In honor of World Nutella Day on February 5th, I offer this recipe of a friend of ours for Nutella Semifreddo. For those of you who are Nutella novices, World Nutella Day was created by American expats Sara and Shelly in 2007, and Michelle joined the fun in 2008. Nutella Day has inspired many of us to come up with Nutella creations to celebrate the day. Nutella is a wonderfully addicting chocolate hazelnut spread that my children consume frequently in their sandwiches. However, the nutty sweetness of the mixture lends itself to many preparations and there are a variety of recipes on the web. A word of caution, the European version of Nutella is slightly less sweet than the American version, but both are delightful. Nutella was created in 1940 by baker Pietro Ferro as a way to extend the chocolate supply in post World War II rationed Italy. His invention was so delightful that it now has worldwide distribution!

Last fall Giuliano taught by himself at our cooking course at Villa Giona. Now that, our oldest daughter, Gabriella is in 6th grade, we’ve realized that we can no longer pull her from school and go as a family as we used too. I must admit a bit of trepidation, Giuliano and I usually team-teach the course and I’m the one who smoothes out any ruffles. One of the courses had been bought out by a group of ladies from a country club in Huston Texas. Now I knew the ladies would be lovely; however, Giuliano didn’t even know what a Lilly Pulitzer was. Fortunately, all went well, the ladies adored him and even had matching aprons made (should I be jealous?). After the week, they said that it was one of the best vacations they had ever experienced. While Giuliano was away, I attended the BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco. An Italian friend of ours offered to fly to Sarasota to take care of our kids. Of course, the fact that she would get a two-week vacation on the beautiful beaches didn’t hurt, however, it was an EXTREMLY generous offer, and we jumped at the chance.

Like most Italians that I’ve met, our friend Lorella Cappellato, loves to cook. Half of her luggage contained Italian ingredients that are not yet possible to get in the States. She also brought loads of recipes to make with the girls. My girls were excited because Lorella is a baker and loves to make cakes and candies. Her pièce de resistance is her Nutella Semifreddo.

For those of you who think Nutella is just a sandwich spread, you are in for a treat. This is a sweet and creamy dessert that the kids love, yet is sophisticated enough for adults too. Lorella made it as a semifreddo in a glass for the adults, she then surrounded it with chocolate and created popsicles for the kids. Semifreddo in Italian means half frozen, and this recipe had the lightness of meringue mixed with the sweet flavor of Nutella. A fun dessert for the entire family.


Nutella Semifreddo

Adapted by me, Lael Hazan from Lorella Cappellato’s recipe in Italian

1 cup heavy cream

2 oz meringue Italiana (see below)

2 tablespoons of Nutella

Whip cream until firm peaks are formed

Mix whipped cream and meringue together.

Add Nutella and whip until mixture is smooth and creamy.

Pour into small dessert goblets,

Decorate as you wish, for adults you may want to add pistachios, for the kids perhaps sprinkles or chocolate chunks.

Freeze. It won’t get too hard.

Meringue Italiana

Makes 2 cups

1 cup egg whites

2 cups sugar

½ cup water

1. Mix 1 ½ cups sugar with water on top of stove until it boils.

2. In bowl, mix egg whites with ½ cup sugar until combined.

3. Slowly add sugar mixture into egg whites a little bit at a time. Continue mixing until the mixture forms peaks. Around 10 minutes on high speed.

To make Nutella popsicles.

Put Nutella semifreddo mixture into marshmellow sized silicon mold, insert small sticks, and freeze.