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Gianduja hazelnut chocolate is a smooth paste made from hazelnuts, sugar and cocoa. This Italian paste can be used in many desserts (including cakes, mousses, crémeux, ice creams and so on) or as a ganache in chocolate bonbons and other pastries. It can also be enjoyed on its own as a spread.
With its melt-in-the-mouth, indulgent texture and strong aromatic power, Valrhona’s “Gianduja-Style” range has three products for all your professional uses. If you’re a home cook, you can read a recipe for homemade gianduja below and get some inspiration from the delicious desserts made by our chefs.
Origin and production
Gianduja or gianduia originates from the hazelnut-producing Piedmont region. It’s a tricky word to pronounce for people who don’t speak Italian. If in doubt, listen to gianduja’s pronunciation and show off in the kitchen!
Gianduja is made differently from praliné. Cocoa beans and hazelnuts are roasted separately at specific temperatures. The ingredients are then blended before being ground down and conched for several hours to develop their aromas and texture. The hazelnuts need to be ground for a long time to extract their fat and achieve gianduja’s characteristic texture.
Gianduja is at least one-third hazelnuts and 30-50% sugar, with the remainder made up of cocoa butter or beans. Hazelnuts are traditionally used, but they can be mixed with other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts. Milk and natural vanilla extract can be added to these three basic ingredients.
To use the terms “gianduja” or “chocolate with gianduja hazelnuts”, products sold in the European Union must be made from chocolate composed of at least 32% cocoa solids (including at least 8% fat-free cocoa solids) and be 20-40% finely ground hazelnuts. It may contain whole or crushed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, although these mustn’t make up more than 60% of the weight of the product (including the crushed hazelnuts mentioned above).
Gianduja can be varied to make it more chocolatey, sweet or nutty in flavor. Valrhona’s Gianduja-Style Hazelnut Pralinés are the perfect example:
- Dark 34% Hazelnut Gianduja has the highest cocoa content (28%). It’s much-loved for its great aromatic power, which leaves a similar impression to a sweetened dark chocolate.
- Milk 35% Hazelnut Gianduja contains a mixture of luxury cocoas and the highest milk content in the range (13%). Its melting texture and milky notes delight anyone with a taste for fine things.
- 39% Light Hazelnut Gianduja has the highest nut and sugar content (50%). This hazelnut paste stiffened with cocoa butter has vanilla notes and a sweet touch.
Homemade gianduja recipes often replace cocoa with milk or dark chocolate, but you could certainly experiment with a white chocolate or a blond Dulcey.
You will be able to prepare delicious desserts and confectionery whether you use homemade gianduja hazelnut chocolate or our Gianduja-Style Hazelnut Pralinés. Check out two gianduja-based recipes created by our chefs for your inspiration.
Light gianduja chocolate mousse
First, we have a recipe for a light chocolate mousse by L’École Valrhona. This one uses Valrhona’s Gianduja-Style, but of course you can adapt it if you have prepared a homemade gianduja.
You will need:
- 500g full-fat milk
- 1000g UHT cream (35% fat)
- 750g Dark 34% Hazelnut Gianduja-Style
- 8g gelatin
If you’d prefer to make a milk chocolate mousse, use 800g of milk Gianduja-Style and 9g of gelatin.
- Make a whipped cream with the 35% fat cream.
- Heat the whole milk.
- Rehydrate the gelatin and add it to the warm milk.
- Start melting your gianduja, but don’t let it melt completely.
- Gradually pour the hot milk into your partially melted gianduja, mixing them together with a spatula or whisk.
- Blend if necessary until it’s perfectly emulsified and has a smooth texture.
- The dough must be 85/95°F (23/25°C).
- When the temperature is right, pour the mixture into your frothy whipped cream.
- Immediately pour your gianduja chocolate mousse into freezable molds.
- Freeze your mousses until ready to use.