How many of you have ever wondered how Nutella came out? How someone actually came out around 70 years ago with an amazing paste that is known by almost everybody in the world and made the “Ferrero” a multi-billion industry?
Mr. Ferrero did not steal the idea from someone else or neither he created any naughty chemical thing aimed to catch the taste of the people. Not at all!
The story of Nutella is indeed a story that started with poverty and hardship, just like all the best stories usually do.
It was 1946, the 2nd WW had just been finished and Europe was literally destroyed. In Italy, around half a million soldiers would never come back to their home and the country had been literally turned into ash.
At that time, many were suffering from starvation and most of the basic goods where missing. Hence, here the story of Pietro Ferrero: a 50 years old pastry chef from Alba (I already told you about this city in other blogs, do you remember?☺ ), who had to deal with the problem of not having most of the basic ingredients to make sweets and had to rely on the very basic things Piedmont had to offer. As the hazelnuts! ☺
The precise name is of Piedmont hazelnuts is “Nocciola Tonda Gentile”, a particularly big and tasty hazelnut naturally harvested in the region. He decided to smash the hazelnuts in order to create a kind of cream, adding just a bit of cocoa, sugar and milk to make it tastier. He named that product “La Supercrema” or “The Supercream” in English. Yes, I know… he was not as good in choosing names as he was a good chef, but we do not really care.
Anyway, this Supercream became extremely popular. In less than one year, Ferrero realized that an artisan production was not enough to supply the huge demand from the people and decided to set a factory up. Thus Ferrero, as we know it today, began that day. Unfortunately, Pietro died just a few years later, in 1949, leaving a very modest factory to his son Michele, at that time only 24 years old. But if Ferrero senior was an extraordinary pastry chef, Michele was a tremendous entrepreneur. He understood straightforward the opportunity of the father’s recipes and set up a massive industrialization of the products. 60 years later, Ferrero has 34.000 employees, is fully owned by the family and generates €10bn revenues every year. The main factory is still there, in Alba, around 30 km from Turin. Every year, Ferrero produces so many jars of Nutella that if you line them up, you would cover twice the conference of the Earth. Every single year!
But I haven’t been completely honest with you… actually, something a bit similar to the Supercrema was already existing before the invention of Mr. Ferrero: the “Gianduja”.
Gianduja is a kind of sweet made of hazelnuts and cocoa, invented in Turin, that can be used in pastry, mostly for the creation of “Giandujotti”: the first ever made a chocolate snack (thank you Turin, again! LOL). Nevertheless, the idea of making a portable spreadable cream is from Pietro.
I hope one day you will pass by Alba. Walking on the ancient roads of this city, you can still smell the amazing perfume of chocolate and hazelnuts coming from the factory. Be happy my friends, Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is indeed reality <3