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You may have seen the stout Nutella jars in the supermarket and wondered what exactly it tastes like. And while the name makes it sound a lot like peanut butter, Nutella’s sweet taste makes it more like a dessert. But before you grab a jar to try, you’ll probably want to answer the question: “what does Nutella taste like?”
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What Exactly is Nutella?
This spread is a lot darker than peanut butter, so you might be wondering — does Nutella have chocolate in it? The answer is yes, but this unusual product is also a nut butter. Nutella is basically a paste made up of ground hazelnuts and melted chocolate. It’s a popular spread that can be put on everything from crepes to strawberries to bread.
Here are the ingredients that go into making Nutella:
Sugar — Since it’s first on the list, sugar is the main ingredient in this very nutty chocolate spread. While a sugar-sweet spread might sound appealing, consuming too much sugar can cause adverse health effects down the line.
Palm oil — Part of the rich, creamy texture of Nutella comes from the inclusion of palm oil. Though it tastes good, palm oil is full of saturated fats and is considered to be less healthy than most vegetable oils.
Hazelnuts — The hazelnut is probably the most healthy ingredient in Nutella, but as we can see from the order of the ingredients, there’s more sugar and oil than there are hazelnuts! The hazelnuts are ground to a powder so the spread can be smooth. Each jar of Nutella contains about 50 hazelnuts total.
Cocoa — Nutella tastes like chocolate, and that chocolate flavor comes from actual ground cocoa beans.
Skimmed milk powder — You might notice that Nutella has a somewhat milky flavor. That comes from the skimmed milk powder. The brand uses powdered milk because it has a significantly longer shelf life than liquid milk.
Soy lecithin — Soy lecithin is just an emulsifier, so it stops Nutella ingredients from separating, However, it’s a fairly fatty substance.
Vanillin — A hint of vanilla complements the chocolate flavor of Nutella nicely. Vanillin is an artificial alternative to vanilla extract.
Since Nutella is sold in many different countries, it’s important to note that the ingredient list varies some from country to country. But in most cases, the general flavor is the same — it’s still a hazelnut chocolate spread.
Nutella: An Origin Story
The history of this hazelnut spread reaches back to the Napoleonic wars. In 1806, Napoleon created a continental blockade to impede British commerce. Because the supply chain became disrupted, chocolate suddenly became much, much more expensive, chocolatiers struggled to keep up with customer demand.
Makers of chocolate in Turin, Italy came up with an ingenious solution: mix in some chopped hazelnuts. That stretched the chocolate supply a bit, but it also added a flavor lots of people loved. This chocolate-hazelnut mixture was called Gianduia.
Gianduia didn’t become wildly popular, but the concept came in handy 100 years later. During World War II, chocolate again became expensive. Pietro Ferrero, the head of the Italian company Ferrero, also mixed chocolate with hazelnuts. This product was called Pasta Gianduja. Ferrero kept making this chocolate hazelnut spread, and it was renamed “Nutella” in 1964.
As you can see, the process of making Nutella goes back centuries. Thanks to its popularity, there are many imitators. Other brands have released spreads that taste similar, but the Nutella Ferrero makes is the only true Nutella.
Interestingly enough, though the formula goes back centuries, the first Nutella was a lot different from the spread we know today. It was originally sold in loaf form. The loaf was designed like a loaf of bread; you were supposed to slice off Nutella pieces to put on bread slices.
Today, Nutella is sold in more than 160 countries across the globe. If you want to learn more about the history of this beloved spread, check out this interesting video.
What Does Nutella Taste Like?
Nutella is a pleasant blend of two main flavors: chocolate and hazelnut. Though it is sweet, it is not overly sweet, so it’s somewhere between regular peanut butter and a dessert.
The exact flavor of Nutella depends on where it comes from; European Nutella and American Nutella have different flavors. The American version is a little more oily with a milder flavor.
The strong hazelnut flavor mixed with chocolate has made Nutella beloved across the world, and most people seem to really like it. But for some people, the flavor falls flat.
Is Nutella Good for You?
When you first look at the nutrition label on a Nutella jar, you might notice that it’s a very calorie-dense food. A serving has 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 15 grams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrate, 21 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
That might not look too bad, but it’s important to realize that the serving size is two tablespoons. And many people, whether they’re making a sandwich or eating this hazelnut spread out of the jar with a spoon, are eating more than this.
Especially when it comes to fat content, many people compare a serving of Nutella to a serving of peanut butter. However, since it doesn’t usually have much added sugar, peanut butter has much less carbohydrate — 8 grams compared to the 23 grams in Nutella.
Peanut butter also has a good bit more protein. A serving of peanut butter gives you 7 grams and a serving of Nutella gives you 2. Nutella also has 4 grams of saturated fats compared to the 3 grams found in peanut butter.
Some people tend to argue that adding Nutella to foods gives you health benefits. But you can get better nutrition with less sugar (and more healthy fats) from regular nut butters.
Ferrero has been hit with multiple lawsuits over claims that Nutella is part of a healthy breakfast. Its high sugar content and lack of nutrients mean that you’re probably better off eating something else. Ferrero ultimately paid a settlement and was ordered to make some changes to how they were marketing Nutella.
Nutella isn’t necessarily good for you, but that doesn’t mean that you should never eat it again — it makes beautifully decadent additions to desserts!
How Do You Eat Nutella?
There’s really no wrong way to use this delicious spread. Nutella works well on bread, crackers, or toast, but it also can be used on fruit. It is especially good on bananas and strawberries. Slices apples can even be dipped into a jar! Many people enjoy apples with peanut butter, so why not with Nutella?
You might want to try making crepes with Nutella, bananas, and powdered sugar. This hazelnut spread can be a decadent addition to breakfast, and some people put it on waffles as a substitute for syrup. If you want to get adventurous, you can mix some into your oatmeal.
For a frozen treat in the summer, you can make popsicles by freezing bananas coated in Nutella.
Most nutrition experts recommend using Nutella primarily as a dessert, as it isn’t really healthy. For some delicious after-dinner coffee, melt a tablespoon of Nutella in a cup of coffee with cream. Many popular coffee creamers have hazelnut flavoring, so this is a great way to enjoy Nutella if you are a coffee lover.
As we’ve seen, Nutella is a rich spread with a rich history. It can be a fun and delicious addition to your diet, but make sure you don’t overdo it — an excess of the sugar and fat content can make you feel sluggish and ultimately have ill effects on your health.
Need some quick answers about Nutella? here are some questions people commonly ask:
Does Nutella taste like chocolate?
Yes — the cocoa in Nutella makes it taste like chocolate.
What is the flavor of Nutella?
Nutella is a mixture of chopped hazelnuts and cocoa powder, so its flavor could most accurately be described as chocolate and hazelnut.
Why shouldn’t you eat Nutella?
Just like with all sweet, fatty foods, it’s ok to eat Nutella sometimes. But the combination of its high fat content and large amount of sugar means that you probably shouldn’t eat this nutty chocolate spread every day!