Having exhausted all the most basic flavors of chocolate–dark, plain, white, with nuts– M&Ms have been looking further afield for limited-edition flavors, with some as unusual as “carrot cake.” But next year, People reports, they’re incorporating everyone’s favorite European hazelnut-chocolate spread…or rather, a close copy of it that they can’t legally call Nutella. Though it pretty much is. Often used as a sandwich spread in Europe, and favored over here as a dessert and pancake topping in fancier restaurants, Nutella is based on an older Italian spread called Gianduja that used hazelnuts in the Napoleonic Wars era to make the chocolate rations go further. Nutella’s version uses palm oil as a base, and the nutty flavor has come to have its own unique appeal beyond that of cocoa extender. M&Ms, coincidentally, also trace their origins back to a European wartime setting, when Forrest Mars saw Spanish Civil war soldiers in eating the UK’s original candy-coated chocolates, called Smarties, and decided America needed its own.
Nutella’s parent company Ferrero has already put hazelnut spread inside a chocolate coating in a higher-end form you know as Ferrero Rocher, but M&Ms should be somewhat more affordable, and will undoubtedly feature zanier commercials. You can still sprinkle them on your pancakes, but now you no longer need a batter-based excuse, if you ever did (it’s okay; everyone eats from the jar).
Are you counting down till next spring when you can enjoy soft-centered, hazel-nutty confections that don’t melt in your hand? Tell us in comments below.