Attention Nutella fans: there's another chocolate-hazelnut spread you'll probably want to pick up on your next trip to the supermarket. No, it's not the Hershey's spreads, it's Nocciolata ($4.99) (pronounced "no-chee-oh-la-ta") from Rigoni Di Asiago.
The smooth and creamy spread gets bonus points for its ingredients (dark chocolate from the Antillean Islands, Italian hazelnuts, cane sugar, skim milk and bourbon vanilla extract) and for what it doesn't contain (palm oil, hydrogenated fat, and artificial flavors or colorings). It's also certified USDA organic, gluten-free, kosher, and contains no soy lecithin.
It tastes very similar to Nutella, with a well-balanced chocolate and toasted hazelnut flavor, but when it comes to texture, Nocciolata stands alone.
Compared to Nutella, Nocciolata is significantly more runny, which makes it more like a creamy, glossy sauce. When I opened the jar, it almost splashed out.
If you like your chocolate-hazelnut spread thick on a slice of bread, or sandwiched between two cookies you might want to stick with Nutella, but if you're inclined to dip fruit in it, drizzle it over ice cream, swirl it into cake or cookie batter, or smear a very thin layer on a crêpe, I think Nocciolata is the way to go. In these cases, its spreadability is an asset.
Given the choice between the two spreads, my thrifty side would push for Nutella (the cheaper option), but it's worth spending a little extra for superior ingredients (and elegant packaging), when it comes to indulgent treats.
Have you tried Nocciolata? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax
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