“ Manufacturer: Duerr's / Food Type: Spread „
As a vegetarian globe trotter, I eat my fair share of peanut butter. Or, to quote Joey from Friends, I eat a lot of people's fair share of peanut butter. I've not yet found a country where it is unavailable, and it's always a good breakfast option when other decent choices, like yogurt or cheese, are in short supply.
Even though it's clearly a false economy, I love and have always loved little mini pots of jams and honeys and so on, especially when it gives you a chance to try unusual flavours. I don't buy them often, but for as long as I can remember Morrisons have sold them individually for not very much at all. Once, for reasons I'm not quite sure since we always had virtually identical big jars of the stuff in the house, I bought a mini peanut butter. A Duerrs peanut butter, to be precise. It was quite simply the most heavenly thing I'd ever tasted, and I wanted more at once, but it disappeared by my next shop, and I never found it again, in any size.
Then I moved to Africa and discovered supermarkets stocking UK-manufactured goods that are bizarrely hard to find at home. I ate my way through their different American and British peanut butters, from JIF to Peter Pan to Sunpat, and then, one day, I popped into St Marys and saw a new shipment had arrived. They were not only selling jars of Duerrs smooth peanut butter, but proper sized ones at that.
Time is a funny thing, especially in the way it affects memories. It must be approaching 20 years since I had that little jar, but I've never forgotten the name or the taste. In my mind it was still the most wonderfully perfect peanut butter ever, and so I had to buy it now it was back in my life.
I eat peanut butter on its own, by which I mean without butter as well, and not straight from the jar (though, um, I do that too). This way I find I can taste the full flavour and enjoy the texture without is being diluted, or buttered down. This peanut butter is not quite as smooth and whipped and some other brands. I don't mean that in a bad way, just that it has a thicker texture than some. That doesn't mean it's hard to spread, though. I don't keep peanut butter in the fridge, but kept in a dark cupboard (out of direct African sunlight) this was easy to slap on my bread or crackers, and though sticky you could still easily scoop up just a small amount rather than a huge ol' dollop.
It definitely tastes nicely peanutty too, probably because it has fewer ingredients than most. Duerrs make their peanut butter to the traditional recipe everyone used to use: I memorised it years ago as in the absence of a book, I will read the printing on jars and cartons at the breakfast table. Back then, all the own brands used to use:
Brown cane sugar
If you read the packaging, while Sunpat still uses this recipe, most general supermarket own brands no longer do. Plus, there are so many new types of peanut butter out there too, from low fat or low sugar to those with Omega 3 or with chocolate spread or honey or jam mixed in. These inevitably include slightly less natural sounding ingredients or ingredients that you simply wouldn't predict, like dried glucose syrup, mollassess, mono and diglycerides, soya protein, dextrose, hydrogenated vegetable fat and maltodextrin.
Comparing like with like, i.e. simple generic smooth peanut butters, there are subtle differences.
Nutritionally, Duerrs smooth peanut butter is 93% roasted peanuts. It has 596 calories per 100g and 23.3g protein, 6.5g sugars and 50.3g fat.
Tesco's own is 95% roasted peanuts, 615 calories, 27.8g protein, 5.3g sugar and 50.5g fat
Sunpat is also 95% peanut, but with 581 calories, 24g protein, 2.1g sugar, 49.4g fat
Asda's and Sainsbury's own are IDENTICAL, at 87% peanut, 604 calories, 24.1g protein, 6g sugar and 49.4g fat, and made with peanut oil, dextrose and hydrogenated vegetable fat.
What is interesting is that this makes it higher in sugar and lower in protein than any other brand, but in the middle in terms of percentage peanuts, calories and fat. It does have a slightly milder and creamier taste than Sunpat but tastes, in my mind, more peanutty and natural than supermarket own brands. I don't think it tastes sweeter than others I've tried, despite its fractionally higher sugar content. The main thing I found with Duerrs is that it tastes so fresh, as if someone has just been out there, roasting and mashing the peanuts. Clearly that wasn't the case, and it had probably been sitting in a warehouse and then on a cargo ship for a considerable length of time, but you'd never have known from the taste. In Sierra Leone they love groundnut (i.e peanut) soup and use a special paste for it which is sort of like all natural peanut butter (the nuts and the oil, without the sugar and salt) and I think the reason the jars of Duerrs flew off the shelves was because they emulated this taste more than the other brands places were peddling.
I'm not sure this jar tasted as good as I remember, but I enjoyed it a lot and is was definitely a nice change from the American brands (which are more 'creamy' than 'smooth'). It can be hard to find in the UK (unlike Duerrs jams which seem to be quite mainstream) but it crops up in cheap places like B&M Bargains from time to time, and I would buy it again, if only for the nostalgia factor. Price wise it is also on a par with supermarkets' own which is unusual for a branded product.
As an after note, I should also mention I really liked the jar it came in. It doesn't have a tapered lid like some peanut butters, and is made of glass, not plastic. It's a pretty traditional jam jar shape, as shown in the photo above. I peeled off the label, washed it out and reused it as a pen pot, and very nice it was too.
Nutritional info taken from MySupermarket.Com and the Duerrs Website