Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo Recipe: Indulge in This Rich, Italian Dessert

Tartufo originated in the Calabria region of Italy in the early 20th century. Specifically, it’s often attributed to the town of Pizzo, where legends say an innovative local ice cream maker created the dessert for a special occasion. By shaping gelato into a ball, hiding a cherry and nut center inside, and coating it with cocoa powder or melted chocolate, the creator offered a unique twist on traditional ice creams.

Evolution of the Chocolate Hazelnut Flavor

The classic Tartufo recipes included fruits like cherries and nuts. However, modern adaptations infused new flavors to cater to evolving tastes. The chocolate hazelnut variation has become particularly popular due to its rich and decadent combination. By incorporating the beloved gianduja—chocolate mixed with ground hazelnuts—into the creamy center, this version elevated the Tartufo to new heights. Today, this flavor is one of the most sought-after versions of the dessert, appealing to both traditionalists and contemporary dessert enthusiasts alike.

Key Ingredients of Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo

Importance of Quality Chocolate

Quality chocolate forms the foundation of a perfect Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo. High-grade chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa content, ensures a rich and intense flavor. Premium brands often produce chocolate with a smooth texture and a balanced blend of cocoa solids and cocoa butter, which are crucial for achieving a creamy mouthfeel. Opt for couverture chocolate, known for its high cocoa butter content, for the best results. Using fine chocolate not only enhances the taste but also the texture and appearance of the dessert.

Role of Hazelnuts in the Flavor Profile

Hazelnuts bring a unique, nutty richness to Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo. Their natural sweetness and slight bitterness complement the chocolate’s depth, creating a harmonious balance. Roasting hazelnuts before incorporation intensifies their flavor and adds a pleasant crunch. They contribute to the gianduja center, a blend of chocolate and ground hazelnuts, offering a creamy and luxurious texture. Hazelnut pieces are often used as an outer layer, adding both flavor complexity and visual appeal. Choosing fresh, high-quality hazelnuts ensures the best taste experience.

Making Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo at Home

Necessary Equipment and Ingredients

To make Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo at home, gather both the necessary equipment and ingredients. A few essential tools and fresh components will ensure the dessert turns out perfectly.


  • Ice cream scoop: For shaping the gelato balls.
  • Mixing bowls: For combining ingredients and creating the gianduja mixture.
  • Baking sheet: For chilling the formed tartufo.
  • Parchment paper: For easy removal and less mess.
  • Plastic wrap: To cover the gelato balls during freezing.
  • Double boiler: For melting chocolate coating.


  • 2 pints of chocolate gelato: For the base of the tartufo.
  • 1 cup of roasted hazelnuts: For the coating and added crunch.
  • 4 oz of gianduja chocolate: For the rich, creamy center.
  • 1 cup of heavy cream: To make the gianduja center smooth.
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate (70% cocoa): For the outer coating.
  • 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder: For dusting.

Step-by-Step Preparation Guide

Creating the perfect Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo involves several steps, each ensuring the dessert’s authenticity and flavor.

  1. Prepare the Gianduja Center: Melt gianduja chocolate using a double boiler, stir in heavy cream until smooth, then chill until firm.
  2. Form Gelato Balls: Scoop chocolate gelato into balls, make a center indentation, and fill with the chilled gianduja mixture. Cover the gianduja with more gelato, shaping it into a ball.
  3. Freeze Gelato Balls: Place formed balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 2 hours.
  4. Coat with Hazelnuts: Finely chop roasted hazelnuts. Roll the frozen gelato balls in the chopped hazelnuts until fully coated.
  5. Apply Chocolate Coating: Melt dark chocolate using the double boiler. Dip each hazelnut-coated gelato ball into the melted chocolate. Place back on parchment paper to set.
  6. Final Touch: Dust the tartufo with unsweetened cocoa powder once the chocolate coating is firm.

Using this guide, you’ll recreate the authentic Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo, ensuring a delicious and visually appealing dessert.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Best Practices for Presentation

Presenting Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo requires attention to detail. Place tartufi on chilled dessert plates to keep them from melting quickly. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate or a hazelnut sauce for an elegant touch. Garnish each serving with whole roasted hazelnuts or chocolate shavings to enhance visual appeal. Use fresh mint leaves or edible flowers for an extra pop of color.

Pair Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo with complementary beverages to elevate the dessert experience. Serve with a rich espresso or cappuccino to balance the tartufo’s sweetness. For alcohol pairings, consider a glass of Port or a nutty, full-bodied red wine like Amarone. These beverages enhance the chocolate and hazelnut notes, creating a harmonious flavor profile.

Health Benefits and Dietary Considerations

Nutritional Components of Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo

Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo offers a mix of essential nutrients. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids which can reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Hazelnuts contribute healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium.

115 grams of Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo provides:

  • Calories: 300
  • Fat: 22g (of which saturated fat: 8g)
  • Carbohydrates: 27g (of which sugars: 24g)
  • Protein: 5g

Including moderate amounts of this dessert in your diet may support cardiovascular health and provide a quick energy boost.

Suitability for Various Dietary Restrictions

Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo can fit several dietary preferences with some adjustments:

  • Vegetarian: This dessert is naturally suitable for vegetarians.
  • Gluten-Free: Ensure to use gluten-free ingredients, as some chocolate brands or flavorings may contain gluten.
  • Lactose-Intolerant: Substitute traditional dairy with lactose-free gelato or plant-based milk versions.
  • Vegan: Opt for dairy-free, plant-based alternatives for both gelato and chocolate components.

Careful selection of ingredients enables you to enjoy Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo, aligning with your dietary needs while savoring its rich flavors.


Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo isn’t just a treat for your taste buds; it’s a versatile dessert that can fit into various dietary lifestyles. With its rich flavors and nutritional benefits, it offers a delightful experience while also contributing to your well-being. Whether you’re entertaining guests or indulging in a personal treat, this Italian classic is sure to impress. By carefully selecting your ingredients, you can enjoy this luxurious dessert without compromising on your dietary needs. So, why not try making Chocolate Hazelnut Tartufo at home and savor its decadent taste and health benefits?

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