Chocolate that you can spread on things is seen by many people as one of the great inventions of the modern age.
Chocolate spreads have become a staple in most Irish households, particularly if there is anyone living there under 25 (and sometimes 45). Children love it as a treat and many students virtually live on the stuff -- one friend in college would eat a whole jar during an evening study session; the equivalent in calories of three square meals.
I have always had a guilty liking for Nutella, partly as a result of visiting Piedmont in Northern Italy where giant 10kg jars are laid out on the breakfast buffet in most hotels of the region. The nutty chocolate smells wafting from the Ferrero Rocher factory pervade the countryside all around the historic Barolo wine region -- an association in my mind that has convinced me this must be a quality product. Sadly most spreads are made from sugar, whey powder and flavourings. All are high in calories -- even the lowest was still more than twice as calorific as the average pot of jam.
Green and Blacks Organic Chocolate Spread, €4.99 per 400g, 561cal
All organic ingredients, rich hazelnut and quality chocolate flavours. A more adult taste with cocoa evident. The best taste but five times the price of Aldi or Lidl. Only for those that really feel they are worth it! 8/10
Nutella, €2.15 per 400g, 530cal
Distinct taste of chocolate and hazelnuts -- the classic spread flavour and all the better for that. Made by Ferrero Rocher so suitable as a late-night snack with a glass of milk for when the ambassador stays over. 7.5/10
Cadbury, €3.59 per 400g, 570cal
Sweet, very spreadable chocolate bar with a familiar Cadbury taste. Sweet milky chocolate flavour, but it might be a little too sweet for some. So strictly for those who love their Dairy Milks! 7/10
Lidl Choco Nusa, €0.99 per 400g (calories not stated)
Sweet chocolate and distinct nutty flavour. The best of the discount spreads and a fantastic price. 6.5/10
Tesco Chocolate Spread, €1.55 per 400g, 580cal
Pleasant enough milk-chocolate flavour, sweet and rather bland. So-so. 5/10
Aldi, €0.99 per 400g, 562cal
Very sweet with some chocolate flavour. A little oily but not the worst. 4.5/10
Panda, €2.45 per 400g, 570cal
Tastes of cheap, sugary chocolate. For those with fond memories of stealing cooking-chocolate from mammy's cupboard. 3/10