt person than a sweet tooth, I guess I like my peanut butter on the sugary side. I’ll probably finish my jar of Caramel with a spoon, but I’m definitely stoked to try cooking with the Thai and Southwestern flavors. I really recommend everyone out there check out Sunland’s online store for some cool and interesting PB flavors (their peanut butter diet is also a neat idea). Thank you again, Sunland, for your generosity!

Sadly, I don't have a giveaway to accompany this review. But stay tuned for one of those soon! In the meantime, check out Amanda's soy candle giveaway (update: Jessie is giving away a candle too!) and Fit and Forty Something's Larabar giveaway.

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  1. oh so jeolous! these look amazing.....wonder if they would do a giveaway :)

  2. I'm really thinking the mole sauce would be very interesting. I'm actually thinking that they would make some pretty interesting power bars as well.

  3. the PB w/ caramel would be RIGHT up my alley!! omg so good!

    the pancakes from the last post..i make something really close to those
    that you can turn into a pancake or leave as a cookie. yum!

    the comments you left me..thank you :) loved them All!!!!!


  4. Be still my beating heart! I've been desperately hoarding my last jars of Cinnamon Raisin PB&Co and PB Loco cookies dough... I can't bear the thought of all special nut butters being gone from my life. I can't help reading this and thinking of our bloggie swap ;)

    Also, I think our synchronicity has struck again - a few days ago I hit on the idea of stirring together peanut butter and dulce de leche and eating it with a spoon (icky to some? maybe)... now I think I was channeling you subconsciously :D

  5. very interesting. never seen anything like a Thai ginger and red pepper peanut butter.

  6. Fit&40—I wish I could've done a giveaway with this! I don't think anyone would want one of my half-eaten jars, heh. I WILL have another giveaway on here in the next few weeks, though.

    Henry—Agreed; the caramel PB would do well in some power bars.

    Averie—I remember those no-bake cookies of yours; these ARE kinda similar :]

    Hannah—It hurts me, deeply, to know you don't have easy access to fun-flavored PB. (By the way, guard that PB Loco with your LIFE; they went out of business! Sadface.) The bloggie swap WILL happen! And PB + dulce de leche is indeed pure brilliance, and couldn't be LESS icky.

    Eric—I hadn't either, but those flavors are really a great match with PB. I'm surprised nobody thought of it sooner.

  7. Ooh yum, these peanut butters sound delicious. Especially the caramel flavor! :)

  8. I would have picked caramel as a fave too :> That's so cool that they sent you samples!

  9. Jessie & Kati—Agreed! I only wish they were easier to find in stores.

  10. Any power bars you recommend ???

  11. Enrique—As far as homemade, I'd have to recommend my honey almond power bars :] But as far as commercial bars go, it's really dependent on a) your tastes, and b) your goals. In the next few weeks, I'll be posting a YOUBARS review, but I can tell you right now, I'm a fan!