One of the benefits of the Best Restaurant polls is meeting interesting chefs and discovering amazing restaurants. Through the Rocky Mountain poll I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Paul Gelose of The Palace Restaurant in Durango, Colorado. During our interview, I learned that not only is he an acclaimed chef, but he also is the owner of Ricky’s Lucky Nuts. Chef Paul graciously offered to send samples to me, and I happily accepted.
Ricky’s Lucky Nuts come in five different varieties: Original, Spicy Chile Chipolte, Bombay Curry Coconut, Black Pepper & Salt, and Cocoa & Vanilla Bean. My husband, two of my children, and I sampled all five varieties. Each of us found these nuts to be quite flavorful. Here is our assessment of the five:
- Original– This was a perfectly roasted peanut that could be used as a snack or within a recipe.
- Spicy Chile Chipolte– With a coating that has a little bit of heat, but not too much, this peanut would be the perfect accompaniment for a fruit drink or margarita.
- Bombay Curry Coconut– This way my personal favorite. The flavors of curry and coconut give a nice balance of spicy and sweet, which work well with the peanut.
- Black Pepper & Salt– This was my husband’s favorite. With half of the nuts coated in salt and the other half in black pepper, your mouth gets to experience each flavor separately, if eaten singularly, or combined, if eating a handful at once.
- Cocoa & Vanilla Bean– This was the kids’ favorite. Again, half of the peanuts had cocoa coating, and the other half had vanilla bean coating. The cocoa had a nice semi-sweet chocolate flavor, and the vanilla bean peanuts were the sweet half of the pairing.
After sampling all five varieties, I spoke with Chef Paul about Ricky’s Lucky Nuts. We spoke first about how these peanuts are processed. The peanuts are blanched and shipped to Chef Paul in 2,000 pound totes. When he receives them, they are raw, whole kernels. They are stored in walk-in refrigerators until it is time for roasting. At Ricky’s Lucky Nuts, the peanuts are roasted in small batches that contain about 250 pounds of peanuts. As for the roasting process, I didn’t learn any of the exact steps. As Chef Paul explained, “The exact roasting and glazing processes are proprietary secrets.” However, I did learn that no oil, preservatives, or artificial ingredients are used.
Noting that no artificial ingredients are used, I asked about the ingredients that are used to flavor the peanuts. For the Spicy Chile Chipolte, dried vine ripe jalapenos are used. For the Cocoa & Vanilla Bean, organic vanilla extract and vanilla bean from Madagascar and organic, fair trade cocoa from Peru are sourced. Bombay Curry Coconut is flavored with sulfite-free, organic coconut from Philippines. With ingredients such as this, it is easy to see that these peanuts really are all-natural.
Currently, these nuts are distributed in fifteen states. If you don’t happen to be fortunate enough to be located near one of these states, you can place an order online. For a tasty, all-natural snack, Ricky’s Lucky Nuts are a sure to please product.