The curious link between Napoleon, Hitler and the invention of nutella
Few things can boast of not going out of style and Nutella is one of them. The company's cocoa and hazelnut cream Ferrero been in supermarkets for more than fifty years as we know it, although the original recipe is much older. In fact, there are ties that bind her to both Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler. The Serious Eats blog invites us to take a trip back in time to discover what role these historical personalities played in the birth of a sweet today famous all over the world.
The origins of the cream are in an Italian treat called 'gianduia', created in the early nineteenth century and named a little later after a character of the oral tradition. With Napoleon in full conquest of Europe, tensions between France and Britain were at its peak. Embargoes and blockades affected cocoa arriving from South America,so Turin's famous master chocolacolades had to look for alternatives to continue producing. They were found in the hazelnuts of Piedmont.
According to the myth, the reposters then began to use ground hazelnuts, with a cocoa-like texture and appearance. The 'gianduia' would have been born from the mix. In any case, there are voices that doubt the veracity of this version, since it is suspected that the Turins lacked the precise technology to grind hazelnuts in significant quantities. Some historians believe that the idea of combining the two ingredients could have come precisely from France. Either way, it was napoleon's time that 'gianduia' began to grow in popularity.
Italian chocolacolades had been producing sweets for several decades when they reached the second decisive moment in this story: World War II. Hitler fell, cocoa shortages continued to hit Europe as it had in the previous century. A Piedmont pastry chef named Pietro Ferrero created in 1946 a paste that could be felt in bread inspired by 'gianduia', which he called 'giandujot'. In the following years he adjusted the recipe to make it less thick and cheaper, reusing it as 'Supercreme'.
The popularity of the candy skyrocketed and in 1961 Michele Ferrero, Pietro's son, finished perfecting the recipe by adding palm oil. The final version, already called Nutella, would soon be exported to every corner of the planet. A delicious cream that covers thousands of slices of bread every day, so appreciated that there are those who do not hesitate to protect it like a treasure. A German engineer came to create a padlock that prevents Nutella from eating if the boat owner does not give permission.