Monday, January 30, 2012

World Nutella Day

Everyone has a favorite binge food.  Our son's is Nutella.  And I am okay with most of the ingredients.  The primary ingredients are skim milk, hazelnuts (also known as filberts) and cocoa.  Palm oil, soy lecithin and vanillin round out the list.  If it weren't for the vanillin (why not the real vanilla?), I would give it five stars.

I first tried Nutella on a missions trip to Spain many many years ago and distinctly remember wishing we had such a treat in the United States.  Since that time, it has become a regular on grocery store shelves.  We get our at Costco at a hefty discount over grocery store prices.

If you've never tried Nutella, your truly missing out on a great food pleasure with a uniquely addictive taste.  It's a guilty pleasure with a touch of healthfulness.  And now, those who love it so much can unite thanks to "World Nutella Day" slated for February 5, 2012.

The uses for this delicious treat are countless and people in its cult-like following have posted photos of their favorite concoctions using Nutella and offered hundreds of recipes.  Could there by a bad one?  The Nutella company offers no recipes other than to spread it on toast in the morning.

There's even a book, "The Unofficial Guide to Nutella:  history, stories and recipes" you can devour.

In brief, its history began in the 1940's when Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker, devised a way to extend the rationed cocoa supplies during World War II.  He used hazelnuts which were plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy.  Originally named "Supercrema gianduja", it was renamed in 1964 at "Nut" (for the hazelnut) and "ella" as a soft-sounding filler to lengthen the name.

While it has been a favorite in Europe for 40+ years, the spread first arrived in the Northeastern United States in 1983 and has expanded nationwide since then.

You can easily recreate a Nutella-type spread using a Vitamix or food processor.  There are a number of recipes.  I have not tried them myself because the shelf-life is only a couple of weeks and we just don't consume enough to justify making our own.  But if you are interested, take a look at these trusted sources here and here for recipes on making your own Nutella-type spread.

This February 5, buy a jar of Nutella and spread some joy on World Nutella Day!

Update 01/31/2012:

I was told that Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is also a very good and perhaps more nutritious option.  I haven't tried this yet but will in the future.  Has anyone else tried Justin's who can offer an opinion?

The ingredients for Justin's are:  Dry Roasted Hazelnuts, Dry Roasted Almonds, Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Natural Vanilla, Sea Salt.

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