Most of you know that peanut butter is a rare commodity here in Brazil. There is a local brand but it’s nothing like what you can get in the US – be it Jif or Skippy or some natural brand. (By natural I mean just roasted peanuts and oil.) Lucky for me one of the shops at the Mercado Público carries Skippy. I usually got Jif; specifically “Simply Jif” which was somewhere between regular Jif and natural. I generally avoided the natural stuff in the US since they tended to be not cream enough for my tastes and my guts. Plus the oil always separated out.
Since I was in the area of the PM and out of peanut butter I went by Banco de Holandês (or Banco 38 as it’s also called) to see if they had any Skippy. I picked up some Turkish figs (I’ve become addicted to figs since moving here) and also some peach chutney they’d evilly put near the cash register. I scanned for Skippy but didn’t see any. Bummer, since they hadn’t had any the last time I was there either. Still, I figured I’d ask. (“Tem manteiga de amendoim?”)
“Sim, tem ‘amendoíssimo’,” she replied. “Amendoim”, in case you hadn’t sorted it out, means peanut. The suffix “-íssimo” is a bit like how we use “uber” in the US. It’s used for something for which “most”/”-est”/”o mais” is not enough.
She handed me the jar of it and it was indeed called “Amendoíssimo” with the sub-label, “pasta integral de amendoim”. I asked how much it cost. “R$6.90.”
I thought I’d misheard. It was bigger than a jar of Skippy, which cost R$19.99. “Only 6?”
She affirmed (well, corrected me by adding on the 90 centavos, but I’m not going to quibble over change at this point). It was Brazilian, which explained the lower price, but I checked and integral (“whole”) did indeed mean it had no sugar, salt, etc added. This confused me again though. Brazilians want their food either sweet or salty and this had neither. My universe tilted a little.
I fought through my daze and said I’d buy it. Hell, if it sucked I was only out seven reais.
Got home, put stuff away and popped open the tub of natural peanut butter. I was cautiously optimistic. Maybe it would be too coarse, maybe it would taste crappy, maybe it would be a hard mass of ground peanuts floating in a pool of oil (like so many terrible natural peanut butters I’d bought in the US).
No, no and no. It was creamy – creamíssimo even. It tasted awesome, and it was well-blended.
Who would have guessed I’d find my favorite peanut butter ever in Brazil?
Addendum: The website for the maker of this yumminess is http://www.santahelena.com