Growing up, I used to love to have Nutella(R) on bread, on bananas, on almost every edible surface I could think of using. It wasn't until I became a chocolatier that I understood where it originally came from, and grew to love the innovative thinking that it represents.
Nutella as a spread was originally called Pasta Gianduja, and was sold as solid blocks of a mixture of chocolate and hazelnuts until the company added palm oil to the mix to make it more spreadable. It originally comes from a chocolatier named Michele Prochet.
Michele (pronounced Me-Kell-a), had a problem. He was a chocolatier based in Turin, Italy, which was then under the control of Napoleon. The British blockaded the Mediterranean, blocking off his access to chocolate. He was distraught - how could he extend his supply of chocolate when he never knew if the cacao beans could make it through the blockade?
The answer: hazelnuts. Northern Italy is famous for its quality and quantity of hazelnut trees. Michele roasted local hazelnuts, ground them fine, and added sugar and chocolate to double his supply. The resulting (vegan) product was a divinely inspired confection which came to be known as gianduja - named after a comic character considered as the ultimate common man in northern Italy - a native Piedmontese carnival and puppet character.
Today, this combination of roasted hazelnut and chocolate is still divine. We welcome you to come in an try our version based upon a centuries old recipe - we even name our bar version of this confection after the Greek Goddess Artemis - for the wisdom imparted by the sacred hazelnut.
Troy & Grace Lapsys, Chocolatiers in Albuquerque, NM. We strive to bring a combination of French Chocolate traditions and New Mexico flavors together at our shop in Albuquerque, NM. Chile, lavender, pecans - all local ingredients we merge with the finest chocolate from around the world.