How Nutella Can Save the World

My first memory of Nutella was when I was an exchange student in Paris in the early ‘90s. We had gone up to Fontainebleau for a day of biking and about midway through my host mom unpacked a jar of Nutella and a fresh baguette. I don‘t think anything has ever tasted as good as that simple snack; from the first bite of that chocolaty goodness, I knew I was hooked for life.

As it turns out, I’m not alone in this one sided love affair. Millions of people who have visited Europe since the 1960s have experienced both the confusion and subsequent joy caused by this strange cross between a meal and a snack.

Nutella is a spread made of a combination of hazelnut, cocoa, milk and other ingredients. This hazelnut spread, as it is marketed in many countries, was originally developed in Italy and became mass produced in the early 1960s. It became an instant success and quickly became a mainstay of most European kitchens.

This snack of the masses though has transcended its intended purpose as a cheap chocolate spread substitute.  Because it wasn’t available in the US until the 1980s, this distinctly European food has bonded generations of tourists into a fraternity of food.

Nutella crepe
Nutella crepe

Because of the memories of great trips and once in a lifetime experiences it recollects, Nutella has laid claim to a part of the traveler’s emotional soul that has made it an indelible part of the European experience. Add to these memories the fact that Nutella crepes in Paris and Nutella gelato in Rome are two of the best street food experiences you will have anywhere in the world, and suddenly you have travel domination by a sandwich spread.

Nutella is not alone in captivating the thoughts and emotions of travelers, there are dozens of foods and unique activities that bind us all together into a finely woven quilt of traveling experiences. What makes these experiences so important is that they transcend background and education, and instead create a communality that would not exist otherwise.

So how can Nutella save the world? People who travel have a special bond and serve as citizen diplomats wherever in the world they may be. While this delicious hazel-choco snack may not bring about world peace by itself, the people who spread the Nutella love can.

What are some of your favorite Nutella memories or Nutella inspired food?

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

27 Responses

  1. Anny at BikeHike Adventures

    I don’t think I’ve ever read something written so thoughtfully about a chocolate spread. And yes, Nutella is good. My last experience with it wasn’t that great though because it was the person’s first time making a crepe and he didn’t know that Nutella can burn just like chocolate if you put it on too soon. I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

    Reply
  2. Colleen at Travel Mamas

    I love me some Nutella! However, it just doesn’t taste as good at home in the states as it does in Europe. In fact, I never buy it here. It’s probably due to the sad lack of delicious bread on which to slather the stuff!

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      I’ve actually made Nutella crepes at home and they came out great! I used the Julia Child crepe recipe and used Nutella.

      Reply
  3. Andrew

    * Nutella is too sweet to replace peanut butter in a PB&J – Learned on summer exchange in Vienna.
    * Nutella however CAN be mixed with peanut butter to make a choco-peanut-butter sandwich.
    * Apparently Germans will eat Nutella and butter on bread – I have been yet drunk enough to think this sounds like a good idea.
    *It has just occurred to me to wonder what it would be like frozen somehow. You mention gelato, so I think maybe Nutella Icecube things. Would it even freeze straight from the jar?

    Reply
  4. Terry

    Since you can’t find good European bread here in the states, out favorite snack is nutella on ritz crackers. It’s the perfect blend of salty & sweet!!

    Reply
  5. Ashalah

    Oh, Nutella. I love this stuff. I actually traveled around for two months with it in my backpack. It was a hard choice when my pack got too heavy and I had to choose between my shoes and my nutella. I almost chose my nutella. 🙂

    When I was in Paris I became obsessed with Nutella and banana crepes…SO good.

    Reply
  6. Kerri Sackville

    Nutella should be eaten from the jar. With a spoon. Whilst making loud grunty noises of delight.
    There is simply no other way.

    Reply
  7. The Jetpacker

    I’ve rubbed on Nutella on wounds to expedite the healing process.

    I used Nutella when I couldn’t find glue to bind my school papers… then ate the papers.

    I have yet to swim in Nutella in fear of drowning, but if I had to pick a way to die, that might be it.

    I pray to Nutella as if it were a god.

    Reply
  8. Bear

    My Dad LOVES Nutella. He eats it on his vanilla sandwich cookies almost everynight. My mom wanted to buy him a giant Nutella that they sold in Galleries Lafayette in Paris, but couldnt fit it in her suitcase!

    Reply
  9. hanne

    Andrew: Butter, bread and Nutella – there is simply no other way, once you’ve tried it (needs to be salted butter, though).

    Reply
  10. Eli

    Yep, just the other day I tried a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich for the first time. It was awesome! Nutella is great, and I’ve only tried it a few times.

    Reply
  11. Andi

    Drooooool, it’s the best thing EVER!

    Reply
  12. Matt Long

    Love hearing about all the ways to eat Nutella! It certainly is loved by millions.

    Reply
  13. Adventurous Kate

    When I was studying in Florence, I had eight roommates. We went through a huge jar a week. A WEEK.

    Reply
  14. Chrissy

    Hold on a minute isn’t nuttella just a big jar of candy ?

    Reply
  15. Travelated

    I used to get nutella crepes from street vendors in Aix-en-Provence… a great snack in a pinch 🙂

    Reply
  16. Nicole Henderson

    I LOVE Nutella! It was even added to my Thanksgiving feast yesterday (spread some on celery sticks and topped w/ almonds–delish!)

    While I was traveling through Europe, I made Nutella sandwiches almost every day with fresh baked bread that I found where ever I was at the time.

    Reply
  17. Lauren Fritsky

    I was first introduced to Nutella on a piece of white bread as a kid by an Italian-American friend. Where I was from in the States, not too many people knew about it, so I was surprised–and overjoyed–to see it’s more prevalent in other parts of the world. I eat it way more often now that I live in Australia. I even had a Nutella dessert pizza here once!

    Reply
  18. ehalvey

    I need that Nutella crepe in my life.

    You can’t go wrong with it: Nutella cookies, Nutella cupcakes (used as a filling AND icing), Nutella in your coffee…

    Reply
  19. Claus G

    I grew up with Nutella and continue to eat it for breakfast often, especially when I travel, as it is easy to carry around. It is probably healthier than most sugary jams and jellies, and, layered over toast, provides for an easy meal that will actually leave you full of energy for a couple hours.

    In 2007 I bought a doughnut in Nice, France, only to discover it was filled with Nutella! It was one of the most delicious things I have ever tried… I went back to get more, but couldn’t find the place again. Sad days.

    Reply
  20. Meagan @MiniGTs

    Great article — my first memory of Nutella goes back to Grade 1 (1981) and eating lunch in the gym. All my friends were Italian and their lunches consisted of two pieces of white bread, thickly spread with Nutella. I hadn’t ever tasted it (c’mon, what kid is going to trade a Nutella sandwich for a slice of cheese and pack of melba toast!) so thought it was disgusting…until a friend gave it to me on toast after a sleepover a few years later…then I was mad that my mom had been denying me “chocolate” sandwiches for so long!

    Reply
  21. Leslie

    Nutella is like crack! It’s so hard to stop eating it once you open that lid 😉

    Reply
  22. Roy

    Haha we used to do the same thing in France. Baguettes with nutella are amazing!

    Now, I eat it almost every morning for breakfast :). Yes you’re right, Nutella is a part of the European life!! It is of my life at least.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Jealous, although it’s been making significant inroads here in the US

      Reply
  23. jan

    I did not realize that Nutella was first made in Italy. That explains why we saw some enormous jars of it in San Remo – they were bucket sized.

    Reply
  24. Silvia

    Nutella was and still is all italian! We don’t have that much to be proud nowdays, so let me say it loud 🙂
    I won’t bother you with it’s history, you can read it on wikipedia. My memory: as a child eating nutella sandwich after swimming. Bread, Nutella and sand, that was our tipical summer snack.

    Thanks Matt, your lovely post reminded me of those days

    Reply
  25. Rachel

    Bread, butter and Nutella. it is just so divine! I’ll take it without butter but there is something just so decadent about a thin layer between the Nutella and the bread.
    I loved seeing the massive jars of it on the Amalfi Coast, I generally buy it in whichever jar is the best deal but I love occasionally buying the small jars that become drinks glasses after, genius!
    Sometimes you just need a spoon. Others, it is just so much fun to bake with 🙂

    Reply

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