Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread Smackdown

chocolate hazelnut spreads

So I opened the Justin’s before I could take the picture. So sue me.

Nutella has been around for a very long time. The Ferrero folks have been selling it since 1964, so that means that I have never lived in a world without Nutella.

It is some seriously good stuff. Like eat-it-off-a-ladle-in-the-bathtub good.

Anyway, since it is So Very Good, it is no surprise that other folks wanted to jump on the bandwagon. And jump they did. The Justin’s folks make a natural version. The Jif folks just started making a version (along with a kinda coffee-flavored one called Mocha Cappuccino).  And I wanted to know which is better.  Will one of these Upstarts unseat Nutella?

Since I love you all, I decided to put them To The Test. I bought (okay, I always have on hand) a Vat of Nutella (not this big, though), a small Try Me pack of the Justin’s Organics kind and a jar each of Jif’s Chocolate flavored Hazelnut Spread and the Aforementioned Mocha Cappuccino one.  There are other clones out there: Nocciolata, ChocoDream, Nutkao (the jar also says “fantasia di cacao,” too), Pernigotti NeroGianduia (those folks make the cocoa powder I use, too), Eurocrem, and too many others to mention.*  Most of these are European and not readily available at Your Local Grocer’s, though, and I wanted to stick with stuff you can find at home. Unless you live in Europe, in which case, go wild!

I want to keep this rather brief, which is hard for me, but I shall try.  The short answer is: Nutella wins.  It just does. And it’s kind of not even close.  I might be Being a little unfair since I’m using the Nutella as the standard and seeing how close the others come rather than trying to see which is the best chocolate-hazelnut spread. But here’s how they stack up for me.

First, the Viscosity Test. Behold the images:

Nutella, Justin's and Jif Comparison

Left to right: Nutella, Justin’s and Jif. Same sized blobs (about 1 tablespoon)

Nutella, Justin's and Jif Comparison

After 30 seconds. Justin’s is much thinner and more oily. Too much ooze for me.

Nutella, Justin's and Jif Comparison

After two minutes. Note the Jif is sliding down the plate while keeping its shape while the Nutella has some stretch to it. And the Justin’s is just yucky looking. Sorry Justin.

Nutella, Justin's and Jif Comparison

And after 3 minutes. Really, Justin? And the Jif–that’s just kind of disturbing.

Nutella, Justin's and Jif Comparison

And Ye Olde finger swipe test. I think you can tell that the Nutella has more chew–see that little tail that whipped around when I swiped? Almost caramel-ish. The Justin’s was kinda oily with no little tail. And the Jif? There’s a bit of a tail, but not nearly to the extent of the Nutella. It’s more peanut buttery and less caramel-y.

And now on to the flavor comparison.

Justin’s: Excellent hazelnut flavor. Deep cocoa flavor. Not too sweet. These are all good things, and if you can’t have Nutella or truly are looking for a healthier version, this might be your best bet of the three I tried. However, it is not smooth at all, which is one of the things I like about Nutella. So the Justin’s just feels nubbly, like you’re eating tweed. Granted, it’s tweed made of cocoa and hazenuts, but still: tweed.

By the way, the Justin’s folks try to sell theirs with this question: “Do you eat frosting off a spoon?” For me, the obvious answer to that question is, “Yes!” followed by a “Duh!” and an eye roll. If you feel the same way as I do, Justin’s might not be for you.

Jif: The Mocha Cappuccino flavor really doesn’t factor into this since the coffee notes throw off the whole comparison. But I will say that I was not really a fan of the MC kind. It has kind of a Non-Dairy Creamer aftertaste that through the whole thing off for me.  Texture-wise, it’s very smooth, but doesn’t have that slight chew-ooze of Nutella. Which again is part of why I like the Nutella.

Jif Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

When you open a jar of Nutella, it looks a wee bit oily on top. Like it might need to be stirred a bit. This looks like traditional smooth peanut butter, only brown. It is matte in texture and was actually just a bit stiff on top when I put the spoon in to taste it. Like it has a thin crust on it.

The Chocolate flavored Hazelnut Spread from Jif is almost a dead ringer for Nutellam flavor-wise. Seriously. Sweetness-wise. cocoa-wise. Hazelnut-wise. But again, it lacks that tiny bit of flow and chew that Nutella has. It is cheaper, though, which is not a bad thing. Give it a try. It really is pretty close.  Also, if you look at them side by side, which I did because I love you, the Jif has more of a matte finish while the Nutella is a bit shiny.  This visual difference definitely transfers to the overall flavor impression once you get it In Your Face.

Nutella: While it might not be part of a nutritious breakfast, it is the best. It is the standard because I Said So.  I love the way it is ever-so-slightly viscous. And the way it glistens just a bit.  And the way it seizes up just a little when you start to chew a big old spoonful. Have you noticed this? It is worth noting.  I cannot think of a good way to describe what I’m talking about without sounding like I’m in the porn industry, so you’re just going to have to try it for yourself.

I may have to go crazy and buy some of those European models and do a blind tasting, but for now, Nutella beats Jif and Justin. Sorry J&J. And Justin, when you start to market to Frosting-On-A-Spoon folks, come see me.

And there you have it. For me, Nutella reigns supreme.

Have you tried any other versions of chocolate hazelnut spread? Have you tried these? What did you think? Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Also prone to eating frosting with a spoon, so I hear ya. Our local grocery chain has an extensive international foods section. PLUS we have a large Dutch food market. So I’ve tried a couple Dutch brands (names of which I can’t currently remember) Both were slighly oilier on initial opening of the jar than Nutella, but stirred in nicely. And tend to be cheaper as well. There’s also one that has the hazlenut chocolate spread swirled into the jar with marshmallow fluff. *dies* (next we need to introduce you to chocoladehagel. Just as tasty, but slightly less messy, toast topping for the wee ones. ;-)

    • says

      Oh my goodness, @facebook-1123857136:disqus ! You’re like the Chocolate Hazelnut Spread guru! Swirled into marshmallow fluff?! Is that they Milky Way stuff I used to see in the stores years ago? I never tried it, and now I feel like I missed the boat!

  2. bebetsy says

    Great info! Is the Jif a LOT less expensive? Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you save if it’s not good. I prefer to go for quality over quantity any day. Thanks!

  3. Jo-Anne says

    Seizing up is the perfect description! I just finished a jar of Nutkao that someone gave to me. It had good flavor and was creamy, but didn’t seize. Most of the time I’m eating Nutella in the winter so it’s like eating spoon fudge. I’ll have to compare the two in the summer to see what I like better too. Although I’d have to check prices which will influence future purchases.

  4. Joan Hayes says

    I’m not a Nutella fan but my kids sure are. So glad you did this comparison, I don’t want to cheat my kids out of flavor just to “try” the other one out. Since you say the flavor is close, I may have to switch up for the Jif and see if they notice.

    • says

      The only thing I’d warn you about, Jif-wise, is a bit of a slight rancid-oil aftertaste 2-3 min after eating. Some people might not even notice it, but my wee taste buds are pretty sensitive. Just wanted to put it out there.

  5. says

    Girl, I am SO very glad you did this because every time I go to the store I wonder how these other two will taste, but don’t want to waste my money if they’re not up to Nutella par. Now I know. Jenni, you saved the day!!!

    • says

      Someone had to take the bullet, @twitter-409346793:disqus ! ;) And one other thing I noticed: the Jif kind has a sort of rancid aftertaste. Not right away, but maybe 2-3 min.later. Something else to know.

  6. Elle says

    Spoon fudge, yes! I love that. Good to know, Jenni–thanks! That Justin’s one just looks awful slinking down the plate, but I suppose you’re not going to do that if you’re eating it, haha! The JIF one is very strange sliming it’s way down like a brown snail.

    • says

      I almost did say “snail” about the Jif, @682087447dfcd8cc5fd95cf7cabb8d35:disqus , but I figured after the almost-porn reference, it would’ve put the post right over the top! lol Justin’s I think would be right at home in a mole, but not necessarily in dessert…

  7. OrgasmicChef says

    I have lived before Nutella? When I get to be 100 that can be one of the things I talk about. :)

    I love the spoon fudge comment!

  8. Jessica Hose says

    Now that we’ve bought a house I have a bathtub again. I need to go buy some nutella so I can eat it with a ladle.

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