The Unites States produces over 80% of the world's almonds and nearly all of those almonds are grown in California. And in California, there are over 30 different varieties of almonds grown in Californian orchards. That's right, over 30! Each variety has it's own unique combination of shape, sizes, color, crunch, and flavor.
Almond flavors vary. Nonpareils tend to be sweeter than all other varieties but have a mild "almond" flavor. Butte and Padre almonds are a darker shade, tend to be crunchier, and taste earthy with some bitterness. Butte Padres, as they're called since they are usually batched together, are also often used by chocolate bar makers because they're smaller in size and their flavor pairs well with chocolate. Almonds are like coffee beans, apples, or even cheeses in that there are a lot of different varieties and there's really no one type that officially tastes better than the rest. It really comes down to personal preference. We hope you get to try them all and find your favorite!
At True California, we search far and wide across the entire Golden State to find a harvest that offers a high quality almond embodying all the unique characteristics of its variety. It starts with the sorting out the smaller sizes and finding the right grade. Then comes the taste test. For Nonpareil almonds, we look for the sweetest tasting batch that holds a strong crunch. For Aldrich, we look for the fuller "almond" flavor that ends with an aromatic hint of marzipan or amaretto.
Take a look at these three infographics below to learn more about the more common almond varieties found in California. They explain a little more about their shapes, their colors, and typical sizes. Sizes are based on how many almond kernels can be counted in an ounce. The larger the almond, the fewer the count per ounce.
And of course, please Contact Us if you'd like to learn more.