Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Italy In a Nutshell

One late winter a friend of ours asked if our daughter could go with her and her daughter, during the summer vacation, to visit friends in Germany, travel into France, and spend most of their time sightseeing in Italy. There they would meet up with other friends who would also be traveling with their young teenagers.

Yahoo map

Oh my, over 5000 miles away.

While we were excited about the prospects of this trip, we as parents, had many questions to ask and details to sort. In the meantime, the hoping-to-soon-be-globe-trotter was looking through travel guides, and German, French, and Italian phrase books; fortunately, she could speak a little French.

Summer came and she boarded a plane anxiously, but looked forward to traveling, meeting new people, seeing new places, and experiencing the world with eagerness and wide eyes. I hoped we had done the right thing in letting her go so far away from us, quietly said a prayer and returned home with a few tears.


After visiting in Germany they took the train to France and later on to their main destination, Italy. Just a few of the places they toured in Italy were the Cathedral in Milan,

photo by Hans Peter Merten

the beautiful city of Verona (remember Romeo and Juliet),


photo by afaulkner526

the canals in Venice,

photo by afaulkner526

and the Vatican in Rome.

photo by Juan Rubiano

While in Rome they stayed in a hostel that served roof-top suppers, where they enjoyed meals and met other travelers.

To our daughter it seemed liked a short stay; to me those weeks were an eternity. But she did return to us with smiles, new friends, a few souvenirs, many stories (of which she did tell us a few), and a suitcase full of dirty laundry.

Our kid had spent over three weeks in Europe, had seen many sights - on and off the standard tourist list, had met many people, had established new friendships and one of the things that she raved about and continued to talk about was not anything that we were expecting. Though I had heard of it before, I had never tried it, and was not even sure just what it was...Nutella.


If you have not read my post A Sure Sign of Weakness, let me tell you that no one had to twist my arm to make me try this creamy, hazelnut, cocoa spread. Are we not a part of the free world? How could I have not known just what this was, and just how good it is?

Nutella is the divine creation of Italy's Mr. Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero company. In the 1940's cocoa was scarce due to the rationing during WW II. However, because there were hazelnuts galore in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, Mr. Ferrero decided to use them in order to decrease the amount of the cocoa, and the idea for Nutella was born.


This stuff is almost to good to be true. Besides being delicious, it is a pretty healthy spread. Nutella is trans fat free, does not have any ingredients that come from gluten containing cereals, and is made with hazelnuts - no peanuts. It can even be stored in the cupboard; it does not require refrigeration.

In our household we have tried it on toast, bagels, crackers, toaster waffles, and yes, I have been known to spoon it straight from the jar.


Do you have a favorite way of eating Nutella? I would like to know.

On the internet you can find many recipes using Nutella. I have selected a few to show you that I think look really yummy.

Nutella Cup Cakes from the Sweetest Kitchen

Nutella Mousse from Delicious Magazine

Special Hazelnut-Espresso Treat from the Novice Baker

Mocha Frappe posted on The Flow on Three Lakes

Has anyone not heard of, or not tasted Fererro Rocher candy. I was well acquainted with this particular sweet product. Made by the folks at Nutella.

And Tic Tacs? Yes, they manufacture them also.

It's true; I might have been the last person on the planet to try Nutella, but I bet I am one of its biggest fans. Nutella has become such a mainstay that it now has its own international day, February 5*. You can get ready for the 5th Annual World Nutella Day by checking this web page


* Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso and Shelley from At Home in Rome, solemnly declare Friday, February 5th “World Nutella Day" – a day to celebrate, to get creative with, and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

Due to the lack of ownership of a digital camera at the time of this trip, these photos were taken from various sources.
photo credits:


  1. Hahaha, Nutella, Italy's main monument ;)
    I prefer it in a shell of puff pastry, slightly warm, mmmmm.

  2. I have been known to eat it straight from the jar too. This is truly one of the best inventions known to humankind! YUM!

    Best wishes,

  3. Ha! I can appreciate your entire story! I've had to say goodbye to my daughter a few times as she headed abroad. It gets easier each me!!
    And, Nutella, ranks up there close to Eagle Brand milk on the NOTHING BETTER IN A JAR list! LOve it!
    Take care!

  4. I have had to stop buying Nutella as once the lid is open I just keep spooning it out and eating it until it is finished :-) Not good for the scales!!

    I can understand how you feel while your child is away in another part of the world for 3 weeks. I have watched how my French neighbour reacts if his son is away just for a weekend. Total relief when he arrives home again. Diane

  5. Dear old reliable Nutella. The children are occasionally allowed to have bread sticks dipped in it as a treat. And it's possibly the only forbidden food that's easy to sneak into a school lunchbox if one is feeling rebellious.

    Your daughter's visit reminds me of Katy in What Katy Did Next. I'm glad she had such a good time.

  6. What an amazing trip your daughter had. Good that you let her go and experience Europe. kids love the stuff and they eat it on egos and toast. I think they would eat it everyday if they could.

  7. I was going to tell you all about World Nutella Day but you have already discovered it. Do not forget to put a note in your diary to join in next year. I actually cannot stand the stuff :(
    As for your daughters wonderful trip to Europe, especially Italy, when is it Mum and Dad's turn?

  8. Alessandra, Puffed pastry with nutella- yes I will try that. In the freezer are some small individual light pastry cups.
    Natasha, and Diane - get your spoons ready and I will bring a big jar of Nutella.
    Angela and Sarah, saying goodbye to your kids is always hard. But we do raise them to find there own way, I just wasn't expecting a trans Atlantic trip when so soon.
    Mise, I remember when there were no rules about lunchbox menus - we did fine. When my kids were in school there were heavy suggestions, but that was about all. If I had kids today, I would probably be the one held in detention after school. I an from a different generation and I do think that I function too well in the Nanny state. Free My Lunchbox! Thank you for the intro to Katy. The tv series, I have not seen it listed here and I am not familiar with the books. I did find out that the setting for the books was in the late 1800's, and that a couple of them are up for downloads. I am going to see waht I can find out about Miss Katy.
    Lindy, I need to find out more about that Nutella Day, but I do have a note to myself to put it on next year's calandar. Since you do not like the spread, I will gladly have your portion. After my daughter went to Europe, my husband and son went to Germany/Austria, so yes, next it is my turn. It will be difficult to limit my list of things to see. Can not decide if I want to hop, skip and jump and stay on the run, or to settle in one place, and take little day trips from there, and be a little more relaxed.

  9. What a lovely post~ and I'm sure that your daughter enjoyed that fabulous holiday in beautiful Europe ~ she will lots of memories.
    Would you believe I've never tasted nutella!! and I don't know why because it's sold in our local supermarket - I'm going straight down to buy a jar & make those scrummy looking muffins!! Thanks for sharing the background story about the company ~ very interesting. I didn't realise that it is the same company that make those delectable chocolates.

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  11. Your girl was blessed and the pictures are beautiful. I took Dax shopping with me and he wanted a jar of nutella. I had never tasted it before. I told him I did not know what it was and then he said ,"I do and it is yummy,yummy good!" He was right. It is!

  12. Hey Mya...trying to catch up ! First of all..good for you to let your daughter go...what an experience for her. I have never tried Nutella but this is the third post I have read about it lately so next time I'm in the store I will look for it..always looking for something a little sweet and chocolatey without high fructose corn syrup...

  13. The photos "took me away" for a few moments...Beautiful!

    Looks like I'm the only one who has not tried Nutella. I'd heard of it but not tried it! Guess I'm going to have to try and find some! : )


  14. Lovely pics! What a lucky girl your daughter, sounds like a trip of a lifetime and one to be remembered always.

    Nutella - this is funny, one of my good friends has a flatmate (room mate) who is french and addicted to the stuff, needless to say our nickname for her is..Nutella.

    Happy weekend my dear! x

  15. Loved every word of this post ... Italy and chocolate ... two of my all-time favorite things! Believe it or not, I've only had Nutella once in my life. I MUST fix that. The cupcakes are especially enticing!

    And thanks always for your kind comments on my blog!

  16. back from trip. thanks for your sweet note re hospice. my mother also got services, i'm just giving back. i think it's great that your daughter went to Europe. great photos. i have never tried neutella but will give it a try. thanks rose

  17. What an experience for your daughter! Maybe next time you can go too.
    Try Nutella spread on a warm crepe, rolled and topped with whipped cream. Its simple but delicious... :)