Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Science: It's meant to be licked

There are many pressing questions in the world today that deeply affect our lives but for which we have little information. There are choices that we must make but may not feel well informed enough to do it right. There are options we might not be aware of because what we have is good enough.

That's right; I'm talking about the burgeoning "healthy"* chocolate-milk-hazelnut market. I'm here to answer your burning questions on chocolatey goodness in a jar. You're welcome.

In the interest of science, I took it upon myself to investigate. The three that I found were Jif Chocolate-Flavored Hazelnut Spread, Kroger Creamy Hazelnut Spread with Cocoa and of course the original -- Nutella. I used different spoons and knives and cleansed my palate in between brands with crackers and water. I rated each brand on a scale of 1-10 on a number of different categories. Also, my taste buds have been finely tuned through the years to pick out the nuances of various chocolate treats. Machines could not develop what my taste buds could do.

And I really, really had a good time doing it. Let's jump in, shall we?

First, the categories:
Spreadability -- 1 is a brick, 10 heaven.
Creaminess -- 1 is granite, 10 heaven.
Taste -- 1 is the grossest thing you've ever scraped off the bottom of your shoe, 10 heaven.
Chocolateyness -- 1 is tofu, 10 heaven.
Hazelnuttiness -- 1 is a jar of mixed nuts that's 98.7 percent peanuts, 10 heaven.
Mouth feel -- 1 is that oyster I tried to eat that was hard and squishy in all the wrong places, 10, well, you know what's coming here.


Jif
Nutella
Kroger
Spreadability
7
8
8 (kind of liquidy)
Creaminess
8
9
6
Taste
7
9
8
Chocolateyness
7
8
6
Hazelnuttiness
9
7
8
Mouth feel
8
8
7
# of minutes in which I could empty the jar using only my tongue and a spoon
90 (It’s a bigger jar. These things take time.)
65 (You can’t rush pigging out on a jar of Nutella. It’s immoral.)
45 (You might not actually need a spoon for this; it might just slide down like rich, thick, hazelnutty cocoa.


You'll notice little variation, and I have a logical explanation for that. We're talking basically about jars of creamy chocolate that also tastes like hazelnut. It's hard to mess up that recipe. While in my estimation the original is still the best, it's not like the other two are bad. They're just what I'll take my spoon to after I've finished the jar of Nutella.

To ensure my results were good, I tested each one a number of times. No, really, a lot. But just to be sure, you should probably do the experiment yourself.** If you're feeling really crazy, Kroger even has a chunky version. Happy tasting ... er, testing!




* I've seen the Nutella commercial, and it is technically correct -- if you put a tiny amount of Nutella on a piece of whole wheat bread and drink skim milk and eat strawberries, it is part of a healthy breakfast. What the commercial doesn't say is that it is literally impossible to eat that little Nutella at a time.
** Feel free to hit me up if you need additional tasters -- I mean testers. I am always willing to help out science.

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