I know a lot of people love macadamia nuts, but I don’t quite understand their passion. They’re crunchy and nut-like, yes, but on their own, I find them bland. Their most remarkable trait is their lack of a strong, distinctive flavour.
On the surface, that sounds like a complaint, but it isn’t necessarily so. The magic of macadamia nuts is that they play nice with loads of other flavours, adding a little something without stealing the spotlight.
And so, Mauna Loa’s tinned macadamia nuts are as much about the added flavouring as they are about the nuts themselves. Each variety is a little different, highlighting the varied elements of the nut’s flavour. I’ve sampled quite a few – wasabi and teriyaki, Maui onion and garlic, honey roasted, butter candy glazed – and I think I’ve found a favourite: Kona coffee glazed macadamias.
There’s coffee in there, and it’s pretty bitter. An almost burnt caramel roasty flavour dominates. The glaze of candy coating is sweet, with a powdered shine and crunchy texture. If you don’t like coffee, the butter candy glaze is similar, minus the coffee and bitterness.
The only real problem with these? It’s hard to eat only a few. When you consider the calories involved (see below) and the size of each nut, it’s easy to overdo it, turning a snack into a small meal’s worth of belly-expanding goodness. So be careful.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $3.99 per 155-gram (5.5 oz.) tin at the Mauna Loa factory, south of Hilo, Hawaii. About the same, or a buck more, elsewhere.
Value for cash money: Not cheap, but not bad.
Availability: All over Hawaii, and likely much farther afield. The Kona coffee nuts aren’t the most widely available flavour, but most local convenience stores (like the ubiquitous ABC Store chain) carry them.
Nutrition?: 180 calories per 28-gram serving. There are roughly 6 servings per tin, so if you scarf down the whole thing, one handful at a time, throughout the day, you’ll have eaten 1,080 calories. (And trust me, that’s not hard to do.) A bit of protein, a bit of fibre, and plenty of fat.
The verdict: Yum! (Or, as they say in these parts, “Ono!”) Macadamia nuts bathed in coffee sweetness.