Driving through the French countryside in summer never fails to feel leisurely and fanciful, as if the sun always shines and you have all the time in the world to spare.
The highway undulates over rolling green hills dotted with cows, heads down and grazing on sweet, fresh grass, and in the distance narrow country roads snake up the hillsides and disappear into the trees. Woolly white sheep huddle together while, along with the cows, they too enjoy nature’s bounty in the morning sunshine.
You can’t miss the church spires marking every town and village along the way. They rise high above the brown-tiled roofs of surrounding homes and tie together the feeling that, as you ramble down the highway in your car, everything is so naturally and unequivocally French. Driving home that feeling are road signs indicating towns and cities with names that roll off your tongue – Chaumont, Saint-Amour, and Grenoble.
“It is impossible to overestimate the French love of Nutella.”
Such charming scenery brightens up any car journey, but no such journey is complete without a bit of car candy. Car candy is all-encompassing; it doesn’t have to be candy per se, but it can be sweet, savoury, healthy, or as unhealthy as you wish, and is something readily available at all petrol stations. It’s your fuel during the ride and when in France, there is no better car candy than something which the French adore: Nutella. Or more specifically, Nutella & Go!
“It is impossible to overestimate the French love of Nutella, the chocolate and hazelnut spread invented in Italy about 70 years ago and eaten with gusto all over most of Europe,” writes Dorie Greenspan in Around My French Table. “It’s a perennial at crêpe stands all over the country, sometimes along with bananas. Spread on a slice of bread, it’s often the after-school snack of choice.”
Paired with cereal sticks, you can make it your car candy of choice. Conveniently packaged for travel, these crispy, finger-length sticks are there to be dipped, swirled, or otherwise plunged into the portion of sweet, velvety, chocolate and hazelnut goodness. Created in the 1940’s as a way to stretch cocoa rations, Pietro Ferrero married toasted hazelnuts with cocoa, cocoa butter, and vegetable oil to form an early version of what we now call Nutella.
Little could he imagine that his Supercrema Gianduja would grow to be the hazelnut spread that we all know and love today, and the car candy of choice for journeys through the French countryside.