Did you know Nutella was originally developed as part of Italian rationing during WW2? That’s right, while us Brits had powdered banana and potato peel pie, and the Germans were literally eating people in some cases (shudders), the poor Italians were forced to eat Nutella. It’s a tough life for some.
Hazelnutty-chocolatey goodness was initially known to hungry Italians as “Pasta Gianduja”. Created in 1946 by baker Pietro Ferrero, it was developed as a way of making up for the shortage of cocoa (thanks to rationing), using the hazelnuts which grow in abundance in the northwest of Italy – Alba, Piedmont to be precise – where Ferrero’s bakery was located. Hazelnuts bulked up the limited chocolate supply.
At first, Nutella wasn’t even in the form we know and love today. It was sold in solid blocks, which one could eat a la a chocolate bar, or lay on top of bread etc. It wasn’t until 1951 that Ferrero began selling a creamy version of “Pasta Gianduja”, which he named “Supercrema”. By 1963, Pietro’s son Michele decided to revamp “Supercrema” in order to market it throughout Europe. The composition was modified again, and it needed a new name: Nutella. The first jar left Alba on 20th April 1964, and was instantly a huge success (the product, not just that one first jar). In fact, as of 2017, you can find Ferrero products in 160 countries! There is even a World Nutella Day on February 5: a day well worth remembering.
So next time someone criticises you for having Nutella on your toast (or eating it straight out of the jar, I see you), just tell them it actually counts as rationing…