Nutella is a hazelnut –chocolate spread produced by an Italian company called Ferrero and it was first commercialized in 1963. It was first marketed as an Italian spread and then it became popular as an European delicacy and today it has become an Universal food product. In some countries this spread is marketed as hazelnut spread. The Italian food laws prohibit from labeling the product as chocolate cream because it does not meet the requirement of cocoa solids required in a food product. Today, this spread is available in food stores across 75 countries.
The product was manufactured in the 1940’s by the Italian entrepreneur Pietro Ferraro under the name “pasta gianduja”. Pasta means “paste” and gianduja refers to the carnival character from the region where it was first produced. He invented it to mitigate the shortage of chocolate experienced during the World War II.
This product was actually produced in loaves and covered with tinfoil, so that it can be easily sliced and placed on the bread slices. Pietro Ferraro re-invented the product in the form of spread and marketed it as “Supercrema Gianduja” because it was creamier and had more spreading consistency than the earlier version of the product. The product was earlier named as “Nutella” in 1964 indicating the basic ingredient of the product and its soft ending. In and around Piedmont, the product was offered at small prices to children who brought slices of bread to shops asking the shopkeepers to smear their breads with supercrema gianduja. The product was introduced to other parts of Europe after it became a big time commercial production. Nutella was introduced into United States in 1983 and since then it is considered as an answer to Peanut butter.
Since the last 40 years, the product is being marketed as a breakfast spread because European families have consumed it as a spread on toast or simple bread.
The product label suggests that this spread is prepared using ingredients like sugar, roasted hazelnut, vegetable oils, skimmed milk and a hint of cocoa. In addition to that, the product does not contain any artificial preservatives, colors and sugars. This hazelnut cream gains about 60% of its calories from fat and 40% from sugar. Reduced minerals (whey milk), vanillin, soy, etc are some of the ingredients used in the preparation of this spread. According to the product label, each 13 oz jar contains 50 hazelnuts. This product is considered kosher and also it is gluten-free.
The most profound use of this product is in the form of a spread. It is either served as a spread between breads or cake slices or sometimes it is smeared over crepes. This hazelnut-chocolate spread is also used as an ingredient while preparing ice cream, cupcakes, fondue, muffins, brownies, and waffles. It is commonly sold in all stores that stock peanut butter. When used in moderate amounts it can form the part of the healthy breakfast because in many European and American homes it is smeared over the whole grain breads, toaster waffles, wheat toasts, and bagels to encourage kids.
Following are some of the popular preparations involving Nutella.
- Cupcakes – They are the small confections prepared using hazelnut-chocolate spread. The smooth consistency of this spread makes it easier to blend with cake batter. Marble styled cupcakes are the most popular variations of confections made using this spread. For best effects, the spread is added into the batter to form swirling patterns and then poured into greased cup cake pans before baking the cake. Sometimes cakes are also filled with nutella. The filling process can be complicated but it is often unique. This spread can be filled into any regular cup cake using baking syringe or pastry bag.
Sometimes this spread is used as a topping for the cup cakes. The fastest and simplest method is spooning the spread over the cupcakes. Other frosting elements are added to the spread to give it a shiny and glossy appearance.
- Frosting - Nutella frosting is an important homemade frosting prepared using hazelnut-chocolate spread, chocolate or cocoa, and dairy products. This frosting is used over baked goods like cakes, cupcakes, etc. There are thousands of recipes for creating the frosting. Chocolate, chocolate chips and baking chocolate are regularly used in the preparation of frosting. The cocoa powder is avoided because it creates intense flavor which subsides the other flavors.
- Cocktails – Different types of cocktails are created using the hazelnut –chocolate spread. The spread is brushed into the cocktail glass prior to pouring the flavored liqueur. Sometimes, the spread is cooked with the liqueur and poured into the glass. The spread is also infused with the dark brewing coffee and served after topping with nutella whipped cream.
Jars containing the product is generally stored at room temperature. According to the product website, the jar should be stored in a cool, dry place to entrench maximum flavors. The product will harden on refrigeration and also loses its spreadable character. The nutella may lose its flavors when subjected to excessive heat which can cause separation of oil. The product is generally sold with the best time for usage by date and it remains edible for additional 3 to 4 weeks even after its expiry date.
The product is not considered nutritious because it contains lots of flavor enhancers like sugar, milk and peanut oil. Each serving (about 2 tbsp) of this hazelnut-chocolate spread delivers only 2 grams of protein whereas the same amount of peanut butter delivers 8 grams of protein. That is why; it is considered a weak nutritional substitute to peanut butter. It is low in sodium and cholesterol, whereas high in saturated fats. This spread gains large portion of its calories from sugars.
Every year February 5 is celebrated as World Nutella Day. This event was started in 2006.