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Weird February Holidays

We know February as the month of love and family because of Valentine’s and Family Days but there are a few other weird holidays I’m highlighting for you today.

World Nutella Day

A few days past but needed to capture this one since I'm in the place Nutella is everywhere. Therefore in honour of Nutella Day crack open a jar!

In Napoleon Bonaparte’s quest to concur Europe in 1806, he enacted a blockade that halted British trade. Due to this the flow of cocoa was interrupted and chocolatiers in Turin Italy found they couldn’t afford to make pure chocolate. Therefore they started adding hazelnuts to their chocolates in order to stretch out cocoa supplies.

Once again during World War II, cocoa became scarce and pastry maker Pietro Ferrero from Piedmont Italy saw an opportunity to create a sweet paste made of hazelnuts, sugar and a little bit of cocoa. He made loaves of this sweet paste and called “Giandujot” after a famous carnival character at the time. The Ferrero Company was founded soon after that on May 14, 1946. In 1951 the paste was made into spreadable form and it was called Supercrema. The recipe was improved and the first-ever new hazelnut and cocoa cream jar was created and Nutella was released on April 20, 1964. Later that year it was introduced to the UK and in 1965 the iconic jar was designed and launched in Germany. In 1978, the brand expanded into Australia and the first production plant outside of Europe was opened in Lithgow near Sidney.

In 1996 “Generation Nutella” was an event held in Paris to showcase art made by artists who grew up with Nutella and on May 29, 2005 Nutella participated in the largest continental breakfast in Gelserkirchen Germany. This breakfast made the Guinness Book of Records with 27,854 participating.

Sara Rosso started the first Nutella day on February 5th 2007. Lovers of Nutella were called to unite by Sara an Italo-American blogger. Since then World Nutella Day has been celebrated every year. Here is a video of Sara Rosso’s STORY.

Some fun facts about Nutella:

  • Made up 70% hazelnuts and 30% chocolate

  • To make is spreadable palm oil is added to the mixture

  • You can get sued under Italian law if you call Nutella chocolate cream because it doesn’t meet the requirements for cocoa solids

  • Ferrero uses 25% of the global hazelnut supply

  • There are about 50 hazelnuts in each jar of Nutella

  • If you refrigerate it the oils from the hazelnuts will harden, making it impossible to spread

  • There is a lot of sugar in Nutella, yes each tablespoon holds 100 calories of sugar. On the bright side there are 20 grams of protein in each jar

  • Nutella is sold every 2.5 seconds, enough to circle the globe 1.8 times

  • In 2015, a judge didn’t allow a French couple to name their daughter Nutella to save the girl from a lifetime of mockery and bullying

  • Ferrero’s brand also include Ferrero Rocher, Kinder, Tic Tac and 70 other brands world wide

As a child and even today I love Nutella plain slathered on a slice of bread. But I’ve also incorporated it in a couple of recipes. S’more Rosette and if you love chocolate then you need to try Chocolate Surprise Cookies.

National Pizza Day

Got to love the Italian theme this month! Let’s talk Pizza!

National Pizza Day celebrate the baked flatbread that is topped with tomato sauce and cheese and baked in the oven. This version of pizza was invented in Naples, Italy in the 10th century and since then the world has seen thin crust, deep dish, stuffed crust, Chicago-style and anything in between. The varieties go on forever and every country puts their own spin on the best pizza out there.

Even though Italy is credited for creating the first pizza, in actuality, in ancient times, Greeks and Egyptians were cooking a pizza like flatbread topped with oil in spices. Of course we need to know some fun facts about pizza.

  • In the US they eat 350 slices of pizza every second

  • The most expensive pizza in the world is by Luis XIII in Salerno, Italy at a price tag of $12,000

  • Most popular topping is pepperoni

  • First frozen pizza hit the market in 1962

  • Hawaiian pizza was invented in Canada by Sam Panopoulos in 1962

  • World Pizza Championships holds competitions on tossing, fastest dough, largest dough stretch, fastest pizza box folding and the pizza triathlon

  • First American pizza shop was Lombardi’s in New York City which opened in 1905

  • If you want to learn more about Pizza, search and you will see there are over 50,000 books

Of course I have a simple dough to make the perfect pizza that you can add any topping you want. Nothing beats homemade.

National Make a Friend Day

This one is interesting. A day dedicated to making a friend. Something we all need as they are life's most valuable asset. New friends give us opportunity to broaden our horizons and help us see things in a new perspective. Meeting new people sharpens our social skills and keeps us from becoming lonely.

Most times we align ourselves to friends that share common backgrounds and goals, but it's when we meet people that make us explore different opportunities that bring us joys we never could have imagined.

I couldn't find the actual date this holiday started and it is expected to have started as an online initiative of some sort. However I believe friendship is one of the strongest forces in the world and thought I'd share this important day. Here are some facts about friendship I found:

  • Only 1 of 12 friendships last a long period of time

  • Based on a poll, Americans have an average of 8 close friends

  • Most people will make 400 friends that come and go in their lifetime

  • According to science, not having friends is as bad to our health

  • Marriages last longer between people who have built their relationship on friendship

  • Friendships make people more empathetic

  • People who gain a new romantic partner may lose up to 2 of their friends

Let's step outside our comfort zone and meet someone new. And if you can't make a new friend, say hi to everyone you pass by today.

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