I'm a chocoholic and this is my dirtly little secret, my delicious indulgence:
One of the best chocolate treats available in the world today is a product called Nutella. If you’ve never tasted it, then I urge you to drop whatever you are doing this instant and rush out to your local supermarket to purchase a jar. It’s that good! Oh, and while you’re at it, better buy two because one jar is never enough.
Mr. Pietro Ferrero, an Italian pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero company, invented this decadent treat. Even more incredible is the fact that he invented it in 1940’s while World War II ravaged Italy. Somehow he managed to acquire a limited supply of chocolate during food rationing. To extend his short supply, he mixed the chocolate with hazelnuts which grew in overabundant supply in the Piedmont region of Italy.
Ferrero produced the chocolate-hazelnut spread and baked it in a loaf of bread. He then wrapped the loaf in tinfoil and marketed it. He called the chocolate loaf “Pasta Gianduja” after a carnival character famous to the region. So mothers began purchasing the loaf for their children and served it to them slice by slice. Children being children, however, they discarded the bread and went straight for the chocolate.
Always one to recognize a golden opportunity, Mr. Ferrero dispensed with the bread and began to sell the chocolate paste in a jar. He renamed the product “Supercrema Gianduja”. The produce became a huge hit almost instantly. Italians discovered it to be an inexpensive way to enjoy a decadent treat. During the 1940’s and 1950’s a kilo of chocolate was 6 times the cost of one kilo of Supercrema Gianduja. It grew in popularity so fast, that Italian food stores started a service called “The Smearing”. Children could go to their local food store with a slice of bread for a free “smear” of the super cream. In the 1960’s the product was renamed to Nutella.
Its popularity has now spread to encompass the entire world. Many years ago, one could only find the product at Italian specialty stores as imports. Today, it is available in the peanut butter aisle in grocery stores across North America, and, it outsells all brands of peanut butter combined!
There are many companies who have tried to copy this chocolate hazelnut treat and I’ve even tried a few. However, they all pale in comparison to Nutella. So don’t waste your money. A jar of Nutella will cost you almost $5.00 in the store. And if you think that’s expensive – think again. It takes Ferrero three hours to produce one batch of Nutella. It is a highly refined, amazing process, making the shelf price a fair value for the quality and care it takes to make the product.
If you are able to read and understand Italian, you can visit Nutella’s home page at www.nutella.it where 1000’s of Nutella recipes are readily available. It’s a favourite bookmark of mine.
I’ve translated the Nutella Recipe of the month below for you. Enjoy!
After Sport Nutella Shake
150 grams of Nutella
300 grams whole milk
50 grams heavy cream
Place milk, whipping cream, half of the banana, and Nutella in a blender. Blend for 2 minutes. Serve in tall glasses and decorate with the remaining portion of the banana.