Nutella is in the news because the leader of the right wing ‘Lega’ party, Matteo Salvini, who has posted pictures of himself eating bread topped with the chocolatey spread, has discovered that Turkish, not Italian hazelnuts are being used. He is now boycotting Nutella.
Piedmont, in Northern Italy, which I recently visited, is the headquarters for Nutella. Nutella is an off-shoot of gianduja, a hazelnut chocolate combination, pioneered in Turin. Anecdotally, this occurred because Turin chocolatiers ran out of chocolate (due to Napoleon’s blockade of British exports), so they made the little they had go further with the addition of a local crop, hazelnuts.
While I despise right wing politics, I do feel strongly about using authentic and local ingredients, so here is a recipe for those who want to make their own Nutella.
- 200 g whole hazelnuts, from Italy if you wish, shelled
- 350 g milk chocolate, chopped
- 2 tbsp groundnut or hazelnut oil
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp sea salt or vanilla salt
- 1 Preheat the oven to 180/Fan 160/350F.
- 2 Place the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 5–10 mins, watching that they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and carefully rub off the papery skins using a rough tea towel. Leave to cool.
- 3 Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or in a bowl in short bursts in the microwave (on full power).
- 4 Grind the toasted hazelnuts with the remaining ingredients in a blender until they form a paste, adding the melted chocolate. The paste will thicken as it cools.
- Home made Nutella will keep for up to a month in an airtight container in the fridge.
Recipe from my book MsMarmiteLover’s Secret Tea Party (Random House, £20).