At the beginning of 2010, At Source officially diversified into the nut-roasting industry by acquiring authentic, traditional Middle-Eastern nut roasting equipment and expertise. A Lebanese nut roaster by the name of Mr Halabi worked with us for months to transfer traditional Lebanese nut roasting skills to our staff. (His surname, by the way, means pistachio. Surnames are a modern convention, and because his family roasted pistachios in Lebanon, as opposed to making furniture – his surname may then have been Carpenter – Halabi became his family name.)

You may or may not know that 90 per cent of nuts in this country are deep fried in oil. A small percentage is dry roasted on baking trays in ovens. And then there’s our unique process. We like the way the Lebanese have traditionally roasted nuts. In times past they actually roasted nuts in heated desert sand. Then coarse salt became their popular roasting method, which is how we do it here.

This is how it works. The nut roasting equipment resembles a cement mixer. The nuts are mixed with coarse salt, which is then heated in these roasters. The nuts effectively roast in the salt, which is separated from the nuts at the end of the roasting process. This way, instead of losing their taste and becoming oily (or salty), our nuts maintain their great flavour and texture. They are crunchy and evenly roasted because they have roasted in their own oils.

The various nuts processed in the At Source roastery include almonds, macadamias, pistachios, cashews, peanuts and occasionally pecans. Depending on the need, we will add salt or coat the roasted nuts in honey or spices.

As far as we know, our process is one-of-a-kind in South Africa at this present time. Next time you eat one of our products containing dry-roasted nuts, you can be sure you’re eating something quite special.