Nutella! For a long time it used to be one of those things I used to hear a lot of food bloggers raving about on so many blogs but could not find here. Then a couple of years back it started making its presence felt on the local supermarket shelves. It was (and still is) quite expensive but I bought a jar to see what it was like.
Considering that it is mostly chocolate (well, cocoa actually) and hazelnuts what’s not there to like about it? I do find it a bit sweet and it does have a slightly “pasty” feel in the mouth but I see how it can get addictive. I understand there are two types of Nutella. One, it is said is what is available in the American stores, doesn’t have much of hazelnuts in it and is sweet. The other one is that one finds in Europe (Italy to be specific) which is less sweet and tastes more of hazelnuts.
Since the label on my Nutella jar only says “Imported by Ferrero Rocher”, I’m assuming it is the American version. It is easy enough to make one’s own Nutella from scratch with hazelnuts and cocoa but that will have to wait until I can find hazelnuts of the affordable variety in my stores.
While I can understand Nutella can be addictive, I was quite astonished to discover that there are a lot of people who seriously dedicate themselves to the business of Nutella consumption. Funnily enough, Nutella started out as a solid block of chocolate and ground hazelnuts. In the 1940s, chocolate was expensive in Italy but hazelnuts were easily available and cheap so one Pietro Ferrero used the hazelnuts to extend chocolate in his patisserie, little realising history was in the making!
According to Sara of Ms. Adventures in Italy, Nutella is not just a “chocolaty hazelnut spread, but a way of life! So she got together with Michelle of Bleeding Espresso and created a Nutella day which the 5th of February this year. Now if that doesn’t convince you that there are people who are pretty serious about Nutella, nothing will.
I had some Nutella left in the jar and I realised I had some time to meet the deadline so I decided to join this year’s Nutella celebrants. No, I’m not swearing me allegiance to all things Nutella nor have I decided that it is a way of life but surely no harm ever came from celebrating anything, within limits.
So here’s my Nutella creation. It is very siple and nothing more than a fruit salad layered with a cottage cheese-Nutella cream. A quick dessert that’s not too heavy. I used cottage cheese (paneer) because that’s what I had on hand. You could replace the cottage cheese with thick/ hung yogurt, cream cheese or even whipped cream for a creamier feel to this dessert.
The crumbled cookies add a bit of crunch to the dessert. I used store bought cookies for this one. Ginger cookies are another option which would work well here. I know my parfait doesn’t look very colourful but I was restricted to using the fruits in my fridge. You can choose a combination of fruit that appeals to you.