Every kid loves s’mores, those heavenly melanges of graham crackers, milk chocolate, and toasted marshmallows on warm summer nights over campfires as accompaniment to ghost stories. And truth be told, adults love them too. They are a powerful taste memory.
But making s’mores the traditional way has a flaw. The chocolate doesn’t melt so you have this crunchy crust with warm gooey marshmallows, and cold waxy chocolate. I spent waaaay too much time trying to think of a solution.
You could take the complete assembly and put it on a grill grate over a medium fire and close the lid, but this is a pain, takes too long, and you risk burning the crackers while the marshmallow drips into the fire.
Then one night, in that netherland of half sleep and half awake, it hit me: Nutella! Pronounced “new-tell-uh”, this is a wonderful spreadable blend of cocoa, skim milk, and roasted hazelnuts. It works beautifully in s’mores and tastes even better than with milk chocolate. The whole dessert sandwich’s contents are soft, warm and runny immediately.
The Nutella story is fascinating. According to the company’s website, during WWII, chocolate was in short supply in Italy, so Pietro Ferrero, a pastry chef in the northwest Piedmont region, had the bright idea to mix local hazelnuts with cocoa to extend dark delicacy.
He called his creation pasta gianduja. Pasta means paste, and gianduja was the name of a popular clown. It was originally made in loaves so it could be sliced and fit on bread. But kids peeled away the bread and ate the filling. So Ferrero outwitted them and changed the recipe so it was spreadable, supercrema gianduja was born, and in 1964 it became Nutella.
Nutella became so popular that food stores started a service called “The Smearing”. Children could go there with a slice of bread and buy a “smear”. Today Nutella is as popular in Italy as peanut butter is in the US, especially at breakfast. You’ll find it smeared on the local breads alongside strong coffee and orange juice in countless cafes.
Nutella should be stored at room temperature. Put it in the fridge and it will become impossible to spread.
Serve with: a cold glass of milk.
Published On: 1/19/2016 Last Modified: 4/22/2021