Discovering Nutella

This week, I would like to introduce you to the wonders of Nutella, if you still haven’t been lucky enough to try the stuff. I grew up yearning for it, as mine was probably the only Italian household where it was forbidden. My parents would mention something about it being unhealthy and too processed, every time I would throw a hissy fit in the supermarket aisle. I do thank my mom these days, since I would probably be at least 60 lbs heftier, had Nutella been a part of my adolescent diet. As much as I crave great, dark chocolate as an adult, as a teenager I would overdose on anything and everything cocoa, insisting on quantity – and definitely NOT quality. But Nutella is a great treat, albeit it one that should be consumed sparsely. Reading the list of ingredients is enough to scare any sensible adult… Anyway, Nutella is available in some supermarkets and at Little Italy’s grocer extraordinaire Di Palo.

Best on bread, or in crepes, Nutella can be eaten with slices of banana or on strawberries. Chef Rocco DiSpirito has the best idea, by spreading some slices of banana on one half of a buttered French baguette, then sprinkling it with sugar and broiling it for a couple of minutes, just enough to caramelize the banana slices a bit. He then broils the other half of the baguette, enough to toast the bread, and waits for the whole thing to cool down. Then he spreads Nutella on the pieces of bread with no banana slices on them and sprinkles a little touch of “Fleur de Sel” – harvested sea salt from Normandie. You can skip this step if the salt is too difficult to find, or the idea of salty sweet doesn’t appeal to you. Press the slices together and you’ve got a delicious snack, or even a cute picnic sandwich to share with your friends.

For more on the fun and extravagant cooking style of great chef Rocco DiSpirito, click on Rocco’s Cookbook.

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