#80: Try nutella

When I was in 7th grade, I had a friend whose family hosted a foreign exchange student. Over the course of the school year, my friend shared stories about different ways the visitor lived – tales about various behaviors the young traveler engaged in that were completely normal to him, yet so strange to us. Things like showering once a week instead of once a day. Dining with the fork in the left hand instead of the right. Eating nutella for breakfast.

I had no notion of what “nutella” was; and when I saw the student slather a mess of brown goop on a piece of white bread and take a big bite, my stomach turned a little bit. It didn’t look good at all. I had no interest in trying this foreign substance – which was fine by the student! He was perfectly happy to have the whole jar to himself.

Fast forward more than twenty years. I’m sitting at my in-laws kitchen table, and I see my sister-in-law make a nutella sandwich. My mind flashes back to the home of my junior high school friend, and for a split second I am transported back to my adolescence. In my mind’s eye, I see that exchange student happily munching away on his nutella… and my curious adult mind asks, “I wonder what that tastes like?”

I decided to find out.

Back in November the Sunday paper had a section of coupon inserts that contained a $1-off offer for a jar of nutella. I have never seen a coupon for this item before (or since); I took this as my invitation to complete item #80. At my next regularly scheduled grocery store run, I located the smallest jar of nutella that I could find (13 oz), and set it in my shopping cart.

Let the games begin.

For my first foray into nutella-land, I decided to eat a scoop of it right from the jar. Taste it completely pure – no additional textures or flavors getting in the way. I wanted to eat a bit of it straight-on, to clearly see what I was dealing with.

Nutella makes its debut in our home.

The unblemished jar.

My very first experience with nutella.

Holy buckets. Nutella is TASTY.

It reminded me of a perfectly smooth milk-chocolate-hazelnut fudge that had been sitting in a warm car for a few minutes – not long enough to turn the chocolate into goo, but long enough that it was pretty darn soft and pliable. I was reminded of summer trips to the amusement park or the fair, where, at the end of the day, feeling hot and exhausted and really, really happy, I would stop by the gift store just before the exit gate and purchase a block of cloyingly sweet, gritty, delicious fudge – which I would squish against the roof of my mouth and delight in the texture of the sugar granules, and the palpable rush of sucrose into my blood stream. Talk about kid heaven.

The nutella didn’t have the grit that fudge possesses, but it certainly had the cloyingly sweet attribute; and a spoonful of it was more than enough for the adult me in one sitting.

Still, as I consumed that first spoonful of nutty-chocolatey goodness, the left side of my brain said, “You know, I can think of *many* different ways I could eat this product. In fact, I bet I could eat the whole jar of nutella without ever using it in the same way twice.” The right side of my brain instantly perked up when it heard this ‘challenge’, and decided to run with it.

So, here is the visual journal of how I went about consuming 13 oz of nutella, one experimental dish at a time.

After eating nutella in its purest form (i.e., straight from the jar), I decided to ease into combining it with other ingredients – and therefore began the “nutella challenge” by using a big blob of it to make the creamiest cup of hot cocoa I have ever consumed.

Seriously creamy.

I then decided to give a nod to the exchange student from my youth, and add a layer of nutella to an authentic French crepe. The very flat dessert tasted like a slightly moister version of a chocolate crème wafer cookie. The crepe/nutella combination wasn’t very special, and isn’t anything I would seek out again.

The chocolate crepe was just 'meh'.

After trying nutella “French style”, I decided to move a little to the north and eat the spread on a Belgian waffle. This produced a chewier version of the crepe dessert – so the texture was different, but the overall taste was rather similar. Again, it was fine, but nothing to re-create.

Improved texture, but still bland flavor.

From here, I decided to go for a sweeter base, and ate the nutella first on a small sponge cake cup, then on some crispy lady fingers. Of these two varieties, I preferred the nutella-and-sponge-cake combo – but neither one was really outstanding.

I think the sponge cake cup needs something more in its cup.

One ladyfinger pre-chocolate; one ladyfinger post-chocolate.

At this point I decided to shift gears and try nutella with some smoother companions. First up: vanilla pudding.

This resembled a very mild Boston cream pie.

Then raspberry sorbet.

This dessert wasn't radioactive - it only appears that way.

Then a softened frozen banana.

The world's easiest banana ice cream.

Of these three combinations, I liked the frozen banana/nutella pairing the best. (The raspberries overpowered the chocolate flavor, whereas the essence of the vanilla pudding got lost in the hazelnut spread.)

If nutella is good on a banana, it probably tastes good with other fruit… so I tried some nutella-stuffed strawberries. They were quite delicious, and my favorite nutella experience thus far.

Fancy-dancy. I could serve these at a party.

As winter rolled on, I found myself wanting warmer foods – so I decided to do a (microwave) nutella s’more. While this confection lacked the smoky-char flavoring only a freshly roasted marshmallow can impart, the indoor version of this popular camping treat was still quite good – and a lot easier to make. (I.e., no bonfire required.)

Step 1: Assemble each side.

Step 2: Microwave (briefly!), then assemble and enjoy.

A while later I saw some animal crackers in the pantry sitting next to the jar of nutella – and in my crazy imagination I immediately saw the animals march single file into the chocolate tub, Noah’s ark style.

The ants go marching one by one.... oh, wait.

The big one is their leader.

At this point, I had consumed around half of the jar of the sweet spread – and was (am) starting to experience “nutella fatigue”. While I can think of still more new ways to consume nutella (on biscotti, with melted peanut butter/marshmallows/crisped rice cereal, on a croissant, with raisins, on ice cream, as part of a nutella-banana Panini, in the middle of French toast, stirred into hot oatmeal, blended with ricotta…), I made the executive decision to end the “great nutella experiment” while I was still ahead (i.e., before I developed an aversion to the stuff). I think I definitely fulfilled the spirit of item #80 – so I’m calling this task Done.

If anyone wants half a jar of nutella, just let me know – I’m happy to share. 🙂

Stef

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About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
This entry was posted in 101 in 1001, day zero project, postaday and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to #80: Try nutella

  1. Colline says:

    Nutella is also good as the icing to sandwich between two layers of cake when baking. And, of ourse, in the traditional way – placed between two slices of bread 🙂

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  2. rutheh says:

    I think you did that Nutella experiment proud. BUT enough is enough it seems.
    I would eat it if you served it to me at your home but I do not seek it out, ever.
    Good series of possibilities, though. Loved the animal cracker march photo.

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    • Stef says:

      I’m satisfied with the various approaches I took to the 13 ounces of Nutella – I gave consuming it all a solid try. But as you say, enough is enough. Definitely.

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  3. Having been born and raised in France, I grew up on Nutella and I’m not ashamed to say it’s my #1 favorite food! Yes, it’s so good, it has to be part of a food group (I believe the chocolate one). My favorite way to eat it is by the spoon, but then it’s also great on toasted bread, waffle, crepe (delicious! you just didn’t use enough), bananas, almost anything.

    And I can’t believe you didn’t finish the jar. We buy only the large jars here and we go through them way too fast. My kids like it too and prefer it over peanut butter. I never had peanut butter as a kid and whenever someone tries to convince me it tastes better than Nutella, I can’t help myself chuckle… The fools! 😉

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    • Stef says:

      I definitely think Nutella has a stronger following in Europe than in the US; all of the exchange students I ever met ADORED the spread. Similarly, I think peanut butter is more popular here than there. Of course, Reese’s married the two – and I’m totally down with peanut butter cups! 🙂

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      • Ah, but Nutella uses hazelnuts, which have a more delicate flavor than peanuts (in my humble opinion). And yes, Europeans consume as much Nutella as Americans consume peanut butter!

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      • Stef says:

        Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that Reese’s was a Nutella/peanut butter compromise; but more of a chocolate/PB pairing. But in thinking more about it, perhaps Nutella is the European version of Reese’s…? I did like the hazelnut flavoring of the Nutella; more subtle than peanuts. But I prefer dark chocolate to milk… now, if they made a dark chocolate Nutella, *then* I might be a convert! 😉

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  4. Nutella is one of my absolute favorite things. 🙂 I love it on toast, graham crackers, bread, and the list goes on and on. A few months ago I got my hands on a recipe for Nutella cheesecake bars. Oh my, now that was heaven. 🙂

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    • Stef says:

      I did see many recipes for using Nutella as an ingredient in a variety of confections; perhaps that should be the way I use the remaining half jar. I bet those cheesecake bars were fantastic.

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  5. Carla says:

    Nutella! I’ve been dipping into our jar quite often lately. My favorite ways:
    1. Straight up.
    2. On a well-toasted English muffin spread with butter first.
    3. On Triscuits.

    You can send me the rest of your jar! 😉

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    • Stef says:

      Triscuits! Now that is interesting… I never would have attempted that one. But a toasted, buttered English muffin – that one I may have to try.

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  6. Touch2Touch says:

    OMG Nutella! sums it up for me. And I agree with Madame la française: you didn’t use enough on the crepe, or else the crepe wasn’t as good as it should be, because that is a STELLAR combo.

    OTOH, I’m very European at heart. You can send the Nutella along here, I wouldn’t toss it out of my kitchen. 😉

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  7. narami says:

    Oh Nutella. I can finish a jar in what, 2 days? That thing is addictive!

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    • Stef says:

      I can see how a jar of liquid chocolate could be very tempting. I think part of the reason I’m not super-gung-ho on Nutella is that it is a milk chocolate, and I’m a fan of dark chocolates. But I’m finding I might be in the minority on this POV… 😉

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  8. Koopa says:

    nu..nu…nutella!! 😀

    Not all stores carry Nutella here in the Ol’ Phil, plus it’s a bit on the expensive side, since it’s imported. so it’s really a “challenge” but I do admit that the prize is well worth the wait!

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    • Stef says:

      What is your favorite way to eat it? Do you have a variation you think I should try?

      Like

      • Koopa says:

        Oh yeah, i missed that in my comment >.<

        We usually eat it like your nutella smore, although instead of marshmallows, we put mangoes
        I don't know if you'll like it though :p

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      • Stef says:

        Mangoes are one of the few fruits I really don’t like. (And I’ve tried them many different times, many different ways; and I just don’t like their flavor.)

        A mango s’more sounds interesting…I bet if a person liked mangoes, s/he would like the s’more version. 🙂

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  9. Pingback: Day 131 | Three Daily Delights

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