Some people call them bonbons. I call them fancy chocolate balls. Whatever name you use, they’re delicious. Ferrero Rocher are a staple in many homes during the holidays or when you just want to treat yourself to something nice. In an attempt to class up my holiday family experience, it’s time for me—and all of us—to learn about these decadent orbs wrapped in gold.
What is Ferrero Rocher?
Ferroro Rocher is a type of chocolate-hazelnut candy. If you can’t tell by the name, Ferrero Rocher bonbons are Italian. Well, at least the Ferrero part is. The name comes from the chocolate’s inventor, Michele Ferrero, a second generation Italian chocolatier who also created Nutella (the man really had a thing for hazelnuts and chocolate). So now we have two reasons to bow down to this genius.
Ferrero created this bonbon in 1979. He slapped his name on it and added Rocher—the French word for rock—as a reference to a Catholic shrine called Rocher de Massabielle, a grotto in France where the Virgin Mary is said to have once made an appearance. Our dude Michele was a big-time churchgoer. (But if you don’t want to bring religion into your chocolate habit, the name also makes sense if you think about the craggy little chocolates as tasty rocks.)
By 1982, Ferrero Rocher was widely available in Europe and it arrived on American shores in 1988. Mostly associated with the Christmas candy and New Year seasons, the chocolate gained popularity as an inexpensive way for us blue-collar types to feel fancy. It works; I feel like a gosh darn king when I bite into one.
What is in a Ferrero Rocher?
Like a delicious, chocolate onion, this thing has layers. There is a whole dang hazelnut at the core, which is encased in a chocolate ball. That ball is then encased by a thin layer of wafer cookie; this gives the bonbon its iconic crunch. Finally, the whole thing is dipped in chocolate and chopped hazelnuts, creating an exterior as rocky as the Alps.
Here’s the deets on the ingredients: milk chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, skim milk powder, butter oil, lectin (soy), vanillin, hazelnuts, palm oil, wheat flour, whey (milk), low fat cocoa powder, sodium bicarb, and salt.
Are Ferrero Rocher gluten and peanut free?
There are no peanuts in Ferrero Rocher, only hazelnuts. And since hazelnuts are tree nuts, people with peanut allergies should be in the clear. Sadly, Ferrero Rocher are not gluten-free because they contain wheat flour and soy.
How do you pronounce Ferrero Rocher?
The name mixes two languages—Italian and French—so you have to approach each part a little differently. Ferrero is pretty straightforward; think of the word Ferrari but just change out the last two vowels. Feh-rare-roh. The French love to drop letters, especially Rs at the end of their words. So you pronounce Rocher as row-shay.
If you put a little stank on the name, you’ll impress your aunts and uncles at Christmas dinner.