Holy Yumtown. This biz is good.
I remember the first time I ever had Nutella. I was just a little girl, and someone gave us a jar. I called my mom to verify the details, and as we recall, it was probably my childhood friend Mariya - whose father was German. It's funny that I don't remember who gave it to me - because I remember eating it in the back yard of my parents' house, and I remember quite clearly that it was amazing. My young, impressionable mind was blown. Of course I knew about jam on toast, and even cinnamon-sugar toast, but chocolate on toast was totally next-level.
little kiddo amey learns about the joy of chocolates + hazelnuts
But as we all know, Nutella is not vegan, so I haven't eaten it for many years. There are a few vegan versions of chocolate-hazelnut spread out there in the world, but to the best of my knowledge, they all contain palm oil, which I avoid. I'm especially not willing to purchase palm oil for such a total luxury item as chocolate spread. (If you don't know about the issues around habit destruction involving palm oil, you can learn more here -- it's a really important issue).
hey, good lookin'...
So, when Rigoni di Asiago sent me a jar of their new vegan, organic, non-gmo, palm-oil-free, fair-trade, and FEP list approved Nocciolata Hazelnut & Cocoa spread to review for the blog, I was totally jazzed.
The only thing I was concerned about was that I didn't find Rigoni di Asiago listed anywhere on the Food Empowerment Project list of chocolates that don't use slave labor. But then I read on Sistah Vegan's blog that Rigoni di Asiago replied to her inquiry and assured her that they even use a Fair Trade source of cocoa on this product (see her post here). Great news - I heard back from Rigoni di Asiago and they are officially on the FEP list now, and their chocolate is fair trade. I can't even believe it. Awesome sauce!! It's pretty freaking amazing to have such a delicious specialty item that also meets ALL of my many ethical preferences! (it's also gluten-free, soy-free, and kosher, in case those are concerns of yours).
And, I'm happy to report that even with a high level of enthusiastic anticipation before opening my jar, my expectations were totally surpassed! This stuff is so fantastic: thick, spreadable, super chocolatey and super hazelnutty -- I was transported right back in time to my first mind-blowing bite of choco-hazelnut spread all over again.
I have been seriously grooving on this jar of spreadable joy: I've enjoyed it on toast (the classic!), with pretzels, and (most commonly) straight out of the jar. Before this jar is empty, I gotta make some crepes though -- because crepes filled with chocolate hazelnut spread is something wonderful that I haven't had in years. Anyway, even if I "accidentally" eat my way through this whole jar before I get around to making crepes, that will be okay because it will just give me a "reason" to buy more of this amazing Nocciolata.
I love this stuff and we enthusiastically give it 4 thumbs up!
(if dogs and cats could eat chocolate, I'm sure they would also give it 20 paws up)
Vegans Go Nuts Winner: Charj!
ps. I'm sorry I was gone from my blog for so long. It turns out that travelling to Italy for a month really throws me off my blogging game. Plus, as soon as I came home, our computer crashed and we had to buy a new one. Ack! I'm stoked to be back in action - AND I finally picked a winner for my giveaway of Joni & Celine's excellent cookbook "Vegans Go Nuts" - Comment #49 was Charj!