Nutella is the most popular dessert spread world-wide, and it has an interesting Italian history to go along with it.
Nutella: we all know it. Ever since its origin in the 60s, it’s been a hugely successful product – a simple search of “nutella recipes” will garner you nearly 25-million results!
However, we can’t talk about how Nutella came to be without first talking about its tasty (and lesser known) predecessor: gianduja. Without the creation of gianduja, Nutella would have never existed (could you even imagine such a world?)
Gianduja has an interesting origin story, and it was serendipitously created out of ingredient limitations. It first came about in Turin, Piemonte (the chocolate capitol of Italy!) in the early 1800s, when Napoleon blocked all French allies – including Italy – from all trading of goods with the British. The restriction of British supplies included cocoa, and this limitation forced chocolatiers to get a bit creative to stretch their supply.
The chocolatiers turned to an ingredient they had in abundance: plentiful hazelnuts from the Langhe mountains, just south of Turin. The chocolate masters created a spread of roughly 70% cocoa and 30% hazelnut paste – and thus, gianduja was born! This also led to the creation of gianduitto – individually-wrapped cocoa hazelnut confections that Turin is now famous for (and we just so happen to sell them in our online shop!)
Fast forward to the 1950s, when World War II left Italy in yet another short supply of chocolate. Chocolatier Pietro Ferrero is credited for adding cocoa butter to the gianduja mixture, which gave it a velvety, creamy consistency. In 1964, the first jar of Nutella was released – and the rest is history.
Of course, Nutella isn’t the only chocolate-hazelnut spread out there. For a decadent taste straight from Piemonte, give this hazelnut & cocoa spread a try. Or, you could try your hand at making your own! For tasty dishes starring the famous chocolate-hazelnut spread, check out the recipes below.
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