Welcome to Trendstoppers, a new column from Eater New York where the site’s staff examines the food and trends popping off on social media and decides — should you buy the hype?
Today, your Instagram feed will be beset with disembodied hands splitting open a giant heart-shaped bonbon. The captions will implore you to turn the sound on “for that satisfying crack” and almost certainly include some delightful gag about how “this is the only heart you want to break on Valentine’s Day.”
The bonbon in question is the Golden Nutella Heart from Sweet Corner Bakeshop, a West Village bakery. There’s not much more to know about the candy beyond what’s in its name. It’s a chocolate-shaped heart, painted with edible gold, and filled with a whopping two pounds of Nutella. It costs $45.
With that sheen, that satisfying snap of busting the chocolate open, and ample ooze, the Golden Nutella Heart seems built to go viral. Baker Rodolfo Goncalves says he first shared the heart with one influencer, who posted back on January 21. Then, several more high-profile accounts came knocking, all going uniformly bug-eyed at the prospect of TWO POUNDS OF NUTELLA (heart-eyes emoji, arm-flex emoji x 100) in a semi-sweet chocolate shell.
Following this, the heart got the full video treatment from INSIDER Desserts, an account dedicated to the celebration of Instagram-thirsty dishes in all their most mediocre forms. The heart was split in slow motion and a woman gleefully double-fisted the dessert, lifting the two Nutella-dripping halves high, licking the overflow — living her, uh, best life.
In total, Goncalves says Sweet Corner gave away about 10 hearts to influencers, and has sold hundreds more in the lead up to today. Reservations were sold out as of last week, and the bakery has been fielding walk-ins this week.
As Eater’s senior social media manager, I spend a fair amount of my work week staring at food on Instagram, so I try to keep an open mind about this kind of thing. Those shockingly pink Funfetti croissants from Union Fare, for example, come across my feed a lot. They’re designed (like, literally engineered by marketers) to be torn open on Instagram. Still, at the base level, it takes a degree of culinary technique and skill to make that flaky-as-hell croissant and its oozing funfetti filling.
But this heart doesn’t meet the criteria of being an Instagram food worthy of culinary awe. Its filling isn’t made in-house; it’s simply spooned into a chocolate mold from a giant food service tub of Nutella. In spite of that, like-and-share-hungry Instagrammers have been willing to fork out $45 on a product when they can the get same sugar shock-inducing experience from a $6 jar of hazelnut spread at the bodega.
The heart is trending because it’s quite pretty, but moreso because Nutella does a strange thing to people’s brains. Stupidly excessive amounts of Nutella seem to level-up just about any dish for the hungry Instagram masses. Remember when Eataly opened a Nutella Bar and the internet went wild? People just forget you can find Nutella literally in your kitchen.
Sweet Corner has done a great job marketing the heart, and in doing so, feeding the Instagram content machine. Perhaps if New York’s exquisite bakeries and patisseries weren’t turning out stunning, show-stopping desserts daily, I could understand why someone would blithely drop dollars on this for their sweetheart. But if you’re with someone dull enough to froth over literally just a big pile of hazelnut spread, maybe you two deserve each other. Don’t buy the hype.