My teen son loves the spicy Cheetos, electronic music, and all things Japan. But most of all, he loves Nutella hazelnut-chocolate spread. So when I walked in the door with a bag full of hazelnut spreads, I scored major mom points.
“You trying to win the Mother of the Year award?” asked hubby Patrick.
“Don’t I own that award already?” I winked.
That night I sat down with my man and our two teens to try the hazelnut delights.
“May the Lord smite me with it and may I never recover!” quoted son in his best Fiddler on the Roof Tevye as he held a Nutella jar aloft.
“I’m not really a fan of hazelnut spreads,” admitted Patrick.
“Blasphemy!” I replied.
“Who invited you to this party, anyway?” replied teen son.
Nutella was our first spread, the gold-standard original ($3.09 for 13 ounces at Target).
“Never gets old.” My son licked his spoon. “I love the nuttiness.”
“‘Oh, I’m detecting nuttiness,’” my daughter quoted Emile the rat from Ratatouille.
“A lot of hazelnut-y goodness, ending with quality cocoa,” said Patrick.
We set it aside in the keeper pile.
Target’s Market Pantry Hazelnut Spread, the cheapest of all the spreads, was the sweetest ($2.79 for 13 ounces).
“I am just getting sweet, no hazelnuts,” said Patrick.
Signature Select Hazelnut Chocolate Spread from Vons didn’t fare much better ($3.89 for 13 ounces). “This tastes just like chocolate frosting,” said hubby.
“The thicker consistency may result in unoptimal spreading conditions,” stated son.
“Walmart Marketplace and Walmart were both sold out of their Great Value Hazelnut,” I said, telling the table why there was no Walmart hazelnut representation ($2.99 for 13 ounces). “So, I’m thinking it’s a keeper, since Walmart can’t even keep it on their shelves.”
“I did find Nutella Mini Cups, which will solidify my Mom of the Year Award,” I continued. “Ten individual mini cups, perfect sized to pop into lunches” ($3.28 for the ten-pack of .52-ounce packets at Walmart).
Choco Dream Hazelnut Cocoa Spread, made in Belgium, was a table favorite ($6.49 for 12.3 ounces at Whole Foods). “I like that I taste nuts flavored with a bittersweet chocolate rather than just sweet,” added Patrick.
“High-quality chocolate taste,” added daughter. That jar also landed with the keepers.
Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend didn’t fare as well ($14.49 for 16 ounces at Sprouts). “This has dry-roasted almonds in it also,” noted daughter.
“This tastes like it’s from another family other than the hazelnut family,” added Patrick. “And it’s chalky. And not sure I could justify shelling out $14 for a 16-ounce-sized dessert.”
“It’s salty and grainy,” said daughter, “and it doesn’t taste like a hazelnut spread, more like almond butter.”
“Nope,” said teen son, “so thick it’s not even washing off my spoon.”
There was disagreement among the tasters with Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread with Cocoa ($5.49 for 9.52 ounces at Whole Foods). “Smooth like butta,” said son, “I like the texture.”
“Tastes like store-bought frosting,” argued daughter, “and I’m not getting a lot of nutty taste, though I would use it for baking on cookies.”
The jar of Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Chocolate Hazelnut Butter touted a five-cent donation per jar to Bee Research fund to help Save Our Bees ($11.99 for 12 ounces at Whole Foods).
“We do need to save the bees,” I said, popping open the jar.
“This looks like Laura Scudder’s peanut butter with the oil sitting at the top,” noticed Patrick.
“Laura Scudder’s has my heart,” smiled son. “Hurry up with that mixing, Dad, I want some.”
“Are you going to cheat on Laura Scudder’s with Maisie Jane?” asked Patrick.
“Never,” replied son.
“I can smell the hazelnut from the messy drippings on the outside of the jar,” I offered, taking a lick.
“Gross, this has even the texture of grainy natural-style peanut butter,” daughter added. “Not what I am looking for with my hazelnut spreads.”
At the finish of the testing, the table still was divided on favorites.
“I think Nutella still reigns supreme with its perfect blend of sweet chocolate and hazelnut pungency,” declared son.
“I’m going with Choco Dream Hazelnut Spread,” countered daughter. “The high-quality chocolate finish makes it a winner.”
“Maise Jane has my heart,” added Patrick. “And it has the added bonus of helping to save the bees.”