Monday, March 28, 2011

To sum up: Nutella is yummy

We live in Hazelnut-ville (some ridiculously high percentage of the U.S. hazelnut production comes from my area), so hazelnuts are in all sorts of local dishes. Yet somehow I had never tasted Nutella, the famous hazelnut-cocoa spread that originated in Italy.

There were several years in my childhood I had Nutella confused with the equally "exotic"--but very different--Vegemite. Which may have been part of why I never tried it. How I mixed up yeast spread with nutty chocolate spread, I do not know. But it definitely had me confused when people would name Nutella as a guilty pleasure!

I finally got my chance to try it for myself when Nutella, via MommyParties, sponsored a recent morning playgroup for a big group of moms and kids at my house. They sent along nifty coffee mugs and loads of Nutella for us to try.

I took inspiration from one of the recipe ideas they included and made a batch of homemade English muffins, then put out bananas and strawberries alongside the Nutella. A fresh toasted muffin with a layer of nutty chocolate and slices of fresh fruit on top? YUM. They were gobbled up, especially by the kids.

Nutritionally, the calories and fat content are about the same as the peanut butter I usually put on my toast. The sugar content is much higher, of course. Hence the tastiness that led one guest to dub it "nutty frosting". I  found that a little went a long way in adding a nice touch of sweetness and a hint of cocoa when paired with whole grain bread. A bit like having hot chocolate with your breakfast, only on your toast instead of in a mug.

My son is totally hooked and likes it on whole wheat mini bagels. I'm looking forward to experimenting with it in some cookie and muffin recipes. In fact, I just discovered while writing up this post, that a bit of Nutella is excellent on a Nilla wafer. I foresee many such discoveries in my future!

Disclosure: I received samples of Nutella and coffee mugs for my family and our guests, but no other compensation, in exchange for this post.


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