If you ever find yourself entertaining the kind of visitors who say things like “America doesn’t have great food like Europe,” just smile and shove a handful of these into their mouths.
Big, fat, perfectly roasted Virginia peanuts. I’ll go out on a limb and say they’re my favorite nut ever. I'm not usually so black and white in what I love, but these peanuts inspire passion. The flavor is unmatched for two reasons.
One, the folks who make them at Virginia Diner in Wakefield, VA, start with great peanuts: super large extra whole Virginia peanuts, the top 2% of the crop. They’re different than America’s most common nut, the runner, which is smaller, rounder, shaped more like a pea than the long, lozenge-shaped Virginia nut. (Planters uses runners, as does Snickers and most peanut butter manufacturers.) Their size and density contribute to the terrific crunch.
And two, they fry them. The diner originally made them in small batches in their french fryers right on the kitchen line. They still fry today. But you won’t be able to see any evidence of frying in your nut. The shelled peanuts look clean and blond in the tin. What’s the difference between a fried peanut and a roasted peanut? To me, the main difference is texture. To some extent you can think of the difference between potatoes French fried and roasted. French fries are crispier, with a textural pop. Fried peanuts have that same crispy, satisfying crunch. And unlike French fries, fried peanuts keep their texture in the tin.
When you’re in Ann Arbor stop by our Roadhouse and try the Doughnut Sundae—it's got loads of these great peanuts.
"I have been meaning to tell you how awesome the Zingerman's peanuts are. How awesome can a peanut be? That’s what I thought. But, as described on the can, these are the best, biggest peanuts prepared in the best way. They are so freaking good."
Linda W., Ann Arbor, Michigan
"The Virginia peanuts have spoiled me for any other roasted peanuts. Their description in the catalogue was spot on. I have not been able to limit myself to just a handful each time, more like several handfuls. The can is almost empty. It has been only 4 days since I opened it."
Anne, Baton Rouge, Louisiana