Today’s post is all about comparing different chocolate hazelnut spreads. Nutella is the one that most Americans are most familiar with, but there are lots available. Coming soon, I’ll be updating this to look at Nutella vs Pernigotti, Nutella vs Nociolatta, Nutella vs Pan de Stelle and more.
If you’d like to make your own spread, try my cocoa cashew spread or try your hand at homemade Nutella. If you like reading detailed product reviews and comparisons, you may enjoy reading my Melt Organic Butter review, too.
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread: There Are Tons for a Good Reason!
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). UPDATE: Jif no longer makes it. Sorry, Jif. Not your market.
Anyway I wanted to know which cocoa hazelnut spread is better. Will there be a Best One? Will Nutella reign supreme, or will a different brand unseat it?
Brands I Tested
Here’s what I bought, along with any description on the jar. I’m also providing an Amazon link to all of these spreads should you want to investigate further:
- Nutella “Hazelnut Spread with Cocoa”
- Pernigotti Gianduia “Nicciole Hazelnuts”
- Pan di Stelle Cream “Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread with Cookie Crumbles”
- Nocciolata “Hazelnut Spread with Cocoa and Milk”
- Eliot’s Nut Butter. Grown-Up “Oregon Hazelnut Chocolate Spread”
I also purchased 2 low-carb/keto Nutella-like spreads:
There are certainly more examples of chocolate hazelnut spreads out there for you to try, both “regular” and low-carb/keto. Hopefully my research will inspire you to do your own head to head Nutella comparison!
I put roughly equal-sized blobs of all the spreads on a plastic cutting board that has a little bit of texture to it, and then I kept time to see which brands had the most flow, which seemed too runny and which too stodgy.
The first image is after 1 minute, the second is at 2 minutes, and the 3rd image is after 5 minutes of the cutting board being vertical.
Since Nutella seems to be the gold standard for comparison, that was my “control” against which I compared the rest of the brands.
Nutella has some stretch to it and slowly ran down while more or less maintaining its shape.
Eliot’s was the thinnest, and it ran the most with the Pongo brand being a close second. Although, texture-wise, the Pongo brand is much closer to Nutella than the Eliot’s.
The Pernigotti was also fairly loose while the Pan di Stelle, the Pyure, and the Nicciolato all steadfastly refused to budge.
And now on to the flavor comparison.
Nutella Ingredients and Nutrition: The “Standard”
Since Nutella seems to be the most widely known of the cocoa hazelnut spreads, at least in America, I’m using it as the standard for comparison.
First, here are the ingredients in Nutella. All ingredient lists, at least in the US, are arranged by most prevalent ingredient to least.
I’m bolding the 3 most important ingredients to the flavor profile: sugar, cocoa/chocolate, and hazelnuts so you can see where they fall.
- Palm oil
- skim milk
- lecithin (emulsifier)
- vanillin (artificial vanilla flavor)
Mouthfeel: Nutella is smooth in the mouth, a little “slick,” and it gets a little stodgier as you chew–it’s like it seizes up just a bit when it mixes with a bit of extra water (in this case, saliva. Ew, but true).
Nutella also has just a bit of chewiness and stretch to it as well.
Flavor: Nutella is sweet before anything. It’s a very sweet product with almost .6 grams of sugar per gram of product. This means that sugar accounts for over half the calories in Nutella. Half.
Its hazelnut to cocoa ratio is pretty balanced, flavor-wise. The chocolate is a bit more prominent, because there is no roasted nutty edge to the flavor. It’s easy to eat and easy to love.
Gluten-Free: Nutella is labeled gluten-free and lists tree nuts, milk, and soy as potential allergens
Nutella Vs Pernigotti
Again, from most to least prevalent:
- gianduia nut chocolate (30% sugar, hazelnuts, low-fat cocoa powder, emulsifier: sunflower lectin, cocoa 21% min)
- hazelnuts (19%)
- skimmed milk powder
- anhydrous butter (this is sort of like an industrially-made ghee, or all butterfat)
- milk proteins
- cocoa butter
- emulsifier: sunflower lecithin
- natural aroma
- (hazelnuts: product 29% of the total)
Note that the number 1 ingredient is chocolate made with hazelnuts and that hazelnuts make up 29% of the total ingredients. That’s approaching 1/3 of the weight of Pernigotti is hazelnuts alone.
Sugar accounts for 55% of the ingredients, so Pernigotti is slightly less sweet than Nutella and much more hazelnutty. The hazelnut flavor is mild, though, so I don’t think the nuts are roasted.
Mouthfeel: Very similar to Nutella but very slightly thinner.
Flavor: Pernigotti is like Nutella, intensified. It’s still very “Nutella-ish” and will be recognizable as such, but it’s got a fuller flavor and is slightly less “slick” than Nutella. No palm oil either, with the fats being the butter solids and cocoa butter, both of which melt at near body temperature.
Aroma-wise, Pernigotti smells like nuts and sugar, and Nutella smells sweet and cocoa-ish.
For me, Pernigotti beats Nutella in all the important ways. Calorie-wise, Pernigotti actually has slightly fewer calories at 5.3 calories/gram as opposed to Nutella’s 5.4 calories/gram
Nutella Vs Nocciolata
- cane sugar
- hazelnut paste
- sunflower oil
- skim milk powder
- cocoa butter
- soy lecithin
- vanilla extract
Mouthfeel: Nocciolata might be the closest in mouthfeel to Nutella. It’s maybe just a hair less “slick.” You can see in the viscosity photos above that Nocciolata didn’t budge at all for the 5 minutes I timed. But it doesn’t read as stodgy at all.
Flavor: Nocciolata is just a touch more hazelnutty than Nutella is, but otherwise, it’s pretty darn close in flavor, and I’m not sure I could tell them apart in a blind test.
I do like that Noccialata is certified orgnanic, and the label also states that it’s palm oil free as well as gluten free.
I also appreciate that Noccialata contains some cocoa butter, the magic fat that melts at body temperature. Makes for just a slightly dreamier texture than Nutella.
This was a bit of a tougher call because the flavors are so similar. Nocciolata gets the win for having slightly less sugar (50% as opposed to 60%). It does contain slightly more calories/gram at 5.6 calories/gram to Nutella’s 5.4 calories/gram.
But Nocciolata gets the win for not containing palm oil and for being organic.
More to come, friends!
Thanks for taking the time to read–I appreciate your being here!