February 2015 was a busy and a sad month for Ferroro SpA, the Italian confectionery company and producuers of the world famous spread Nutella. First of all it was the 2015 World Nutella Day on 5th February and then on the 14th February Michele Ferrero died. He was born on April 26th 1925 and was the son of Pietro Ferrero, the founder of the company which Michele subsequently joined in 1949. Michele Ferrero is the man responsible for inventing Nutella spread as we know it today and which has become a household name around the world. When he died on February 14th he was aged 89 and was the richest man in Italy.
The origins of Nutella began in 1946 after World War Two to overcome a shortage of cocoa. A pastry maker in Piedmont discovered that by making a sweet paste from ground hazelnuts he could add just a little bit of the finest cocoa to make the whole paste taste like chocolate. He moulded this thick paste into a loaf shape so that it could be thinly sliced and served on bread. He called this solid paste 'Giandujot' after a famous carnival character.
In 1951 Pietro Ferrero adjusted the Giandujot paste making it softer so that it could actually be spread onto slices of bread. He renamed the softer paste 'SuperCrema'.
It wasn't until 1964 that Michele Ferrero took the recipe and amended it once again to the smooth, easily spreadable paste that is now eaten on bread, in cakes, on pizzas and by the teaspoonful in 150 countries around the globe. The now famous brand name 'Nutella' was also invented at that time by taking the English word 'Nut' and the Latin suffix 'ella' meaning sweet.
The recipe of Nutella remains secret and its taste unique with the company boasting that they use only the highest quality raw materials from around the world in their careful preparation of the product.
These are the ingredients used:
- Sugar - 75% from beets and 25% from cane.
- Palm Oil - a vegetable oil naturally derived from palm fruit.
- Ferrero use palm oil which is exclusively extracted from the pulp and not from the seeds.
- Hazelnuts - sourced mainly from Italy and Turkey.
- Cocoa - raw beans are purchased from the annual main crop.
- Milk - skimmed milk and whey powder.
- Lecithins (Soya) - a natural soy or sunflower-derived product that is not genetically modified.
- Vanillin - a compound naturally present in the vanilla pod.