Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Italians' Gift to the World

Pasta? Pizza? The Olive Garden?



You know those truffles wrapped in gold foil, the special ones that are sold in triangular pyramid packages at wholesale stores? If we examine the structure of this truffle from the inside-outward, it's a roasted hazelnut, surrounded by hazelnut cream that is encased in a wafer shell that is covered in chocolate and rolled in chopped hazelnuts and walnuts. I had one at a wedding once. They're pretty much divine.

Ferrero Rocher, yes. Made by the Italian company Ferrero. The company that also makes Nutella! Just in case you needed a prelude to the awesome.

Nutella actually tastes, and has the same consistency as, the hazelnut cream in the Ferrero Rocher truffles. But you're allowed to eat it for breakfast! It's a hazelnut spread with cocoa in it, that's conceptually similar to peanut butter.

But you probably already know all about Nutella. I'd seen the commercials and heard murmerings via word of mouth about the awesome of Nutella, but the thought of a chocolate hazelnut spread you could eat for breakfast was just too good to be true. Actually, Nutella is mostly too good to be true. Half the calories in a serving come from fat, and the other half come from sugar. This and the fact that it's not exactly an economical food choice kept me from discovering the awesome of Nutella for myself for quite some time. Enter Mom-Emily. Who eats Nutella on strawberries and Maria Goya cookies, and kindly evangelized the combination on our trip to New Hampshire this past summer. And my Nutella infatuation began!

It's mostly best with fruit or on toast (graham crackers, wafers, et cetera), especially with a little swirl of peanut butter, but I've also discovered recipes for Nutella brownies and cookies. It's awesome in wantons and croissants and crepes, and I'm still discovering the extent of Nutella's utility, in addition to its raw genius.

February 5th is World Nutella Day. Be there or be square.

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