Today is the release day for the debut novel in my Franki Amato Mystery series, Limoncello Yellow. On this special occasion, I’ve decided to tell you about an awesome new Italian food item I’ve discovered: Nerogianduia, which means “black gianduia.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Huh? What about your book? Why don’t you talk about Limoncello, or something? Well, let’s face it, I can’t always talk about Limoncello Yellow, because that would be incredibly annoying, and I’ve already written a post on Limoncello. Besides, Nerogianduia is an extremely important development on the chocolate-hazelnut scene. I mean, this product is related to Nutella, which is simply the best chocolate pudding-like spread ever. Punto e basta (Italian for “period and enough,” or “enough said”).
Before I talk about Nerogianduia, let’s backtrack a bit. Gianduia (also spelled gianduja), for those of you who aren’t lucky enough to be acquainted with this Piedmontese delicacy, was created in Turin the early 1800s by the chocolatier Pierre Caffarel following the institution of Napoleon’s Continental System—a trade policy that resulted in (gasp!) a shortage of cacao. As a result, Caffarel began blending finely crushed hazelnuts with cacao to stretch his chocolate recipe (and I’m grateful to him each and every day of my life). He named this hazelnut-based chocolate after a popular Piedmontese marionette, Gianduja, in the Italian commedia dell’arte. Following the creation of gianduja came the oh-so-amazing chocolates known as gianduiotti (little gianduias), and then the heavenly Pasta Gianduja, which was renamed Nutella.
So how, exactly, is Nerogianduia Nutella’s darker, sexier side, you ask? Don’t get your napkin in a wad! I’m getting there. Anyway, while on a trip to Rome last January, I was chatting with a taxi driver about my unbridled passion for Nutella (yes, I’m THAT obsessed). Out of nowhere, he turned to me and made an astonishing announcement: Pernigotti, a Turinese chocolatier established in 1860, makes a dark chocolate version of Nutella. You guessed it—Nerogianduia! Once I recovered from the shock and stopped drooling, I got out of that cab and spent what was actually the last day of my Roman holiday searching high and low for this undoubtedly exquisite spread. But alas, we weren’t meant to meet.
At least, we weren’t meant to meet in Italy. Because not two weeks ago, on December 24th, I found Nerogianduia right here in my hometown of Austin, Texas. It was a true Christmas miracle (I seriously heard angels sing). Of course, I rushed straight home to try it (to hell with those last-minute gifts!). And I actually felt giddy as I removed the cap from the divine object and spooned an enormous gob of the creamy dark chocolate-hazelnut goodness into my mouth.
What happened next? You know, I think it’s best if I end the story here. I’ve got a reputation to protect now that I’m a published author, and all.