Nutella No More: The Death of an Italian Candyman

If you don’t know Michele Ferrero by name, then you certainly know him by his most famous products, Nutella and Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Born in the Piedmont region, Ferrero showed early signs of entrepreneurial prowess by inventing the Nutella spread in 1964, eighteen years after the company was founded by his father, Pietro, a pastry maker in his own right.

The mythical candyman himself
The mythical candyman himself
Although Pietro Ferrero had developed the precursor spread to Nutella, called Giandujot (named after the popular Italian hazelnut flavor gianduja), it wasn’t until Michele perfected it that the Ferrero company became a truly competitive enterprise. In 2008, Michele even surpassed the Italian parody known as Silvio Berlusconi in wealth, going on to become the twentieth richest person in the world.
Retro Italian Nutella ad
Retro Italian Nutella ad

His death on Valentine’s Day, the ultimate chocolate lover’s feat, seems somewhat fitting, allowing him to go out on top on one of the company’s most profitable days. His legacy as a passionate, Catholic-devoted (there’s a Madonna in every Ferrero factory) man is proof that there’s hope for the modern chocolatier, provided he’s willing to roll up his sleeves a little. Indeed, Ferrero put Willy Wonka to shame.

 

 

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