Happy 50th Birthday, Nutella!

On April 20, 1964, Ferrero launched Nutella, a reformulation and rebranding of their earlier product, Supercrema.

(1908) Auguste Chevalier on Adulteration with Cacao Shell

In the June 1908 Les Végétaux Utilies de l’Afrique Tropicale Française (“Le Cacaoyer dans l’Ouest Africain”), Auguste Chevalier writes:

Comme une addition des coques au chocolat ou à la poudre de cacao, mème pour les produits bon marché, est considérée comme falsification, les coques de cacao ne peuvent pas être employées dans la chocolaterie. (20)

[Since the addition of cacao shells to chocolate or to cocoa powder—even for cheap products—is considered an adulteration, cacao shells cannot be utilized in chocolate-making.]

(1874) French Medical Dictionary on Adulteration with Cacao Shell

From the 1874 Dictionnaire Encyclopédique des Sciences Médicales (entry on chocolate by Dr. Fonssagrives):

Quoi qu’il en soit, la coque de cacao n’est pas le fève de cacao, et cette substitution doit être poursuivie toutes les fois qu’elle se déguise sous la fausse étiquette de chocolate. (730)

[In any event, cacao shell is not cacao bean, and this substitution should be hounded whenever it disguises itself under the false label of chocolate.]

(1921) Dictionary of Applied Chemistry on Cacao Shell Adulteration

From the 1921 A Dictionary of Applied Chemistry (Vol. 2, ed., Edward Thorpe; London):

The shells form a low-priced product extensively used, after grinding, in the cheaper grades of cocoa and chocolate, and occasionally, under the name of ‘cocoa tea,’ as a beverage which has the taste and flavour of weak cocoa.  Cocoa shells have proved to be a useful addition to feeding stuffs, especially for milch cows, and gave good results on the experimental farms of Canada when used as manure.

(1897) Reference-Book on Practical Therapeutics on Adulteration with Cacao Shell

From an article on “Cocoa” by Dr. Floyd M. Crandall in the 1897 Reference-Book of Practical Therapeutics (ed. Dr. Frank P. Foster):

Chocolate and cocoa, like most complex manufactured articles are frequently adulterated. … An excessive amount of fibre, due to the admixture of an undue proportion of the shells, is sometimes found.

"It was left for time and experience, those two great masters, to show that chocolate prepared with care is as healthful as it is agreeable. That it is nourishing, easily digested, and is not so injurious to beauty as coffee is said to be. It is very suitable to persons who have much mental toil, to professors and lawyers—especially to lawyers."

— Brillat Savarin (The Physiology of Taste; or Transcendental Gastronomy)

Qui (Austin, Texas)



Cheese & cracker.


Kare kare.

Dinuguan & gnocchi.

Smoked short rib.


(1868) English Chocolate Ads Eschewing Cacao Shell Adulteration

From the January 18, 1868, issue of The Lancet, ads from Snowden’s and Cadbury’s that tout the absence of cacao shell in their products.


(1874) The Barbarism of Grinding Cacao Shell with Nibs in England

In the March 13, 1874, issue of Journal of the Society of Arts, Dr. John Holm wrote: 

For many years after the introduction of raw cocoa into England, its manufacture was conducted in a very rude matter, no attempt being made to separate the husk of the cocoa nut from the nib.  The mode of manufacture was to grind the whole bean with sugar and farinaceous substances. …Another form of cocoa, called flake, was also much used, and this consisted only of the cocoa beans, shell, and nib, crushed in a mill into the form of flakes.

Notwithstanding the inherent value of the food, none of these productions, however, met with any great consumption.  They were all expensive, but the finer cake chocolates were of so high a price as to be only obtainable by the wealthy.  The cocoas, besides being dear, were also unpalatable, and owing to the presence of the husk, very indigestible and irritating to the internal mucous membranes….

From the first, [Mr. Daniel Dunn] discarded, in his preparations, the barbarism of grinding up the husk with the cocoa nib, a practice both wasteful and unwholesome. (360-1)

(1874) George Cadbury on Cacao Shell Adulteration

In questioning before the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Adulteration of Food Act, George Cadbury (son of Cadbury’s founder John Cadbury, and then-partner of the business) testified against the fraud of including cacao shell in chocolate:

Q: Still, the shell is part of the cocoa nut?

A:  Yes, but it is not what we should consider the wholesome part of the cocoa nut.

Q:  Still, it pays duty equally with the kernel?

A:  Yes, it does.

Q:  I suppose if all the cocoa shell that had been taken out of the best preparations were mixed in with the flake cocoa, that is to say, not only its own proportion of shell, but all the rest of the shell when flaked into the cocoa, you would call it genuine?

A:  The public would not call it so when they tasted it.  They would find it out at once.  But it would be cocoa, and we should consider it a fraudulent admixture.

Q:  Why fraudulent, if it paid the full cocoa duty?

A:  Because it would be substituting an inferior article and a bad article, for the sake of extra profit.