Almost gianduja

little hearts

I know you know what this is. You might not know the name (also spelled “gianduia”) but you know what it is. It’s the solid chocolate version of Nutella. It’s that creamy hazelnut chocolate that I fell in love with at Les Pralines Belges oh so long ago.

The inspiration

After managing to find a rather fetching bottle of hazelnut oil at Simon Johnson’s Subiaco store, I rejoiced. My mind wandered to this tasty treat of times past and I decided that I would make my own raw version of this Italian marvel. Just like that.

The recipe

I managed to find a really basic gianduja recipe online. I immediately set to work on a base of my raw chocolate, which I made without maca powder and with powdered panela (evaporated sugar cane juice) rather than agave syrup.

I added hazelnut oil, coconut butter and extra panela before pouring my hazelnut creation over whole/crushed hazelnuts and bee pollen.

my almost gianduja

The end result

It tasted hazelnutty, it tasted good; it didn’t taste like gianduja. The flavour burst out as a childlike chocolate-crackle-in-a-chocolate rather than the dreamy decadence I was chasing.

The post mortem

Where I went right:

  • Powdering the panela was a good move — plus the panela tasted more authentic than agave syrup.

Yep. That was the one thing I did right. I think. Oh, and the fact that I made a creamy raw chocolate that tasted good, even if it didn’t taste right…

Where I went wrong:

  • Even though I ground it very finely, using panela turned out to be a liability. It did not completely dissolve as refined sugar does.
  • Gianduja really has to be made with hazelnut paste. Hazelnut oil won’t do.
  • You don’t get the same flavour from raw hazelnuts. [And so my hopes for a raw gianduja were dashed. Just like that.]
  • I added too much coconut oil. That’s where the chocolate crackle flavour came from.

While it made for a fun afternoon, I can not foresee a second attempt at this particular experiment — unless I can figure out how to replicate a roasted nut flavour in its raw imitation.

Any bright ideas?

H 🙂

PS. A big thank you to my lovely friend Hayley for her assistance in the kitchen this afternoon 🙂



  1. Hannah, did you activate your Hazelnuts? Almonds taste roasted when activated so maybe Hazelnuts would too – you know, soak raw nuts for at least 12 hours and then dehydrate at low heat for at least a day. Your experiment sounds delicious just the same. Mum


    • Mum, you are a genius! I can’t believe I forgot to try something so simple when I am activating raw nuts all the time.

      Thanks for the reminder to go back to basics. It looks like attempt #2 is back on the horizon after all.

      H 🙂


  2. Nutella fans will be going crazy over this one, even if it didn’t turn out quite like you planned. 🙂 And I love that Simon Johnson store- I’m thinking I’ll make a beeline for that hazelnut oil since I haven’t been able to find it before and I’ve heard it works so well with salads and pastas.


    • Thanks for your comment, Bryt!

      If you can get your hands on some, hazelnut oil is really versatile – and I also love the delicate flavour of walnut oil for salads.

      H 🙂


    • Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer!

      Real gianduja is made with good quality dark chocolate as well as milk and roasted hazelnut paste, so it is bittersweet and nutty at once. Absolute late night comfort food.

      H 🙂


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