As you know, we love learning about people and products across the culinary world. After attending the Fancy Food Show, Allen was introduced to a variety of new items, including Sante Nuts. We reached out to the brand’s founder, Sara Tidhar, to learn about the inspiration behind her company as well as a few of her favorites restaurants.
FP: I definitely enjoyed sampling various flavors of Sante Nuts at the Fancy Food Show! How did the concept come about?
ST: In 2003, I had suddenly become a single mom and realized that to make ends meet, I had to find a way to get some income. I had been making roasted nuts for my kids since they were little and my son suggested that I stop giving them away and start selling them. In the beginning, I was mostly working with local cafés in Silicon Valley, and before I knew it, it became a 24-hour-a-day endeavor. I booked an order to private-label the nuts with a major national grocery retailer in 2004, and we’ve been off and running ever since!
FP: Where can consumers find Sante Nuts? What distinguishes your brand from others?
Today, people can find them in specialty grocery stores in California, and select stores across the country. We’re also online at santenuts.com and on Amazon. I firmly believe you will not taste a finer nut on the market, and that’s because of the special roasting and spicing process. We do everything by hand, and it’s this attention to detail that you can taste: crisp texture, excellent balance of flavors – not too sweet, not too spicy. A nut in perfect harmony.
FP: Do you cook at home? If so, what are some of your favorite meals to prepare for yourself?
ST: I don’t have much time too cook at home anymore so when I do it is mostly simple things like eggs or roast chicken. Every once in a while I like to cook something special for the family like roasted leg of lamb.
FP: What meals/foods do you think goes best with nuts?
ST: I think they go well with just about anything. They are delicious when paired with wine and cheese. They add great texture and flavor to salads. I like to add them to rice dishes or use them as a gluten free crust for fish.
FP: I added sliced nuts to pancakes recently and loved the texture they added!
When you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in your area or other cities you’ve visited.
ST: When I eat out in the Bay Area I love sushi, particularly Fuki Sushi. For a luxurious treat my son and I like to go to Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino. But I also love trying new restaurants when I go to big cities for tradeshows. In Chicago this year, we discovered GT Fish & Oyster. That was fabulous. I can’t visit New York without going to Morimoto at least once. You can taste the love in the food.
FP: Kristina and I will have to get to Morimoto one of these days!
What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name.
ST: I used to love eating fried chicken with french fries and a glass of champagne. Unfortunately, I can’t eat gluten anymore so many of my guilty pleasures are off limits. However, I still indulge in ice cream whenever I can. I’m particularly smitten by the hand-crafted ice cream at Smitten in San Francisco
FP: Hard to turn down ice cream isn’t it?
When you’re not busy operating Sante Nuts, what are your hobbies/interests? What’s a day off like for you?
ST: Sleeping! That’s a hobby, right? I think that means I work too much. But when I do take a break, I like to garden. Exotic ferns are my favorite. I also love browsing Mexican supermarkets – I love the smell of the chilies and exotic spices, talking to the store owners, and learning about new produce. If I’m in a more solitary mood, I love to watch science programs on TV – anything that has to do with quantum physics and the subatomic world. The universe is a fascinating place.
FP: The world is a fascinating place indeed– there’s always more to learn! Speaking of learning, I really enjoyed getting to know you, Sara, and wish you and your family continued success with Sante Nuts!