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Roast’d: The freshest nuts in town

By Stephan Telka on July 12, 2011

Photo courtesy of Alexandre Juneau.

Post by Stephan Telka

Mathieu Juneau may just have the freshest nuts in town. The Ottawa native Juneau has been a roaster and the owner of his own gourmet nut roasting business, Roast’d, since autumn 2010, providing Ottawans with the closest thing to street-roasted nuts possible.

During a 2004 trip to New York City, Juneau was inspired by the nuts roasted and sold in the parks and on the street corners of Manhattan. “All it took was a two-dollar bag brimming with almonds and cashews that had been roasted and sugared to perfection,” and Juneau was hooked. Returning to then-home Toronto, Juneau set about experimenting with various nut and seasoning combinations, initially using his friends and family members as guinea pig taste-testers.

Feeling uninspired by a bilingual editing position back in Ottawa, in December 2009 Juneau decided to turn his casual interest into a full-time job. “It’s important to do something you find rewarding,” Juneau reflected. With a few workshops from the Ottawa Entrepreneurship Centre under his belt, and three seasoning recipes down pat (Brown Sugar; Maple Fleur de sel; and Cinnamon Hawaiian Sea Salt) Juneau leaped onto the Ottawa foodie scene. In November 2010 he added the delicious (I was lucky enough to be given a sample) Cinnamon-Cumin Fumé de sel (yup, that’s smoked salt!) to his ‘mix’ of offerings.

These are truly gourmet nuts. Juneau takes pride in sharing that his nuts are vegan (no butter or oil is used), and hand roasted in a skillet, allowing him to ensure that they are evenly cooked, and that only whole nuts make it into his bags. The absence of oil and butter also makes his nuts cholesterol- and trans-fat free (which explains why he’s able to keep his boyish figure!) He sources his almonds and pecans from California, while his cashews come from Brasil (“fairly traded, but without the official designation,” he says). His seasonings he tries to source locally where at all possible, including maple syrup, which he buys from the Proulx Sugar Bush & Berry Farm in Cumberland (that’s just beyond Orléans). While the Maple Fleur de Sel is the best selling of his mixes, Juneau’s personal favourite is the Cinnamon Hawaiian Sea Salt.

The best place to buy Juneau’s nut creations is through his Facebook page. Individual orders can be arranged for pick up in the ByWard Market. For orders over $30, he offers his own nut home delivery service in the National Capital Region. They are also available in the gift shops of three local hospitals (General, Civic and Riverside), not to mention events and meetings catered in those hospitals. He has been at a few fairs over the past few months, including Wed By Hand and Rouge, and is exploring the idea of selling his nuts on the streets of Ottawa, if the city ever relaxes its regulations (sign an online petition to this effect here).

In a nutshell, Roast’d is all about “focusing locally, and producing by hand as fresh as possible.” Insert your final nut joke here __________. Enjoy, Ottawa!

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  • Eric G

    Hey… Good article.. I’m keen to try his nuts. Smoked Salt is a wonderful thing.

    Small note… the link to his website is wrong. It’s not

  • Stephan

    Thanks, Eric, for your careful eyes. Just updated the link.

    Glad you enjoyed!

  • Will

    Haven’t tried the nuts but I’m excited to. The website definitely sold me!

  • Freega

    Why is it so easy for the writers on here to use statements like ‘the best’ and the ‘freshest’ when it’s obvious they are unaware of all the other places in town that offer similar products that are just as great and just as local. Would it be possible in the future to tone down on this form of blind praising? that would be great.

  • Katie

    Hey Freega,

    Thanks for the comment. We definately encourage readers to share what they know about the city, so if you think there are fresher nuts out there please dish!



  • Freega

    that doesn’t really address the issue. Responsible journalism involves the responsible use of words. Being liberal with the use of superlatives when promoting new places in Ottawa gives me the sense that this site doesn’t know about the other nut roasting shops in town like Ottawa Roastery and that it’s partial to newer shops while nothing else matters. Which is a huge disservice. There are so many more places in town that never get a mention on here simply because of the fact that they aren’t part of the ‘foodie scene’. I have no idea what this sites mandate is so it could totally be what you’re going for. If it is then so be it, if not then there’s some thinking to do behind the scenes around here.

    In closing, new and upcoming places do need exposure, but stop getting so giddy and excited so quickly over them (case-in-point Pizzacones, which did end up being too good to be true cause it was a better idea on paper than it was on Bronson). And save the superlatives for “best of” contests.

    the end.

  • Shannon

    I have tasted many nuts. I have tasted nuts on the streets of New York many times, I have tasted many nuts in Toronto (where I live). No nuts I’ve ever had taste as good as Mathieu’s nuts. I’ve told that to many people, and they laugh because they have dirty minds. But seriously: Once you try them, you’ll agree. I was lucky enough to get some free samples from Mathieu himself. They were amazing! I am just waiting for an opportunity to travel to Ottawa to buy more. In fact, I would say he has ruined my enjoyment of regular nuts. Now that I know how delicious and gourmet they can be, there’s no going back to anything less.
    The BEST nuts I’ve ever had!

  • Saxby

    The Pizzacone curse!

  • Jmo

    Does this place still exist? Website doesn’t work and I can find anything about anywhere else online

  • François Levesque

    Looks like there are no more nuts…from Roast’d, at least.