Spreading the love through healthy products
As a highly qualified pastry chef, who trained at one of France’s most prestigious institutes, Bertrand Richardot spent years perfecting flour and butter-laden products with generous amounts of sugar.
But, now as a father of a child diagnosed with a strong intolerance to gluten, he has spent the past couple of years perfecting another delicacy – nut spreads.
“It was a new world to discover alternative foods,” Mr Richardot said.
“I had to move away from pastry in order to accommodate our lifestyle and spreads was something I could do from home.”
The idea to focus on creating stoneground nut spreads – free from gluten, sugar, palm oil and hidden nasties – also came about after Mr Richardot struggled to find nut products with the same authentic taste as the products back home in France.
Stoneground nut spreads are produced using a traditional apparatus called a millstone, and this technique allows for the natural fat of the nuts to be slowly released.
Deciding to be the one to put stoneground spreads on the market, Mr Richardot created the business Holy Nuts, which has had a home base at Queen Victoria Market since late last year.
“Everything in the stall is free from gluten and dairy, and most products are vegan too,” he said.
I only use 100 per cent Australian nuts for the spreads and I try to avoid using refined sugar. I also try to be the most sustainable I can.
This focus on doing things more sustainably means all Holy Nuts packaging is plastic free, and effort is made to ensure ingredients are certified organic or grown organically and having a low carbon footprint is important.
As the business has grown, both in-person and online, Mr Richardot’s passion for continuing to be a brand that promotes and “create[s] healthy habits not restrictions” has too.
And that’s why creating the products is a long process.
It takes 24 hours to create a regular nut five-kilogram batch and 70 hours for the pistachio spread, but this is a must for Mr Richardot whose priority is for the end product to be one that has kept all its nutrients and for the flavour to remain intact.
The results continue to speak for themselves.
“The most popular spreads we sell are pistachio butter, which is hard to source in Australia, and our lemon myrtle macadamia product as it is very flexible and you can use it in cocktails, drizzle on salads, or have on bread or toast,” he said.
“People always think spreads are for toast, but at the markets I can explain to people why the products are the way they are and what they can do with them.”
Having these one-on-one conversations with customers is what Mr Richardot has loved most about being at Queen Victoria Market, and with other stall holders surrounding him, he said it was great that his small family business could also be a part of a larger market family.
To look at the range of products available, from the Hazelnut Praline Spread to the Hazelnut Carob Cinnamon Spread, Blanched Almond Butter, Vanilla Macadamia Spread, Activated Pecan Butter, or even Dukkah Spice Mix, visit Holy Nuts on Thursday and Friday at QVM, from 9am to 3pm. •