Nutella Day spreads to Chicago

Nutella, originally from Italy, is a connecting centerpiece for Multilingual Connection’s Italian lessons.

By Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

Chocolate and hazelnut will transcend cultural boundaries Feb. 16 from 1 p.m.— 4 p.m. at 2518 W. Armitage Ave.

Multilingual Connections will host the Chicago Nutella Day party, a Nutella-themed party with Nutella-inspired games and treats while teaching beginner-level Italian lessons.

“We believe strongly in the connection between language, food and culture,” Multilingual Connections Vice President of Operations Hilary Hodge said.

Inspired by World Nutella Day, which is Feb. 5, Hodge said the Chicago Nutella Day party is a way of connecting Valentine’s Day events to Italian language and culture. According to Hodge, not only will the event provide loads of Nutella goodness, but it will also offer Italian classes for all ages.

The event will host unique Nutella confections from local restaurants including Black Dog Gelato, 859 N. Damen Ave.

Black Dog Gelato’s Catering and Special Event Manager Chelsea Avery said they would offer a gelato with a Nutella base sprinkled with salted pretzels.

“We opened our doors in the summer of 2009,” Avery said. “We make artisanal gelato, which means we make it from scratch.”

With news of the many vendors at the event and the chance of eating lots and lots of Nutella, Multilingual Connections Kids Center Manager Elise Walker said she will join in the many festivities.

“I am definitely going to the event,” Walker said. “I love Nutella and I am a firm believer there is no wrong way to eat Nutella.”

Walker is not just teaching different languages but is using the festival to “spread” the love of Nutella to other Chicagoans. According to Walker, she is bringing the word not only to her students, but to fellow teachers, friends and clients. It has even reached Facebook.

“This is a public event that is open to all of Chicago,” Walker said.

Despite the mountains of heavy snow heaped upon 2011’s Chicago Nutella Day party, the turnout for the event and the responses were still positive, demonstrating Chicago’s appreciation for the creamy hazelnut spread.

“We only had one so far, but we decided to do it again this year,” Hodge said. “We have just been getting so many phone calls from people who came to that last one who wanted us to do this again.”

At the first Nutella event in 2011, Avery said the store handed out free gelato from a limited supply and still ran out, even though the weather was bad.

This year’s event will feature a wide array of desserts made by many vendors.

“We are dedicated to connecting people through language to their communities,” Hodge said. “We hope that by inviting people to our space they can check out the organization and realize there is this great nexus of culture.”