There really are more important questions in the world now. But regardless of the great times and all the everyday problems, one question has plagued breakfast tables for decades: Nutella with butter or without? The rift runs through families, through shared apartments and also through the federal cabinet.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), something of an expert, considers both to be a “disgusting matter”. The Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, on the other hand: “If so, then of course with butter, really unhealthy.” On April 20th, the sugary fattening food – 81 calories in one spoon – turns 60 years old.

Whereby “butter or not?” is a typically German question. In Italy, the homeland of nut nougat cream, people generally place less value on breakfast and butter too. In return, people indulge in other extravagances: In Rome and elsewhere, Nutella is also served as a pizza, with powdered sugar on top. The combination is so powerful that it is only sold in small pieces, 1.20 euros each. That’s enough for many hours. In France, as we know from summer vacations, crêpes smeared with it are one of the most popular sweet sins.

Hazelnuts instead of cocoa powder

The first jar of Nutella rolled off the production line on April 20, 1964 in what was then a relatively small family business called Ferrero in Alba, a town in Piedmont. In the north of Italy, people began using ground hazelnuts instead of cocoa powder to make confectionery in the 19th century. This resulted in brown nougat cream, for example in the form of Gianduiotti pralines. The raw material was also available in the store as a spread. The company founder’s son, Michele Ferrero, then came up with the idea of ​​filling the whole thing into glasses.

In the early years it was called “Supercrema”. The breakthrough only came with the forced renaming in the 1960s, because since then nothing can be sold in Italy with the title Super: Nut- stands for nut, -ella is one of the classic Italian endings. The widow Maria Franca Ferrero revealed to the newspaper “Corriere della Sera” on Friday that the name was invented in Frankfurt am Main. Her husband thought of it in the hotel while waiting for a business lunch. He said immediately. “That’s the name of a product that will run all over the world.”

That’s how it happened. Today Ferrero (also: “Mon chéri”, “Ferrero Küsschen”, “Kinder Chocolate”) is a huge company with an annual turnover of more than 17 billion euros, which sells its products in almost every country in the world. 500,000 tons of Nutella are produced every year. Germans have always been among the most loyal customers. Nudossi’s competition from GDR times is still alive today.

From 13 to 51 percent nut

Nutella has long since become a synonym for all kinds of nut nougat spreads. There are dozens of different types on offer in Italian delicatessens: the more nuts (Nutella: 13 percent, others also 51 percent) and the less palm oil, the more expensive. The market is big enough. The Italian gastronomy expert Alberto Grandi says: “It is precisely the many copies that secure or increase the reputation of the original.” Although Nutella is a classic industrial product, it is still linked to the idea of ​​enjoyment and the Italian art of living.

After a few years of much criticism, Ferrero claims that it only uses palm oil from certified sustainable production. But environmentalists continue to make accusations – also because entire areas of Italy are being deserted by hazelnut monocultures. According to estimates, around a quarter of the world’s hazelnut production is now used for Nutella. Nutritionists, in turn, point out that a 400 gram glass contains 72 sugar cubes. Healthy is different.

Original recipe is kept secret

The company has always remained silent about the exact composition of the original. There are now a large number of recipes on the Internet for making your own products (“Crema alle nocciole – the best nut nougat cream in the world”), including vegan versions, for example with maple syrup, almond milk or coconut oil. Experts advise against this because the hazelnut pieces cannot be chopped up sufficiently in your own kitchen, the mass then becomes too warm and the oil burns.

In Germany, Nutella is one of the best-known brand names. It has long since found its way into everyday language – like Tempo for paper handkerchiefs. For a while in football, young national players were called Nutella Boys, which was also due to the fact that before important tournaments, collecting jars with prominent players were used to come out. Mats Hummels or Manuel Neuer in their younger years are still in the kitchen cupboard in some places.

Where does the name “Nutella gang” come from?

There used to be a pimping ring in Hamburg called the Nutella gang. This was mainly explained by the fact that the older competition wanted to make fun of the youngsters who were supposed to become big and strong. Two final questions remained: What is it actually called – the, the or the Nutella? That’s what the Duden decided. Everything is allowed. And then there’s the story of the refrigerator: inside or outside?