Fun Food Friday: Sweet Spreads

Kevin has said that while many cultures have delicious dinner offerings, nobody can beat the Americans when it comes to breakfast. Sure, you can go to France and sample dainty pastries and sip fine coffee, but if you prefer stuffing your face with starchy, fatty, rib-sticking platters of sausage and pancakes and eggs and waffles (whew), America trounces all except possibly the Irish and Brits. But they like to eat beans for breakfast, and that’s just wacky.

However, Europe has this thing called Nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread. You’ve probably heard of it, and it’s becoming so common in the USA that you’ve probably tasted it. In fact, if you haven’t, you should probably go to Winco right now and grab a jar because you just haven’t lived yet. Nutella is brilliant – it wants you to think it’s peanut butter, and the hazelnuts might add an iota of nutritional value, but essentially it’s an excuse to slather your breakfast toast with chocolate. While America has chocolate chip pancakes and the waffle with the whipped-cream face, Europe has fluffy croissants shamelessly topped with chocolate spread every day.

The promise of Nutella made my first trip to an Irish grocery store last summer a little less nerve-wracking. I was already worried about finding the place via bus route – easier said that done when you’re riding on the other side of the road and have no idea how far you need to go. Then I had to find actual food instead of European candies, do the math on food prices, and decide whether or not to risk buying eggs that aren’t sold refrigerated. (I never really got a good answer for why eggs are just sold on the shelves. Does anyone know?) Eventually I wound up at the front and had to buy a 22-cent bag, having forgotten my reusable ones at the apartment (some things never change). I had purchased plenty of real food, like carrots and chicken and pasta, but I had also found the one thing that surpasses Nutella: Panda spread.

In case Nutella wasn’t amazing enough, they swirled it with vanilla.

I brought two jars home with me, one to give to my sister and one to hoard for as long as humanly possible (which turned out to be around five weeks). After that, I made my reluctant return to peanut butter and gazed longingly at the pricey jars of Nutella in stores.

Until we went to Cost Plus World Market.

They don’t have Panda, but they do have a striped sugary hazelnut and vanilla spread. This one tastes like maybe it hung out at a party with some hazelnuts once, and they became Facebook friends, but then never communicated again. It certainly doesn’t taste like there’s anything remotely nutritious in this spread. Nope, this is straight-up frosting for your toast. Excellent.

Happy Fun Food Friday!

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