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Tuesday’s Project: Nicole Plue’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Gianduja

First things first, gianduja needs some clarification.

Gianduja is NOT Nutella. Nutella is a form of gianduja. Gianduja is the term for the Northwest Italy (Piedmont, Torino…) dessert specialty that combines chocolate with nut butter, most commonly hazelnut. The usual ratio for chocolate to nut butter in gianduja treats are 3:1, where the chocolate is the central narrative, accented by hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, or whatever nuts you so desire.

Chocolate- Peanut Butter Gianduja

Chocolate- Peanut Butter Gianduja

In simple terms, gianduja is a nut-enhanced chocolate. So, you hear about gianduja ice cream, gianduja truffles, gianduja cakes, and the list goes on. In a way those are factually correct. To actually be correct however, that gianduja ice cream flavor should be called “hazelnut gianduja” and the chocolate cake with almond butter is an “almond gianduja” flavored cake.

We understand though that the absolute majority of gianduja products are hazelnut-based, hence the connotation with that irresistible Italian hazelnut spread.

It’s a confusing term, sort of one of those “sure, why not?” cooking words that might have an official definition, but really has been used for so many slightly differing recipes that the term simply describes a concept now. That would be the beautiful sweet marriage of chocolate and nuts.

Oh, and you don’t pronounce the “G” or the “J.” It’s zh-awn (like Shawn with a “Z”)-DOO-yuh. I can’t tell you how many times when I went gelato tasting around Rome a few years ago, I would cluelessly obliterate the correct pronunciation. (more…)