Can Any of These Chocolate-Hazelnut Spreads Be as Good as Nutella?
Photo credit: Getty
Before 1983, the sight of Nutella smeared on a crepe or slice of white bread usually meant you were in Europe. That was the year that Italian producer Ferrero Rocher began exporting the chocolate-hazelnut spread to the United States. But it wouldn’t truly catch on stateside until more than two decades later.
In the last five years alone, U.S. sales of Nutella have tripled to more than $240 million. The sweet spread captured American tastebuds not only with its rich, unctuous flavor, but with its novelty; until relatively recently, few products boasted a similar flavor profile.
But the success of Nutella has lured other chocolate-hazelnut spreads to the U.S. market. Hershey released its own version just this past week, Jif debuted one in 2012, and organic versions abound, including spreads by Barefoot & Chocolate and Justin’s (technically a nut butter).
But how do these competitors stack up to the original? We conducted a blind taste test among seven Nutella-loving employees to find out.
Photo credit: Hershey’s
Hershey’s chocolate-hazelnut spread had a thick, matte-like appearance. A dollop kept its firm form on a paper plate; it did not slowly melt into a chocolatey puddle like the others. Its mouthfeel was distinctly grainy, as though our tongues could feel each granule of sugar. The dominant flavor was chocolate, with just the faintest whiff of hazelnut. And it was overwhelmingly sweet. “Cake frosting,” “chocolate icing,” and “Dunkaroos frosting” were common descriptors.
Photo credit: The J.M. Smucker Company