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More Nutella for Fewer Calories – The Best Kept Secret in Europe

By Elizabeth MacLeod | Food Porn | June 12, 2017 |


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I was a latecomer on the Nutella train, having only discovered it in the fall of 2013 when on a whim I decided to buy a jug of the chocolate spread at my local Lobaws. I sat down in the kitchen I shared with my roommate, stuck a spoon in the jar and……well, see below.

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The last time I had a reaction like that to something was when I tried homemade Italian gnocchi for the first time. Needless to say, Nutella became my go-to treat and stress snack while writing papers and working on my thesis. I have never bothered with spreading it on food, I am happy as a clam eating it wholesale with a spoon. Waste not, want not after all. In times of great stress and/or PMS I could eat a 400g jar in one sitting. One reason why Nutella skyrocketed to #1 on my list of favorite sweets was its relatively low calorie count; two tablespoons/large spoonfuls of Nutella was 200 calories in comparison to the teeny-tiny Cadbury and Nestle chocolate bars ranging from 250-350 calories. That is a frickin steal in the world of calorie counting.

Fast-forward to January 2016 when I was working in Switzerland and getting my first load of groceries for my apartment. I was very happy to discover the Zurich Co-ops stocked Nutella and bought myself a jar to settle myself in. After dinner, I unscrewed the top, dipped my spoon into the jar once again and MY MIND WAS BLOWN:

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EUROPEAN NUTELLA EVEN MORE DELICIOUS THAN NUTELLA BACK HOME! I could immediately discern European Nutella was smoother and creamier in comparison to Nutella in North America, which had a more synthetic taste and syrupy consistency. I have no idea why, but knowing North American factories they probably artificially process their Nutella into submission. I once again had my socks knocked off after comparing the nutrition labels of North American and European Nutella:

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Two tablespoons of North American Nutella was 200 calories, while the same amount of European Nutella was 160 calories, give or take. That is over 20% less calories. I felt like Christmas had come early; I could eat MORE Nutella while eating FEWER calories! Below is an approximate measure of my reaction upon realizing this mathematical alchemy:

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What accounts for the differences between the two Nutellas? Many have explored this question, but few have come back with satisfactory answers, as the labels on each describe the same ingredients (save for the fact that the American version uses Palm oil, while the European version uses “vegetable oil,” which could just as well be Palm Oil). The most likely reason: While the European one uses the same ingredients, it uses more hazelnuts than the North American one.

I may have become a tooooooouch addicted to European Nutella; my love for the sweet, sweet chocolate crack was so pervasive that colleagues gave me a humongous jar of it as a birthday present. I even managed to entice my poor, long-suffering father to aid me in squirrelling away two small jars to bring back home to Canada to tide me over. Alas, the meager ration of my ambrosia lasted barely a week upon arriving home.

If one is in Europe, I highly recommend buying as much Nutella you can bring back home, or else find a specialized food store that sells European Nutella because once you taste it North American Nutella literally tastes like dog doo; you will never go back.


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