February 6 – Nutella Day
I feel like singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”! It’s World Nutella Day, a day where we celebrate the rich, creamy hazelnut and chocolate spread brought to us by the benevolent people of Italy. It’s a fringe condiment in the United States, but in Europe it’s one of the most popular things to put on your toast (or on your crepes, or basically anything that goes into your mouth). When I studied abroad in England I found it was only a little more expensive than butter, so I spoiled myself and bought a jar for my breakfast. I’ve always had a jar in my house ever since.
Perfected, bottled, and sold around Europe as early as 1964, Nutella is a mix of hazelnut and cocoa solids (with a hefty blend of milk, oils, and sugar to make it that creamy consistency) that was created when the cost of chocolate was much higher than the cost of hazelnuts. (Hard to believe, but it’s true!) Nowadays the hazelnuts are the part that make Nutella the delicacy it is, plus it helps set it apart from the myriad of chocolate spreads and other sweet concoctions you can put on your morning toast.
Nutella, as we know it today, has been in the United States since 1983 and has grown in popularity ever since. It’s used in a number of recipes that highlight the creaminess of the spread and adds a layer of decadence that mere chocolate sauce can’t provide. Since it was nearly impossible to narrow down one dish in New York that exemplified the Nutella spread, I’ve collected three (and that itself was tough to do!) from around New York to satisfy your taste buds for the day.
When you think about Nutella, you think about spreading it on a piece of toast in the morning, or indulging in a paper-thin crepe and feeling like you’re in gay Paris. You don’t automatically think “pizza,” haha. But Keste Pizza & Vino in the West Village will definitely make you think about it with their Nutella pizza and calzones. Walk into the gourmet pie store and order one off-menu and your taste buds will certainly be pleasantly surprised. The crust itself is flaky and light, and the saltiness of the dough is a perfect foil to the sweet Nutella. It’s the restaurant’s treasured little secret that has Nutella freaks from all over the city coming back for more.
Keste Pizza & Vino
271 Bleecker St (between Morton St & Jones St)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Oh and we topped it off with a Nutella dessert pie. A generous heaping of Nutella sandwiched between two layers of crust. Undoubtedly the BEST Nutella dessert I’ve ever had. Hands down.”–Vivien L.
“We came here for some nutella-topped dessert pizza. There was a huge line around 9pm on a Sunday and I can see why. The pizza crust is amazing (slightly salty, crispy on the outside, and chewy inside).”–Marlon A.
Of course, sometimes you just don’t want to buck tradition–especially when that tradition comes in the form of a fluffy, light-as-air crepe slathered with delicious Nutella. A popular filling for the centuries-old French dish (perfect for breakfast, a quick lunch, dessert, or just whenever!), a celebrated Nutella crepe can be found at The Crooked Tree on St. Mark’s Place. Couples with walnuts, bananas, or whatever toppings your heart desires, it’s a great, light snack to pick up on your way to your next Nutella destination 😉
The Crooked Tree
110 St. Marks Pl (between 1st Ave & Avenue A)
“Sweet crêpes are made from a lighter mix of white and wheat flour, brightened with sugar and vanilla, and folded over the likes of Nutella or dulce de leche. If you snag a spot near the wide front windows—or at one of the tile-topped outdoor tables—you can take in the sidewalk parade of (occasionally crooked) local characters.”–NY Magazine
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“For dessert we split a nutella-filled crêpe with a scoop of ice cream. This is definitely one of the best desserts I have ever tasted. Honestly, my taste buds are still looking for a hit of the good stuff, and I have half a mind to try to replicate the thing myself.”–Kevin S.
” Sometimes you’ve just gotta take one Nutella crepe for the team… This was phenomenal. Piping hot, thin and chocolate-hazelnutty, folded into a beautiful triangular fan shape and dusted with powdered sugar, I ate the whole thing and wished I had more.”–Cheryl C.
After all of that Nutella goodness, you’ll want to wash it down with a good, long drink–and what better to drink on this day than a Nutella milkshake? (Perhaps I should have prefaced this post as “not for diabetics”…) The famous Shopsin’s makes just that, for the occasion: a mocha Nutella milkshake that will definitely satisfy your chocolate-seeking taste buds. The diner itself, located at Essex Street Market, isn’t much to look at but it’s a favorite among Lower East Side locals, perhaps for such innovative yet comforting foods as this. The stringent yet quirky rules and attitudes of the staff are something to get used to, but it gives the restaurant more of a feeling of a neighborhood hangout than a place devoid of warmth and charm. They also have a re-created Orange Julius shake there, which makes me wish there were an Orange Julius Day on this national days calendar!
120 Essex St
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Everything that I’ve tasted, from the chili smothered cheese omelets to the chorizo pancakes to the oh-where-have-you-been-my-whole-life mocha nutella milk shake, the food is to die for. The breakfast combinations may be a bit unconventional, but it all (kind of) works. Who knew that mac and cheese pancakes could be so wonderful?”–Ro T.
“The three of us also split the Nutella Mocha milkshake. It was heavenly…so decadent yet so light.”–Terren J.