The true beauty of New Zealand’s capital city is in the hidden gems encrusted at its fringes, in its alleyways, amongst the graffiti.
Wellington’s premiere Nut Buttery (not a title for spoonerisms) is one of those gems, found in the flourishing Eva St alley (see: neighbours such as Six Barrel Soda, Subject Studios, Wellington Chocolate Factory). A small handstitched ‘Peanut Butter’ flag invites curiosity, and rewards those that investigate with the discovery of Fix & Fogg.
After 8 years as a lawyer, Roman Jewell wanted to work with his hands. Putting his analytical mind to baking, knitting, and a plethora of other lost arts, he soon found himself experimenting with peanut butter. It stuck.
At the time, Roman and his wife, Andrea, had only recently brought their son, Otto, into the world. Employing the courage of the peanut butter’s namesakes, Phileas Fogg and Detective Fix of Around the World in 80 Days, the couple decided to go out on a limb and give the world what it was hungry for (and set an example in following one’s dreams): jars of honest-to-goodness crushed peanuts and Marlborough sea salt.
It’s been about a year since Roman and Andrea dedicated their lives to the pursuit of peanut butter, in favour of arguing legal idiosyncrasies. Thom, who managed a cinema in a past life, now works on the floor in the Nut Buttery with Roman, doubling the manpower to produce up to 250 jars per day.
From humble beginnings producing in a bowling club, and selling at local markets, the product now flies off shelves at around 70 stockists in Australasia. However, Roman’s adamant he doesn’t want any fancy automated machinery anytime in the foreseeable future.
Presently, a street-window from the Nut Buttery allows loyal fans to purchase the goods hot off the press. Roman, Andrea, Otto, Thom and friends hold routine picnic lunches in the urbanscape. All of it brings a touch of old-school community to the company.
There’s smooth, crunchy, an unanticipated mainstay in the form of the spicy ‘smoke and fire’, and the extremely recent addition of a dark chocolate member to the F&F family. Each are lovingly produced with the, “Rolls-Royce of peanuts,” which for those who aren’t in the know is Queensland, Australia’s Runner Hi-Oleic variety.
Fix & Fogg’s wares come in jars designed to enable customers to scrape every last bit out, and I can warrant on personal experience, that function is utilised.