Local Pantry: Fat Uncle Farms Will Make You Rethink Your Nutella Habit
jgarbeeCall It What You Will, We Call It Good
Fat Uncle Farms is one of those guilt-inducing farmers market stops by default, meaning that even something healthy like almonds feels like an indulgence when you are surrounded by piles of carrots. But you really do need a bag of rosemary-sea salt roasted almonds for your desk drawer, don't you? And of course, some honey-scented marzipan and freshly ground almond flour to bake a frangipane tart this weekend. Now you can add their chocolate almond butter -- yeah, essentially farmers market Nutella -- to your "essential" pantry list.
Some people swear there is something magical in Nutella. We're not sure about that, or whether it truly applies to Fat Uncle Farms' chocolate almond butter. But after the always-perky owner, Nate Siemens, a former schoolteacher who married into the almond business, tells you that he was up until 2 a.m. (harvest began this week) and woke up at 4 a.m. to drive to the market, you start to wonder if maybe there really is something in that ground nut-chocolate-sugar combination.
Fat Uncle Farms' version is more of a modern take, which his not to say it is a blatant attempt to recreate Nutella in fresh-ingredient form. Siemens says it was the customers who gave his version the Nutella halo.
The differences? Nutella is made with hazelnuts, chocolate and all kinds of ingredients we can't pronounce (and we probably really don't want to anyway, as that would invite analyzing their questionable chemical pedigree). Fat Uncle Farms' version is based on almonds, chocolate and far less sugar, with the obvious bonus that only "real" ingredients are used. It's also chunky, not smooth like Nutella. More of a coarsely ground nut butter, with chocolate and sugar thrown in for kicks.
Translation: Don't expect an all-afternoon sugar and chemical-induced high here. Whether that's a plus, we'll let you decide. But we happen to be fans of Fat Uncle Farms' old fashioned chocolate-nut butter charm -- and yes, we still love Nutella.
"I was a little wary of the Nutella comparison at first -- I wasn't sure if that was really a good thing," says Siemens. Yeah, it's a good thing.
Fat Uncle Farms is at several local markets including Santa Monica (Sunday, Wednesday), Studio City (Sunday), and Thousand Oaks (Thursday) farmers markets. Get their full market schedule here.
Get the Squid Ink'd Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly food newsletter, which features top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips and a link to our print review.