The history of Nutella
Nutella, in its original form, was first created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero company in the Piedmont region of Italy.
At the time, cocoa was in short supply because of rationing due to World War II, so chocolate was very limited. Ferrero used hazelnuts – which are plentiful in northwest Italy – to extend the chocolate supply.
This original form of Nutella was actually made in loaves and wrapped in foil. This made the popular treat easy to slice and put in sandwiches. According to the Nutella website, children would throw away the bread and only eat the slices of Nutella, which then were referred to as pasta gianduja.
Ferrero altered his product into a paste that came in a jar. The creamy chocolate hazelnut mixture could then be easily spread on bread – and garnered the thanks of many mothers in Italy. This then became known as supercrema gianduja, to reflect that it was a spreadable version of the gianduja.
The popular spread was eventually renamed "Nutella" in 1964, with the origin of the word being "nut" and the "ella" giving it a soft ending (much like its blissful texture). Nutella was first imported from Italy into the US over 20 years ago and has grown in popularity ever since.
Due to the increasing demand for Nutella, the Ferrero company, also the maker of renowned Rocher and Rondnoir chocolates, built a plant in Somerset, NJ. Since then, Nutella has been sold in the peanut butter aisles in stores across the US. Nutella is currently marketed in over 75 countries worldwide, and outsells all brands of peanut butter combined!
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Mmmmm, the many uses for Nutella
Though slathering Nutella on bread or toast is a given, the chocolate hazelnut spread can be enjoyed in many other mouthwatering ways.
- Spread on a prepared pizza crust and top with sliced fruit and ricotta cheese.
- Nestle in crepes with sautéed peaches and cream cheese or goat cheese.
- Spread on the bottom of a tart crust and fill with a vanilla custard and top with berries.
- Mix with ricotta cheese and orange marmalade and use to stuff French toast.
- Make a pannini spread with Nutella and filled with slices of cheese and green apple.
- Stir into softened ice cream and refreeze.
- Puree with cream cheese and serve as a dip for apple or pear slices or even sticks of jicama.
- Make a dessert Nutella quesadilla.
- Use as a filing for sandwich cookies.
- Spread on a tortilla and fill with a fruit salsa.
- Warm and drizzle over angel food cake.
- Use to frost dessert cakes.
- Dollop in muffin or cupcake batter before baking.
- Mix with a bit of chili powder or cayenne for a spicy spread.
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