The Nutella And Cheese Pairing You'd Never Expect And How To Serve It

Cheese and chocolate are two things you would never expect to see sitting next to each other in a sentence, let alone used in your food .... together. Though it may seem like an odd pairing at first, the combination of cheese and chocolate is pretty common in some parts of the world.

In Columbia, cheesy hot chocolate or chocolate santafereño is made with milk, chocolate, and a little white cheese. The Indonesian martabak manis, which are stuffed pancakes, use cheese and chocolate for a sweet, savory, and umami-rich filling. Germans, on the other hand, have a drunken weakness for Nutella and cheese sandwiches after a night of heavy drinking. There's another European country fond of these sweet and savory sandwiches.

Italy has a reputation for being extremely passionate about its traditional food preparations. Italians were furious at Nigella Lawson for using pancetta, wine, cream, and parmesan in her carbonara, per The Huffington Post, and Twitter is filled with scathing judgments against anybody who even dares break spaghetti into two (via Vice). So how could this particular Nutella and cheese combination — which should have been blasphemous — win the favor of Italians? The answer; it simply tastes that good!

Nutella and cheese are surprisingly good sandwich fillings

A lightly toasted or grilled sandwich known as a panino is a typical afternoon snack in Italy, but its filling is not always made of meat, cheese, and tomatoes. Often, the savory fillings are swapped for a layer of Nutella and gorgonzola cheese. Piccante gorgonzola, with its rich umami flavor and firm and crumbly texture, goes particularly well with the soft chocolate spread. The result is an extremely rich panino that's both sweet and salty, with the nuttiness of the hazelnut spread and the sharp and earthy flavors of the aged cheese. 

Gorgonzola isn't the only cheese that's eaten with chocolate in Italy, though. The owner of the Puglia-based Semeraro Dairy tells La Cucina Italiana that a ball of mozzarella filled with Nutella has long been a favorite among locals. Mozzarella generally oozes a creamy milk filling when sliced, but Semeraro's version reveals a river of silky Nutella that's sometimes mixed with cream for a more decadent filling.

While the unconventional Nutella-filled mozzarella is already raising eyebrows in Italy and is hard to replicate at home, a blue cheese and Nutella sandwich is a great way to taste the cheese and chocolate combination. Broklyn-based restaurateur Joe Carroll prefers the Italian cheese stracchino with Nutella for a softer and creamier filling. Or, you could always make it the way Italians do: with Italian bread, Nutella, and gorgonzola for a filling panino.