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Three chocolate hazelnut desserts

If international Nutella sales are any indication, chocolate and hazelnut make a winning combination. When cocoa supplies were restricted in Italy in the 19th century, a chocolatier from Turin extended his stash by mixing it with cheap hazelnuts. Now this hazelnut chocolate known as gianduia (pronounced ‘jahn-doo-ya’) is beloved throughout Italy and beyond, and flavours gelati, cakes and confectionary. Nutella is just a creamy riff on the theme.

Pischinger torte (Photo: Stephanie Clifford-Smith)

21 Espresso

This stalwart cafe of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Jewish community hasn’t changed much over the decades, apart from dumping the old name, ‘The 21’. It’s all chopped liver, huge schnitzels, creamed spinach and continental cakes like the pischinger torte (AUD $12.50). Holy sweet tooth Batman, this is one deliciously dense slab of crisp wafers layered with chocolate and grated hazelnuts. Good thing they supply a steak knife to tackle it because you’d get nowhere with a spoon.

21 Knox Street, Double Bay, 02 9327 2616

Nutella soft serve at Tella Balls (Photo: Stephanie Clifford-Smith)

Tella Balls Dessert Bar

It’s worth a look at this place if only to see what the imagination of a Nutella-obsessed business partnership can conjure if not necessarily execute. Desserts including chocolate kebabs shaved off a doner-like cylinder, and the signature Nutella stuffed doughnuts lure families on weekends and teenagers after school. We tried a Nutella soft serve in a doughnut cone (AUD $7) and it was a train wreck. It must have started melting as soon as it was pumped into the greasy yet dry cone because it delivered torrents of liquid ice cream and chocolate from the get-go. The Nutella cheesecake(AUD $7) was smooth with a good crunchy base and was better behaved.

5/370 new Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill, 02 8384 4500

Zuccotto (Photo: Stephanie Clifford-Smith)

Gelato Messina

It’s almost a shame to mar the mirrored surface of the gianduia ganache coating by cutting into this signature ice cream cake but cut you must. (AUD $28, $48, $58). Inside you’ll get a triple hazelnut hit: twice in hazelnut and gianduia gelati and again in Frangelico liqueur anointing the sponge base. There’s all kinds of textural fun going on here too, all of which is improved along with the flavour by letting the cake sit in the fridge for half an hour before serving.

58 Mentmore Avenue, Rosebery (and branches) 02 9317 3191

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