February 5, 2010. The date is rapidly approaching! It's a Friday....a few days before Valentine's Day, and a few days after Superbowl Sunday. What is the significance of February 5, 2010? It is the 4th Annual World Nutella Day! I cannot make this stuff up! I guess I missed World Nutella Day 1,2 and 3, but I plan on celebrating #4! World Nutella Day even has its' own Facebook page with almost 1000 fans!
In case you are unaware of what Nutella is... let me give you a brief description: Nutella, the original hazelnut spread, is a combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk, and cocoa with a creamy consistency and a chocolate taste with a hint of roasted nut flavor. Nutella is to Italians what peanut butter is to Americans. Delicious and easy for a quick breakfast or after-school snack, it can be spread on bread, bagels, crackers or croissants and enjoyed with a glass of milk or used as a dip for slices of bananas, apples or strawberries. Substitute Nutella in recipes calling for peanut butter and discover a whole new taste sensation. Today, Nutella is the number one spread in Europe. In Germany, Nutella is a favorite breakfast spread and in both Italy and France it is a popular after-school snack. Worldwide, it outsells all peanut butter brands combined. Nearly three generations of Europeans have grown up eating Nutella, which was created in the 1940's by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero Company.
According to Nutella's website: "Nutella is a delicious hazelnut spread that contains quality ingredients such as skim milk and a hint of cocoa. Nutella® spread on whole wheat bread, or any multigrain product, with orange juice or skim milk is a good combination for a balanced breakfast that the entire family will enjoy. Nutella contains no artificial colors or preservatives." I love how they are marketing it as a "healthy, balanced" breakfast. OK.... At 200 calories and 11 grams of fat for 2 tablespoons, I don't think I can justify starting off my day with Nutella, but I will definitely work it in for a weekly treat!
Of course, I am perfectly happy to eat Nutella right out of the jar. It is best at room temperature, eaten with a large spoon! It is even better if you stick it in the microwave for a few seconds.
I also love to bake with it. It is excellent as a Chocolate Babka filling, swirled into pound cake or coffee cake, mixed into brownies with some peanut butter, swirled into cheesecake, and of course, stuffed into crepes! There is even a blog dedicated to cooking with Nutella. Here is a link to over one hundred recipes that use Nutella.
Purists think the best way to enjoy Nutella is to buy a freshly baked croissant first thing in the morning at a local bakery. Enjoy your croissant spread with Nutella and a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Here is a delicious pie recipe using Nutella. It is almost like a cheesecake, but not an authentic New York cheesecake. I was going to call it "Nutella Cheesecake", but for a cheesecake purist (like myself), this pie won't cut it as a "cheesecake". Whatever you call it, it is decadent and ridiculously easy to make....ENJOY!