Shabbat Surfing: Nutella

One of my favorite things about working at the J is our once a month staff Shabbat in the Q Street Lobby. We gather together at the end of the afternoon to say prayers, sing some songs and eat challah spread high with Nutella.

As I was getting ready for work this morning, NPR aired a story about the California mom who sued the maker of Nutella for falsely advertising the chocolate hazelnut spread as a healthy choice. I smiled as I remembered that today is a staff Shabbat day and reminded myself to follow my mother’s mantra of “everything in moderation” and to try my hardest to use a reasonable amount of Nutella on my challah.

When I was in Israel last year, I indulged in bread with the chocolate spread Hashahar Ha’oleh nearly every morning. It is a bit different than Nutella but equally as delicious. The makers of the spread are a family business headquartered outside of Haifa and they make three varieties: classic dairy, parve and nut. Their sales double during the two months around Passover, as the spread serves as a perfect matzo topping.

It is a good thing Hashahar is so delicious because Israelis pay about 20% more for Nutella than we do in the United States. Kashrut approval and importing the product impact the price in Israel, of course, but it doesn’t mean that Israelis will blindly accept the higher prices. In 2008, Nutella was at the center of a very different class action lawsuit in Israel than its maker just settled in the US. Its Israeli importer was forced to give out 91 tons of Nutella for free after consumers rose up and protested the fact that jars were reduced in size but not in price.

Nutella lends itself so well to inclusion into Jewish holidays, that it’s no wonder it is so popular here, in Israel, and around the world:

Nutella braided into challah

Donuts filled with Nutella 

Nutella Hamentaschen

Nutella Rugelach

If you’re here at 16th and Q on a Friday afternoon and find us celebrating in the lobby, please come join us.  Shabbat Shalom!

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