Nutella® is the brand name of a hazelnut flavored sweet spread registered by the Italian company Ferrero at the end of 1963. The recipe was developed from an earlier Ferrero spread released in 1949 created by Mr. Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero company. The original recipe, Gianduja, was a mixture containing approximately 50% almond and/or hazelnut paste and 50% chocolate.
At the time, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing so Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy (northwest), to extend the chocolate supply. Taxes on cocoa beans also hindered the diffusion of conventional chocolate.
Pietro Ferrero owned a patisserie in Alba, in the Langhe district of Piedmont, an area known for the production of hazelnuts. He sold his first batch of 300 kilograms (660 lb) of “Pasta Gianduja” in 1946. This was originally a solid block, but by 1951 Pietro started to sell a creamy version as “Supercrema”.
This original form of Nutella® was actually made in loaves and wrapped in tinfoil so it could be sliced and placed on bread for mothers to make sandwiches for their children. But many children, as you could imagine, would throw away the bread and only eat the Gianduja!
In 1963, Pietro’s son Michele revamped Supercrema with the intention of marketing it across Europe. Its composition was modified and it was re-named “Nutella®”. The first jar of Nutella® left the Ferrero factory in Alba on 20 April 1964. The product was an instant success and remains widely popular. The estimated Italian production of Nutella® averages 179,000 tons per year.
Nutella® has become the most popular chocolate hazelnut spread in Europe and is sold in over 75 countries. In Italy, Nutella® is eaten often at breakfast as standard fare. Today, you can usually find it in American grocery stores right next to the peanut butter.
The original creamy chocolaty hazelnut spread, made with over 50 hazelnuts per jar, contains no artificial colors and no artificial preservatives. Nutella® is spread-ably delicious on whole wheat, multi-grain and bakery breads, bagels, English muffins, waffles and even an aroused body part for those so decadent.
The Nutella® Web site makes the case that getting kids to eat something for breakfast is better than having them skip that meal, and that Nutella can make whole-grain toast more appealing to kids. The site suggests pairing Nutella-spread toast (or whole-grain waffle) with strawberries and skim milk for a “balanced” breakfast. Their make-a-breakfast application shows how different combinations of foods stack up, nutrition-wise, and how they can fit into your daily requirements.
Nutella’s Nutrition Facts panel makes clear that the product contains fat — a 2-tablespoon serving has 200 calories, half of them from fat. (None of its fat is partially hydrogenated or of the “trans” variety.) All a person has to do is to look on the back of the jar to learn that much, and to see that Nutella® contains a significant amount of sugar, too — 21 grams per serving.
Having gotten hooked on the creamy confection when I lived in Italy, it was clear that it wasn’t a ‘health’ food (despite containing hazelnuts, cocoa and skim milk). Most sane adults would agree that Nutella® is a delicious and occasional indulgence that should be consumed in moderation. Eating too much Nutella® will surely put on the pounds if you don’t exercise and eat a balanced meal. Though there are always a few who blame the product advertising for their own lack of personal responsibility.
When used in moderation with complementary foods, Nutella® can indeed form a part of a balanced meal. Besides its amazing hazelnut taste, Nutella® does not contain any hydrogenated oil or trans fat. In fact, just 1 tablespoon is a good amount to serve. My kids have often started their day with this authentic Italian breakfast by spreading Nutella® hazelnut on a variety of bakery goods, usually whole wheat or multi-grain bread. I also have them add a glass of 1% milk and juice or fruit to get the right fuel to start their school day!
Nutella® was first imported from Italy into the U.S over 20 years ago, in 1983, mainly in the Northeastern part of the country. The popularity of Nutella grew steadily over the next 10 years, and demand became so strong that the Ferrero company decided to build a plant in the U.S., in Somerset, NJ.
Since then, Nutella® has been sold in the peanut butter aisles in grocery stores, warehouse clubs and mass merchandisers all across the United States. Nutella® is marketed across the globe and outsells all brands of peanut butter combined worldwide!
If you have never bought Nutella®, you must! There are a few imitation products on the market, but after tasting many, Nutella’s unique recipe is the best by far. Nutella® has also been used to great success as a baking ingredient.
Try this Nutella® Bread recipe we made if you’re in the mood for a delightfully moist dessert:
Nutella® Bread Recipe
For more information and quick breakfast ideas that include Nutella®, visit the official site: http://www.nutellausa.com/
Mangia Bene! – SBB