This week my post is all about Nutella because they’ve got a new product out in the US, Nutella &Go, and they are also introducing a larger sized jar of Nutella into Costco stores. I’ve had a love of Nutella for years and years and years. I think my cousin, who lived in Germany and discovered the magic of chocolate and hazelnut, clued me in to the loveliness that is Nutella. But it was hard to get back then and my adoration was often sporadic at best. But now, armed with my handy Costco membership, I shall never go Nutella-less again!
For those of you that are like, “what’s Nutella”, I will try to explain but really it is something you need to taste to fully appreciate. Nutella is a hazelnut chocolate spread. The spread is made from hazelnuts and skim milk with a bit of cocoa, as well as palm oil to give it the sheen and spreadability. Is it healthy? No, I don’t think anyone would say that. But it is good. Very, very good. Even though it looks like a melted chocolate bar in a jar, Nutella is actually a lot more hazelnut than chocolate. In Italy, they can’t even market it as a chocolate spread because it doesn’t contain enough cocoa solids to make the cut as being chocolate. It’s really far more about the hazelnuts than about the chocolate, so you do need to like hazelnuts to enjoy Nutella because it big on hazelnut flavour.
This is a big year for Nutella because it marks their 50th anniversary of the first official production of Nutella in 1964. Mr. Ferrero, an Italian bakery owner, actually came up with the Nutella spread (called something else initially) during the 19040s and used the hazelnuts as a way to make the meagre chocolate supply go further; this was during the period of World War II rationing. Then in 1963 his son, Michele, revamped the original formula to make it into the Nutella that we all know and love today. Their first jars of Nutella rolled off their Italian production line on April 20, 1964. And the rest, as they say, is history….tasty, tasty history. And how loved is Nutella? Well, to honor their 50th anniversary the Italian postal service issued a special Nutella stamp in May 2014. And, there’s even a world Nutella Day on February 5!
As I mentioned, I’ve been getting my Nutella fix at Costco for years now. In the US, Costco has a two pack of 750 gram/26.5 ounce jars. Which may seem like a lot of it, but there are so many delicious ways to use it that you won’t have a problem getting through your Nutella stash in the year or so that it will last in the jars (according to the best before dates on the lid). Of course, now, Nutella has set you a new challenge by making their two pack a bit bigger. The new jars are 33.5 ounces/950 grams each, and that’s a whole lotta Nutella. But I have faith in you, Nutella lovers, you can do it. The new sized twin pack of Nutella will be available in all Costco locations in the US by October 1, 2014 and will cost $11.99. Also, the heavy glass jars have been replaced in favour of plastic, which makes them much lighter and obviously unlikely to break now.
If you are wondering how you can use all of your Nutella spread, I have a few suggestions. The most obvious is on toast, of any variety – bagel, white, wheat, multi-grain, or croissants or brioche for a really rich treat. I also like it as a filling for crepes, or as a topping for pancakes and waffles. You can heat it a bit and use it as a sauce for ice cream, which is so so good. If you wanted to be really clever, you could melt your vanilla ice cream a bit and then stir through a ribbon of melty Nutella before popping it back in the freezer to make your own scrumptious ice cream flavour. I’ve also used Nutella as a frosting for cupcakes and in between layers of a cake. If you use it for the a spread between cake layers, you do have to be a bit generous with the amount you use for spreading so that you don’t rip the surface of your cake. You can also use some Nutella as a dipping sauce for fruit, sort of like a chocolate fondue. The Nutella works well with strawberries, pears, and apples, I think. And I won’t tell a soul if you just want to have a big spoonful of Nutella.
The really big news though is that there’s a totally new Nutella product on the shelves of Costco. Now you can get Nutella &Go at Costco too (since August, I believe). As you might guess from the name, this is a portable version of Nutella that is perfect for taking with you for lunch or on a picnic or anywhere you need a little bit of Nutellaness without the big jar. The Nutella &Go is made up of a portion of Nutella and some breadsticks to dip in your Nutella. The package is cute and looks like half a Nutella jar with the interior split in half to keep your Nutella safe while it travels. Lest you think that half of the container is filled with Nutella that you will never be able to get to, don’t worry, the Nutella side is shorter and for the most part easily scooped up with the little breadsticks. Sometimes I get a bit on my fingers trying to scrape out the last little bits of Nutella, but it’s not a big deal. At Costco you get a box of 12, 1.8 ounce individual packages of Nutella &Go for $11.99 or right at $1.00 per individual package. For a little lunchtime treat or afternoon snack, that’s not too bad, and I’m guessing that is a better price than you’ll find them for anywhere else. For right now the Nutella &Go is just being sold in Costco’s US locations, however, later this year they will hit the shelves in Canada’s Costco stores too. For those of us in the UK and Mexico, we’ll have to wait until early 2015 for Nutella &Go to become available in our Costco stores.
I love Nutella so much that I’m having a piece of toast with some of it right now as I write this post because all of this Nutella talk was too much for me. Seriously, I’m not going to say I’m obsessed but I do enjoy the hazelnutty-chocolaty goodness that is Nutella. I can remember feeling elated to find it on the breakfast buffet on our first trip to Sweden and Norway because it wasn’t the staple in my pantry that it is now. They had the cute little individual Nutella packages that I totally wish I could buy at Costco too. And yes, I will admit that every time we go camping in another country, we pick up a little jar of Nutella so that we can have something quick and delicious for breakfast or as dessert. Okay, it does sound like I’m a little nutty for Nutella, huh? Ferrero also makes one of my favourite candy items, the wonderful Ferrero Rocher. I just love the combination of hazelnut and chocolate, I guess.
If you’ve read about the recent issues with the hazelnut crop in Turkey where there was a lot of loss due to frost, don’t worry, this will not cause an issue for those of us that love Ferrero Rocher and Nutella. Ferrero acquire their hazelnuts from many sources, including Italy and the US, and they have made adjustments so that they can deal with the differences in yields. Phew! Ferrero uses about 25% of the global hazelnut supply, so I was really concerned when I read about the crop issues in Turkey. I was worried that I’d need to start hoarding my Nutella supply. But we can all keep spreading the Nutella as usual.
I’ve written about Nutella a lot on my blog (here, here, and here for instance) and think that you will all understand that my love for Nutella is real, even though I did receive the Nutella &Go and the new bigger sized Nutella jars from Ferrero. Even though I did receive these for free, my opinions are my own and genuinely reflect how I feel.