Nutella: A Chocolate Brand's Journey through History

Nutella, stemming from Italian chefs' cleverness during a historical crisis, has evolved into a global culinary icon, embracing the unmatched deliciousness of hazelnut.
10 Jan 2024 ·By Izzah Putri Jurianto
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Enjoyed at a rate exceeding $3 billion annually, Nutella solidifies its position as the crown jewel for the Ferrero Group, Italy's wealthiest family with a fortune of around $40 billion. However, the roots of this beloved hazelnut spread trace back centuries, entwined with historical events and ingenious culinary creativity.

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Napoleon's Cocoa Dilemma

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The intriguing Nutella tale begins in 1806 when Napoleon, a French General turned Emperor, initiated a continental blockade against his maritime foes in England, causing a significant cocoa shortage across Europe. With limited resources, Italian chefs started using abundant hazelnuts in northwestern Italy to extend their diminishing chocolate supplies. They mixed cocoa, hazelnut, and sugar into a paste named gianduia, after a popular carnival character in the Piedmont region of Italy.

Fast forward to 1946, Europe faced a widespread cocoa shortage post-World War II. An Italian pastry chef named Pietro Ferrero from Alba, Italy, took the gianduja recipe and created a snack for the general public on a tight budget.

This snack, sold as small bars, gained immense popularity. Ferrero later transformed these bars into a spread called Supercrema. However, in 1964, the Italian government started cracking down on superlatives in ads, impacting Supercrema.

From Supercrema to Nutella

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Pietro's son, Michele, who was managing the family business at the time, chose a new name that reflected the nutty flavor of the spread: Nutella. Shortly after its launch, Nutella became a tremendous worldwide success.

With its rich history, Nutella continues to delight taste buds globally. Beyond being delicious on bread, Nutella also exemplifies that sometimes, from crises, unforgettable culinary innovations are born.

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