Dear Readers (all 6 of you), I am happy to take risks on your behalf. Such a risk today involved sampling two different versions of Nutella — the American version and the Italian original. No need to thank me.
An industry insider let me in on a little secret — the composition of Nutella sold to us unsuspecting Americans is different from that sold in Italy. It’s sweeter. I had to try this out for myself. I have a dwindling jar that I bought at Target not too long ago. Today, I bought a jar of the Italian stuff from a local Italian market.
Damned if I couldn’t tell a different immediately. The American version IS sweeter (and not in a good way; in a chemically aftertaste kind of way). The Italian version is hazelnuttier.
Now, you wouldn’t be able to tell much of a difference from the list of ingredients. While those on the imported jar are in Italian, they are the same ingredients and in the same order as in the American version. I’m guessing that the percentage of sugar to other stuff is lower in the Italian version though. They do make a point of calling out the percentage of hazelnuts in each jar on the Italian label. Not so on the U.S. version.
Here’s another difference that I noticed from the labeling. While the U.S. version says a serving is 2 tablespoons (about 37 grams), the Europeans are saying a serving is much less: only 15 grams. This leads to everything from the calories to the carbohydrates being much lower per serving.
Here’s another little tidbit: The Italians think we’re doing it all wrong. They sneer at our Nutella cupcakes. Nutella is for breakfast only. Don’t you dare put it in pancake batter either. It is for smearing on a piece of toast (or perhaps a baguette slice). It doesn’t belong anywhere else. Check out how it’s marketed. Sure, there’s tons of Pinterest recipes out there involving Nutella, but the only Nutella sponsored usage is as pictured on the jar of Nutella.