Introducing Nocciolata, Italy's Eco-Conscious Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Watch out, Nutella — there's a new spread in town.

Named after the Italian word for hazelnut, Nocciolata is an organic chocolate-hazelnut spread that tastes great while limiting damage to the environment. If Nutella is a factory-farmed, big-brand bovine, Nocciolata is a heritage, grass-fed heifer.

Made with care at a small, family-run company, Rigoni di Asiago, this gourmet spread takes 36 hours to prepare. Organic ingredients — top-notch cocoa and cocoa butter, hazelnut paste, skim milk, vanilla, and raw cane sugar — infuse each spoonful with rich flavor. Nocciolata is a delicious toast topper, crêpe filler, and pancake partner. Spread some on fruit for a wholesome snack or simply scoop out a bite for a one-spoon treat.

Nocciolata is made with cold-pressed sunflower oil, unlike Nutella, which uses controversial palm oil. Recently, palm oil has come under attack by the European Food Safety Authority, which proclaimed it to be a "potentially carcinogenic contaminant." Palm oil production also has a negative impact on the environment, causing deforestation and threatening wildlife as tropical forests are converted into oil palm plantations.

Nutella claims palm oil is essential for providing a smooth texture and lengthening shelf life. Nocciolata refutes this claim with its creamy consistency, which my chocoholic niece, Syla, confirmed in my own un-official scientific study. Nocciolata "feels smooth in my mouth," she proclaimed, praising the "super, super, super yummy" spread. Three times a "super" equals one pleased palate!

Kids of all ages appreciate Nocciolata. The gluten-free, kosher spread is also available in a dairy-free version for vegans and lactose-free eaters to enjoy. You can find all the versions in grocery stores across America (like Whole Foods and Sprouts) and online.