Few guilty pleasures command a ravenous following like Nutella. It's treasured by all, whether smeared on toast, in between a sandwich, atop a crêpe, frosted on a cake, or shoveled directly into your mouth with a spoon. My favorite recipe for Nutella has always been 1 spoon + 1 jar of Nutella + my mouth. It's hard to beat Nutella in its purest, richest form, all by itself. So when word got out that Chicago's Eataly would have the company's very first Nutella bar, there was pandemonium. It's a section of the store where naughty dreams come true and it's socially acceptable to binge on everyone's favorite obsession. Sure you could argue that it's easy enough just to smear Nutella on bread at home, but the novelty of experiencing it at a designated Nutella bar, with Disney World-like lines, is half the fun. The other half is stuffing Nutella'd panettone into your hungry mouth.
(Nutella bar eats at Eataly)
I feel a bit like a jerk for saying that the Nutella bar at Eataly is my favorite part of the store. Yes I have a sweet tooth, but it's still embarrassing to admit I prefer Nutella over pristine beef, seafood, cheese, wine, and pizza. Oops. Sorry, Italy. I love the option of having someone dredge Nutella over a muffin, a crêpe, a piece of house-baked bread, a piece of sweet and fruity panettone, or sandwich it between two brittle cookies. Creamy Nirvana. My favorite is probably the simplest. Like I said, I want my Nutella as pure and unadulterated as possible. Any simple way I can shovel it into my mouth is good by me. And it helps that Eataly's house-baked rustic bread is pretty minimal. It's well-baked and sturdy, with a pleasant wheaty flavor, but that's pretty much it. Just foreplay for the chocolate-hazelnut mixture that begs to be covered all over it. The combination is divine, with the bread barely tempering the innate indulgent richness of the Nutella.
- Matt Kirouac