Chocolate & Spice

chocolate, spice and the other pleasures in life

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My New Obsession...

comes in the form of the gooey yumminess I've been scooping out of this bottle.

I came back this weekend from a week's worth of meetings in Singapore and a frenzied round of catching up with girlfriends to find the fridge bare. A was away in Hong Kong for part of the week and hadn't found time to get to the market. So in between all the cleaning, unpacking and catching up on sleep this weekend, we took a quick trip down to Safeway yesterday to stock up on some food.

For some reason, I'm having a sudden and very intense craving for hazelnut spread. Perhaps the Swedish cookies with hazelnut spread that I picked up at the Singapore Ikea earlier last week triggered this mad craving since I only managed to have a couple in the midst of my hectic schedule. Whatever I had had was enough to leave me wanting more which is strange 'cos I've never been a fan of anything hazelnut-based much less Nutella. A though, has very fond memories of Nutella and eagerly seconded my suggestion we get a bottle. So we headed first to the "Jams & Spreads" shelf at Safeway and that's when I spotted Nutino.

Touted as the perfect compliment to any snack or meal, Nutino is made in Italy from freshly roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and chocolate. Yummy... and perfect in my mind for recreating some spectacular desserts I'd had recently involving hazelnut. One yummy dessert called "Pizza con Nutella" comprised a crisp, thin pizza base topped with hazelnut spread and sprinkled with coarsely pounded hazelnuts and icing sugar, which A and I had in the open-air courtyard garden of La Lanterna di Vittorio during our recent New York trip. We had to thank our friend C for the introduction to this Italian cafe-coffee shop (as it's touted) which uses premium hazelnut spread from Italy for the Pizza con Nutella. Perhaps the close association of "Italian coffee shop" and Italian made hazelnut spread did it for me cos I picked up the jar of Nutino withouth a moment's hesitation, cheesy squirrel picture notwithstanding!

Anyway, let's just say that Nutino proved to be more enticing than Nutella and definitely much smoother in taste. I've never been a huge fan of Nutella, finding it a tad bit too sweet and paste-like for my taste. Nutino on the other hand, is smooth and creamy, balancing just the right amount of sweetness with the nutty taste of hazelnuts evident throughout. I've had my fingers stuck in that jar since we came back, spooning Nutino spread over our butter cookies, stirring it into my coffee and cream (which makes for a lovely mocha-like drink) and thinning it out with some hot cream to make a hazelnut sauce to pair with icecream. But perhaps the best way of eating Nutino is simply to make like a kid (as we all used to do with condensed milk and milo!) and sail into that jar with a spoon!

There's probably heaps of ways to eat hazelnut spread but one of my favourites is using it as a dip for bananas, strawberries and kiwifruit. I also like it as a filling to sponge cakes and maybe one day when I get that icecream maker, I'll have hazelnut icecream as good as the gelatos I've had in Italy. If any of you find Nutino in the supermarkets back in Singapore, tell me! Otherwise, I'm shipping back a box!

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