The History of Nutella: A Delicious Journey

Jose Mier holds Nutella ice cream in Sun Valley, CA

Jose Mier and Nutella Ice Cream

Jose Mier and ice cream go together like, well, like Jose Mier and ice cream. If you knew me that wouldn’t sound so weird. Always searching for great flavors of ice cream and frozen desserts, I now offer a look into that iconic sweet spread Nutella and its impoact on ice cream (as well as the rest of the world).

Nutella, the creamy and irresistible hazelnut-chocolate spread, has become a beloved global phenomenon, gracing breakfast tables, desserts, and snacks around the world. Its rich history, dating back to the mid-20th century, is a tale of innovation, resourcefulness, and, of course, mouthwatering flavor.

The Birth of Nutella

The Nutella story begins in post-World War II Italy when Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker from the Piedmont region, faced the challenges of a world affected by rationing, limited access to cocoa, and economic hardships. In an effort to make chocolate more affordable and extend its supply, Ferrero blended hazelnuts with cocoa, creating a paste that he initially called “Pasta Gianduja.” Gianduja is a traditional Italian sweet made with hazelnuts and cocoa, often shaped like a mask and associated with the Carnival of Turin.

Ferrero’s invention had the dual advantage of making cocoa more accessible during a period of scarcity and enhancing its flavor with the rich, nutty aroma of hazelnuts. The result was a delectable spread that was not only delicious but also more economically viable than pure chocolate.

The Evolution of Pasta Gianduja

The creation of Pasta Gianduja marked the beginning of the Nutella saga, but the product was initially available in a solid, loaf-like form. To make it more user-friendly and spreadable, Ferrero’s son, Michele Ferrero, continued to refine the recipe. By the 1950s, the paste had evolved into a creamier texture that was easier to spread on bread and other foods.

In 1964, Michele Ferrero officially renamed the product “Nutella.” The name combined “nut” from hazelnuts and the Italian diminutive suffix “-ella” to create a unique and memorable moniker for the hazelnut-chocolate spread.

Nutella Goes Global

The 1960s were a time of significant expansion for Nutella. The Ferrero company grew rapidly and established international distribution networks. Nutella’s popularity skyrocketed, becoming a staple in Italian households and quickly spreading to other European countries. Its growth was partly due to clever marketing campaigns that emphasized Nutella as a nutritious and satisfying breakfast option.

One of the most notable marketing campaigns was the introduction of the “Nutella World” advertising slogan, which reinforced Nutella’s reputation as a global phenomenon. The spread’s versatility also contributed to its popularity, as it could be used as a filling for pastries, a topping for ice cream, or a dip for fruit.

Nutella in America

While Nutella was making waves in Europe, it took some time for it to become a household name in the United States. In the early 1980s, Michele Ferrero made a strategic decision to enter the American market. Nutella’s American debut faced some initial challenges as it was an unfamiliar product to most consumers, but the company’s persistence paid off.

The introduction of Nutella to the American market was accompanied by an advertising campaign that positioned it as a nutritious and delicious breakfast option. Over the years, the spread gained recognition and popularity in the U.S., becoming a favorite for both children and adults.

Nutella Today

Today, Nutella is a household name and a global sensation. It’s not just a delicious spread; it’s a cultural icon, loved by people of all ages and backgrounds. The Ferrero company has continued to innovate, expanding the Nutella product line to include various variations like Nutella & Go! snack packs, Nutella-filled pancakes, and Nutella-filled doughnuts.

Nutella has also adapted to the growing demand for healthier options, introducing Nutella with no palm oil and reduced sugar. This shows the brand’s commitment to addressing health concerns and environmental sustainability, as palm oil production has faced criticism for its impact on the environment.

In 2012, Nutella opened its first café in Chicago, offering a menu of Nutella-based treats, from crepes to gelato, showcasing its versatility as a core ingredient for countless delectable recipes.

Nutella’s Impact on Culture

The global impact of Nutella goes beyond the kitchen. It has inspired countless recipes, led to the creation of Nutella-themed merchandise, and even sparked Nutella fan clubs. The spread’s distinctive taste and its association with childhood memories make it an integral part of many people’s lives.

Nutella has also influenced pop culture. It has been mentioned in songs, featured in movies and TV shows, and even played a role in social media challenges and trends. Its iconic jar design and the unmistakable red label have become instantly recognizable symbols of indulgence.

Nutella Recipes: Making Nutella Ice Cream

One of the most delightful ways to enjoy Nutella is by incorporating it into homemade ice cream. Nutella ice cream is a perfect balance of creamy, nutty, and chocolaty flavors. Below is a simple recipe for Nutella ice cream that you can enjoy at home.


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Start by ensuring your ice cream maker’s freezer bowl is frozen according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes around 24 hours.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and whole milk until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the granulated sugar and Nutella until they form a smooth, consistent mixture.
  4. Add the Nutella-sugar mixture to the cream-milk mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
  5. Stir in the pure vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors.
  6. Pour the Nutella ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This typically takes about 15-20 minutes, and the ice cream should reach a soft-serve consistency.
  7. Transfer the churned ice cream into an airtight container and smooth the top with a spatula.
  8. Place the container in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours or until the ice cream has hardened to your desired consistency.
  9. Before serving, allow the ice cream to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to make scooping easier.
  10. Serve your homemade Nutella ice cream in bowls or cones, and feel free to garnish it with additional Nutella drizzle, chopped hazelnuts, or chocolate chips for extra indulgence.

This Nutella ice cream recipe is a delightful way to savor the beloved hazelnut-chocolate spread in a frozen, creamy form. It’s the perfect treat for a hot summer day or any time you’re craving a sweet, homemade dessert.

Jose Mier holds Nutella ice cream in Sun Valley, CA
Jose Mier holds Nutella ice cream in Sun Valley, CA

Take Away

The history of Nutella is a testament to the power of innovation and a reminder that even in challenging times, a delicious idea can transform into a global phenomenon. From its humble origins as Pasta Gianduja to its current status as a beloved, versatile ingredient found in kitchens around the world, Nutella has captured the hearts and taste buds of millions.

Whether you spread it on toast, use it as a dip, or create mouthwatering recipes like Nutella ice cream, Nutella continues to be a source of joy and comfort for people of all ages. Its remarkable journey is a tribute to the enduring power of great taste and the ability of a simple, flavorful idea to bring people together. So, the next time you enjoy Nutella, you can savor not only its delightful flavor but also the rich history behind this iconic hazelnut-chocolate spread.