It’s no secret that I love dips, spreads, and condiments of all kinds. I regularly return from a grocery trip with a bag filled solely with cylindrical containers. (Almond butter, hummus, tahini, labneh, and chili garlic sauce; the five main food groups.) I run out of spoons even more quickly than I do clean socks in the winter.
Something about the unbridled and unadorned consumption of an amorphous, softly textured semi-solid brings me all the pleasure in the world. Call it an affinity for nursery food, or a disproportionate appetite for concentrated flavor—or call it nothing at all, and just hand me that jar of crunchy peanut butter.
For a long time, the popular hazelnut-cocoa spread Nutella—born in 1964 and popularized in the U.S. in more recent decades—was a stalwart in my lineup. It combined two of my most revered pantry staples: nut butter and chocolate. I ate it by the heaping spoonful, mostly, but also slathered onto warm toast, drizzled over ice cream, and as a dramatic costume-change for sliced fruit.
But at some point over the years, pantry products with fewer ingredients and I started to gravitate toward one another, like, well, natural cashew butter and raspberry chia jam. And I can’t put my (chocolate-covered) finger on why, exactly, but my at-home attempts at a mostly plant-based, refined sugar-free chocolate spread have never yielded quite the luxuriously silky, swirly texture evinced by a swoosh of Nutella on warm toast.
So when I came across Hella, a new three-ingredient vegan product from online wellness-oriented grocery marketplace Bubble, I didn’t have particularly high hopes. (Full disclosure: Bubble sent us product testers, though this post is not sponsored.)
But Bubble’s combination of hazelnut, coconut sugar, and cacao nibs blew me away.
It’s got a perfectly smooth, creamy mouthfeel, and a flavor that mimics the very best aspects of other hazelnut-chocolate spreads while offering a more simplified, sophisticated sweetness. And I wasn’t alone in finding the bottom of my jar rather quickly, apparently—Hella sold out within 48 hours of launch. (It’s since been restocked.)