In celebration of World Nutella Day, I’d like to talk about something the husband and I spotted in Bologna last September. We were foolish in that we didn’t go in (I don’t recall, perhaps it was closed – that will, at least, be my excuse now), but it remains a fact that we saw it – a Nutelleria.
Nutella is that lovely, gooey hazelnut chocolate spread countless backpackers discovered in Europe and then waxed poetic about when they got home and could no longer buy it. It’s now available just about everywhere, in American supermarkets shelved next to the jam and peanut butter (though it transcends both) and American peanut butter manufacturers’ lame copycat products. I remember first hearing of Nutella when I was in college from classmate who’d just returned from a term in Austria. We were in Australia at the time, and she began heaping a brown gooey substance all over her toast from a bowl on the breakfast counter, squealing, “Ooh, they have Nutella!” I saved her from gastronomy hell by saying, “Umm, actually, that’s probably Vegemite.” I’m quite certain that act alone will get me into heaven.
Anyway, back to Nutella. It’s an Italian product (naturally), and its origins go back to the 1940s. Hazelnuts were only included in the first place to extend the chocolate supply, but what would Nutella be without that hazelnutty goodness? A mere chocolate spread? Unthinkable. (There’s more about the history of Nutella here.)
While the history of Nutella (and its predecessor, Supercrema) goes back more than 60 years, the idea of a Nutelleria is rather new. If what I’m reading is correct, it appears that it’s a kind of fast-food chain, not unlike a McDonald’s for Nutella, and seems to have started in 2001. It seems logical, no? If you want gelato, you go to a gelateria. If you want pizza, you go to a pizzeria. If you want bruschetta, you go to a bruschetteria. And so on.
There are some photos of the Nutelleria in Frankfurt here, and one of the outside of the Bologna shop here. There’s also a story (it’s a PDF in Italian) about the opening of the “first Nutelleria in Italy… and the world” here. If you can’t visit a Nutelleria, or if you’d just like to share the idea of one with friends, you can create your own (free!) Nutelleria e-Postcard here.
And finally, here’s a hysterical video I found of a young man dining on an interesting array of Nutelleria products at the store in Bologna. Among the items in front of him – a Nutella “hamburger,” which looks more like a raised donut sliced in half and spread thickly with Nutella, and a Nutella “pizza,” which just looks like an open Nutella crepe. The overwhelming sweetness seems to get to him…
The Nutelleria in Bologna is on via Indipendenza, #45, at the corner with via Righi.
Photo by: piera.seghetti