Nutella espionage

by Amy Scattergood on April 28, 2009

jars-of-nutella1Recently, a friend of mine passed an unmarked brown paper bag to me during a walk through a crowded Los Angeles farmers market.  Passersby eddied around us; the traffic cop stationed in front of the alley conducted her street orchestra.  We were so busy looking at the fruit-laden stalls that we didn’t say anything or even look at each other during the exchange.  I felt like Kim Philby. No, there were no Soviet documents inside (sadly).  Instead, nestled in amongst a bit of tissue paper was a hastily scrawled note and a jar of Nutella that a friend of a friend had brought back from Spain.  Sorry, smuggled back from Spain.  It was all terribly clandestine.

I’ve been collecting jars of Nutella for years, although I don’t know if you can call it collecting when you just eat the contents of each jar one after the other.  Since I wrote about making my own Nutella for the LAT, I really have been collecting the stuff.  So far I’ve acquired jars of Nutella made in Germany, Italy, Canada and Poland–now add Spain to the list–in order to see if the Nutella inside tastes any different.

It does, actually. Although the folks at Ferrero wouldn’t admit anything (and I mean anything; after I interviewed one regional manager, he emailed me back requesting that I take everything he said to me off the record, like you can do that, which was really very funny as he hadn’t answered any of my questions in the first place), there is a pretty clear consensus that Nutella is made slightly differently according to country of manufacture. For the record, European Nutella is slightly less sweet, is a tiny bit firmer in texture, and seems to have a better aftertaste. To quote Nabokov, I [always] wanted to be a famous spy.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry from Tacoma May 2, 2009 at 10:51 pm

He’ll only talk to you off the record? What is he, some White House official?

P.S. I have commented on your web site, therefore I am officially back from the dead.

Larry from Tacoma May 3, 2009 at 6:19 pm

OK, I tried to comment yesterday but it wouldn’t take it. Or I didn’t do it correctly. Which is more likely. Hmm.

Liz May 5, 2009 at 9:20 am

This rings true to me. A few years back, we had a college newspaper intern staying with us for the summer, and he had a friend in Germany bring him 2 jars to Wisconsin. Tim claimed the stuff in Europe just tasted better. Guess he was right.

Michael Saltzman May 5, 2009 at 10:01 am

If you go to RONS Market on La Brea and Fountain- They ‘usually’ have Nutella from other countries. My 1/2 french 1/2 american children like the Nutella from “outside” the US. I’ve been told the one produced here has more peanuts and less hazelnuts than the one produced in Europe.

SinoSoul May 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm

the last I checked, even @ Claro’s, etc, the “outside of US” nutella were simply made in Canada. what a complete *snore*

Amy Scattergood May 5, 2009 at 1:44 pm

A few years ago, the Nutella production for FerarroUSA was moved from the US to Canada; Nutella produced outside of North America is made in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Poland or any other of the countries where Nutella is manufactured, of which there are quite a few.

amahl May 12, 2009 at 12:14 pm

i should get you one with arabic writing.
its cute.

j gold May 27, 2009 at 5:31 pm

I’m still sore they took Kobe off the label. I’m not sure why, but seeing him on every jar was the coolest thing in the world.

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