On Friday afternoon I received a very important text message from the Italian: ‘It’s Nutella’s 50th birthday and they’re celebrating in Alba! But we’re not invited…’
Since we were excluded from Ferrero’s hazelnut spread party I decided we should host a party on our own. When the Italian and I were in Alba a year and a half year ago, we loved the food-obsessed Piedmont town. The Barolo was magnificent and the Nutella smell that lingered in the air when we drove into the city centre was incredible. The Italian felt as if he would bump Willy Wonka when we drove passed the Nutella factory. We proclaimed Alba to be the happiest town in the world.
Hazelnuts can be found everywhere in Alba, especially as key ingredient for the local bakeries. The most wonderful surprise was seeing gigantic Baci di Dama in the shop windows. Baci di Dama is a hazelnut sandwich cookie, which means lady kisses and needless to say, they go excellent with coffee. Gotta love the Italians. Traditionally, Baci di Dama are bite-sized treats that melt in your mouth, however in Alba, they had gone for the ‘bigger is better’ approach. These hazelnut burgers were four times as big and filled with sticky sweet hazelnut spread. Obviously, we bought a bunch and ruined dinner that day.
When the Italian mentioned Alba and Nutella, I really wanted to recreate these wonders, which we have such fond memories of. I found a recipe by David Leibovitz and thought it would be easy peasy to make. Wrong. Although there are only four ingredients, they didn’t really want to stick together and the dough was quite crumbly, which made it difficult to shape. I had to repeat ‘patience is a virtue’ quite a few times.
However, I persevered and when the Italian finally tried the finished result, he exclaimed it was one of the top five best biscuits he’s ever eaten. People, this is a very good verdict, seeing as the man is a biscuit beast (or maybe I should say cookie monster). Instead of using dark chocolate, which the original recipe calls for, I used a hazelnut and dark chocolate spread. I didn’t go for Nutella in the end, but then, we weren’t invited to the party…