Nutella and Old Lace

February 4, 2010

Tomorrow is World Nutella Day which celebrates the birth of the original hazelnut spread. Pietro Ferrero, an Italian pastry maker, invented this wonderful creation in the 1940s. He introduced hazelnuts into his confection to help stretch another ingredient, cocoa; which was in short supply due to World War II rationing. To this day Nutella is still made with hazelnuts, skim milk and only a hint of cocoa.

(Note: My family and friends are chuckling now because they know that only I can make a valid connection between Nutella and antique and vintage needlework. Please continue reading…)

Ferrero’s business was based in Alba, Italy in the Piedmont region. While searching for references to the needlework of that region I learned of Puncetto Valsesiano, a needle point lace from Valsesia. The Valsesian Folklore Museum in Bourgosesia houses a collection of this lace. Another area, Valle Varaita, is known for its’ bobbin lace.  

In my research I also found a wonderful book written by Elissa Ricci in 1913 entitled Old Italian Lace. This book, bound copies of which can be purchased used at amazon.com, is available free in its entirety online. Ricci relied on documents (e.g. inventories, trousseux lists and deeds belonging to “distinguished families apportioning property”) and pictures to put together her two-volume history. Volume 1 covers drawn thread, punto reticello and punto in aria while Volume 2 is devoted entirely to bobbin lace. The photographs are outstanding and her writing style is entertaining. To find the book go to http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~spok/metabook/oilace.html. It does take a minute or two to download each section but you can eat the Nutella while you wait!

By the way, if you would like more information on World Nutella Day go to http://www.nutelladay.com.

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4 Responses to “Nutella and Old Lace”

  1. Loved this entry, Lisa; thanks so much for participating 🙂

  2. […] Waddle of This Needlework of Mine draws an interesting connection between Nutella and Old Lace. Lisa focuses on Nutella’s home base in Piemonte to find a link. Creative! Grazie […]

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