Bad Crêpes and Beauties in Berets

Cheap on the Nutella leaves Paris crêpes a little flat.

When I was growing up Nutella was almost impossible to find the U.S.A, at least it had not yet arrived in the upper Midwest. The stories of Nutella that my friends who had spent time in Europe mad this mysterious chocolate paste seem larger than life.
Legend, fortunately, is often based on fact. And the fact is that this creamy paste made of blended sugar, chocolate powder, hazel nuts, vegetable oil and powdered milk is hard to resist. They sell it as breakfast food – advertised in Europe much as cornflakes are advertised in America – as part of a balanced breakfast for children and athletes. You can also find it in deserts, cakes, as a pizza topping and any other way you can imagine.

World Nutella Day (Feb )

Its versatility makes it all he more dangerous. Especially since all you really need is a spoon or, even better, your finger. The saltiness adds an earthy accent to it’s flavor (try it on salted crackers or a pretzel if you want, or any way your naughty little mind imagines). Late night snacking and a few more ounces of body fare are only a jar twist away – but at least you’ll sleep with contented grin.
Another legend back then was that the crêpes you bought in the streets of Paris were the best in the world. This might have been true in the 80’s, but this Summer my Nutella crêpe devouring daughters were not thrilled to discover that street vendors in Pescara, Rome or L’Aquila (even post-earthquake) make better Nutella crêpes than the dozen we tried all over Paris.

Emily in Paris (the Crepe Revolutionary)

There are two reasons for this. First, to save time very few of them will whip them up from batter to crêpe in front of you – they will try to throw a pre-made one on before you can protest (if they even have any fresh batter left). And half of the joy is the texture and crisp doughy warmth of a freshly formed and folded crêpe.
The other half is how much Nutella is used and how it is spread along the almost cooked crêpe. Of course purists would say that Nutella came after the legend – and they can be tasty with chocolate syrup, marmalade or just powdered sugar. But Nutella has a habit of nudging aside tradition and grabbing your attention.
Our street vendors in L’Aquila not only pour the mixture on the hot plate in front of you, adding to the wonder as the simplest ingredients evolve before you eyes, but they spread on the Nutella before the first fold so that there are more layers alternation from pastry to Nutella and back. In Paris the spreading only occurs when it is already folded in half. Only the vendor on the side of the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés kept to the script on freshly poured, half moon crêpe building (but he was cheap on the Nutella).

Four wonderful sights

Fortunately there is much more to Paris than a loss of respect for visiting crêpe-eaters, so a few touristy purchases of berets and postcards or an improvised musical puppet show on the Metrò later and the disappointment would fade away.
Besides, there was a jar waiting for us when we got home.

February 5th is World Nutella Day ( )

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112 responses to “Bad Crêpes and Beauties in Berets

  1. Wonderful post — especially, the pictures.

    • You can find made-in-front-of-you crêpes in Burlington, Vermont, too! Quite tasty, if I do say so myself. 😛

      • And great on a crispy, walkabout day too. I do remember street side crepes being better in Paris 10 years ago. I suspect that many are just getting lazy there when crepe stands in Burlington or L’Aquila are still paying respect to what they are doing.

  2. A great local pizzeria offers nutella pizza as a dessert.
    Half the time i forgo the pizza itself in it’s favor 🙂
    I recon that both are equally unhealthy,
    and the latter sure tastes better,
    so… meh 🙂

  3. I MUST find some Nutella. Looks amazing! 🙂

  4. Nice post. You did a great job of selling Nutella and I don’t even like it! You make it sound delicious and irresistable! Crepes are really good too. I want one now. Hmmm, maybe for dessert later tonight!

  5. OH I disagree so entirely that I cannot even articulate the words to protest!!!

  6. Nutella has always fascinated me (we emigrated from England where it was kind of ubiquitous) but I am now fearfully afraid of its hydrogenated oils. Into the sublime hazelnut oil itself, they add that preservative feature that makes the innocent nutella a skull and crossbones to me. I like your post though – nearly convinces me to check out the nutella again…

    • Nutella is a simple but dirty pleasure, not a healthy one. But what can we suspect from something invented as a wartime chocolate substitute?
      Even though I would agree that it’s not the best thing to eat every day (and if you have a jar hanging around the house chances are someone is frequently sneaking a scoop), I do feel that we should not deprive ourselves of all our unhealthy pleasures all the time …. Crepes, even in Paris, sandwiched between two ferratelle (pizzelle), or right off the spoon as an antidepressant are necessary.
      Look at it like buttered popcorn on a movie date or cornchips on a long car ride.

  7. Mmm, so good. Craving nutella right now.

  8. I am a health nut but I grew up on Nutella and it is still my go to food staple for memories of childhood. Screw the hydrogenated fats on this one. If you are ever in Romagna, try a piadina with Nutella. The slight crunchiness of the flatbread with the creaminess of the spread….divine

  9. Another Nutella FP? Congrats.

  10. Beautiful post got me quite hungry– of course nothing tastes as good as when you are consuming on the street in Paris or Italy! I am a crepe lover/maker whose favorite filling is now apricot preserves /plus Nutella-like spread… makes a surprisingly good combination.

    ohzoey I hear you on Nutella– you might want to check out alternatives like Natural Choco Dream which come pretty close without the ingredients you mention.

    • (@ohzoey) Even just good old melted dark chocolate and crushed roasted hazelnuts, but tomorrow IS World Nutella Day

  11. national nutella day! feb 5th cannot wait! im gonna dip everything in nutella

  12. I have never had Nutella, but it sounds like it is something I need to try. Or maybe I shouldn’t… sounds like I might become addicted.

  13. This was a great read! Congrats on being FP! I’m so ready for our World Nutella Day Party tomorrow! Enjoy it!

  14. A jar of Nutella in my dorm room at my vegan school keeps my diet balanced 😉 very nicely presented, my friend 🙂

  15. I’ll be having crepes in Paris in exactly 12 days — provided there are no blizzards, volcano ash and any other unwanted disruptions.

  16. Live in Germany, but never got into the whole Nutella craze. It’s ok…but now I have 2 jars sitting in my pantry as everyone comes and wants to try it, buys it thinking they will take it back with them, and then leaves it.
    Best Place in Paris to get Crepes…up by the Montmarte. There is a little cafe with a window that opens out to the artists market and they have AMAZING Crepes which you can get, either savory or sweet, so cheap. We had crepes for 3,00 with ham, cheese, and a tomato sauce…

  17. I worked for years in the Grocery industry and remember stocking Nutella on shelves…Yet, I never did try it. Going to have to track some down now! Nice post =)

  18. I have loved Nutella since I was a child, and became VERY excited as it was more available here in the US! Great post.

  19. Did you know that many children in America are so unfamiliar with the beret that they think it is an “artist hat”? I have a black one, very similar to the one in the photo. Children ask me why I am wearing it and tell me I look like an artist. I think they have watched too many cartoons.

    • And what many don’t even know is that traditonally a beret is a man’s hat. There are places in Southern Europe where the would look down on women wearing them.

  20. I went to Paris in 2008 and the crepes were amazing! Maybe you just happened upon some bad street vendors?

  21. I was born in Poland and moved to NYC when I was about nine, so I grew up with that stuff. You could say that I am a Nutella junkie. I try really hard not to OD on it, so I told myself that I can have one small jar every time I have a menstrual cycle -it does wonders!

  22. Oh my this is a delicious blog. Even my brother, Mr. Skinny, will bend his eating rules for a spread of Nutella. When you get back to the states you might want to try a new brand, can’t remember the name but it begins with a J. Even better than Nutella. Here’s more on the berets of Paris:

  23. Nutella crepes are the best food in existence. I studied in Paris for 3 years, and as such I am an expert on the matter! I found a fair few excellent crepe stands, all of which made the crepes from scratch and spread the nutella before folding (which, I agree, is crucial!). For anyone interested, my top tips are the one at Odeon, opposite UGC, and the one with the blue awning on rue de la Huchette in the Latin Quarter. Thank me later!

  24. Nice job for Freshly Pressed! I’m allergic to Nutella so I will live vicariously through your post… I can just imagine it 🙂

  25. I find Nutella in a local Italian graocery store and Kroger. There is no reason wy we should not be aware of the perfection of Nutella. I would assume there must be some online source for it as well. Congrats on getting freshly pressed.

  26. Le 2 fevrier de chaque année en france c’est la Chandeleur the fête des crèpes !!! au nutella bien sur .Nutella á accompagner mon enfance et celle de mes enfant .

  27. Love Nutella. And, once a year for about a month, I can get fresh Nutella, or Nutella and banana crepes at our local Renaissance Festival. Look for it every time!

    • We had Nutella and banana’s sans crepes after lunch today (to lazy to make our own, my youngest daughter is a crepe making fiend when she puts her mind to it.

  28. I once had a Canadian boyfriend who couldn’t come to terms with the fact that my nut allergy had hindered my love for Nutella. After several attempts at trying to sneak it into my food (once disguised as chocolate spread in a crepe). Needless to say, we are no longer together but I have no doubt that his love affair with Nutella lives on.

    • Sorry about the nut allergy, but at least you are not allergic to chocolate. Usually it goes the other way around – can’t get decent chocolate, fall back on Nutella. I love it, but when I’m not walking down a street in chilly weather I’d rather have real, dark chocolate anytime.

  29. Yumm! The best thing to eat Nutella with is definitely a spoon! Since you are quite the Nutella connoisseur, is it Noo-tella or Nah-tella? I never can tell, and who do you ask something like that…

  30. Hm Nutella huh? Must see if this stuff is available here in the Paris of the Plains. Get a break from Peanut Butter.

  31. When I was a (fatty) child, I woke up in the middle of night and tip-toed into the kitchen to eat Nutella while my parents were sleeping. But I always left a trace: a spoon in the sink or a chocolate stain on the pillow…
    Believe me… that cream ruined my life!
    Maybe you know just the jars. But Nutella is sold also in some small plastic boxes. The most delicious thing I did with them was eating Nutella directly with my tongue, till the box was totally white.
    Today when I see those incredible pyramids of Nutella jars in supermarkets, I close my eyes and buy rice crackers instead… Last December in the “Autogrill” (bars along the Italian motorways) they were selling some enormous 3 kgs jars. But its ominous content of fats stopped me in time.
    Crêpes may taste good… but the best way to enjoy Nutella is to spread it on a slice of bread.
    Have a nice Nutella day!

  32. I love Paris. I love France. I also, love Crepes. My husband loves the Nutella crepes I make. But…is it just me…or does it taste even better in Europe? Nice post.

    • Thats’ why it was such a dissapoitment, usually just wandering the street of Paris will make them taste better – like a good gelato is always better in Rome (good eating is also where you are when you do it).

  33. Lol, I didn’t know that there was a World Nutella Day 😀

  34. There should be a government health warning on nutella! To go along with new US dietary guidelines. I no longer eat it by the spoonful.

  35. Pingback: Pancake Time Machine – Part 3 Australia | Suburp

  36. myangstfueledlife

    Haha, we love nutella in the UK, most of the people I know are happy to eat it straight out of the jar! I’ve also seen a Cadbury version in the shops, might be something to try..

  37. ooops, i can’t even open a small jar of peanut butter without it being gone in less than two days….forget nutella….i can only fantasize about it’s creamy sugary chocolate goodness on my tongue…yummm!! fantasy doesn’t turn into fat thank goodness…. now on to beer…..ummm

  38. crepes are near and dear to my heart! Congrats on being Freshly Presssed! Hubby is French and so his mother, who had a restaurant, made the best crepes and I have her secret recipe! For the best crepes you really need to go to Brittany as that is what they are known for.

    While in Paris I went to E. Dehellerin, the kitchen supply store and bought myself a real crepe pan! Not crazy about Nutella, I choose to melt dark chocolate and bananas on mine. Bon apetit!

  39. I must confess our home has become a Nutella-free zone….it’s my achilles heel. I can eat a whole jar in one sitting and almost certainly will if I get a whiff of it.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed 🙂

    • It used to be that way in our house to but after 5 years or so of household abstinence we now have enough willpower to avoid night binges

  40. Nutella rocks! So does Paris!

  41. i remember being so disappointed when i had a crepe in paris for the first time. it tasted like jelly on a tortilla. gross. i will never be able to eat a crepe again without thinking of that disappointment.

    and i love nutella. definitely never heard of it till i went to europe.

  42. Is WordPress being sponsored by Nutella now? They should take advantage of this product placement. I avoid eating anything sweet except fresh fruit but it does sound tempting. I find the practice of spreading Nutella on bread rather weird and disgusting to be honest (I don’t like using spreads because they are nearly always unhealthy) but I love savoury crepes with lettuce, tomato and egg. Yum!

  43. No wonder I was craving Nutella today!

  44. I really only very recently learned that Nutella is manufactured by Ferrero S.P.A., which is the company that also manufactures Ferrero-Rocher, those little amazing golden wrapped balls of perfection. I also learned that the paste inside these amazing balls of perfection is none other than…..NUTELLA!!!!!
    I love Nutella, been a big fan of it for a very long time. You can eat it with anything, and that’s the best part. My friend even puts on bread and eats it. Now, that disgusts me, but according to her, it’s delicious, so who am I to argue?
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser

  45. I love nutella! Theyre better than peanut butter

  46. If you’re ever in New Orleans, the place to go is Crêpes á la Cart. On Carrollton Avenue, sharing a building with a college dive bar and a record-store-cum-head-shop, it’s open all day and late into the night. Their Nutella and banana crêpes are fantastic, drunk or sober, and they have dozens of variations. The savory crepes are a meal unto themselves–try the salmon benedict.

    Beware during Carnival, as their menu is considerably limited so as to serve the mass of revelers more quickly and they’re usually out of the one you want.

  47. I’ve been addicted to nutella since I was 5! Loved your post

  48. It’s Droghella not Nutella ! it’s a drug ! 😀
    I like nutella , so i advise to try Nutella with a bread made with a machine that make bread ! Excellent ! 🙂

  49. i’m hungry now… i have to find nutella, NOW!!! 😉

  50. I studied in southern France in Aix en Provence and had many lunch crepes at Crepes A Go Go underneath La Rotonde, filled with ham and cheese, or with eggs, or with hot dogs (surprisingly good!) and of course with Nutella and bananas, a heavenly combination. Your experience of re-heated crepes sounds disappointing and so I will be more vigilant to make sure they are making them fresh before handing over my Euros. I am going to Europe in 14 days…Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany. My flight bounces in Paris — because of your blog post I will have to see if they have crepes in the airport, before I get crepes in all countries!

    • I’m sure the problem with Crepes in Paris is that it’s become too common and touristy. It would be strange if there were none at the airport. It’s be interesting to find out where the best ones in Europe are now.
      I’ve only spent a half day in Aix, almost 20 years ago, but I’m sure it’s the kind of place were a good crepe on an indian summer day would be heaven.

  51. Nice one, World Nutella Day is a first for me too (and have lived in France for many years!)

  52. at 2007 mi mom went to Europe and bring us that delicious thing,… unfortunatly in Peru it is very expensive… I went to US and found it almost half price than in here… 🙂 well i ll try to buy some nutelly for celebrating its day.

  53. I live in the UK. I haven’t had Nutella for years. Only after reading your blog have I realized that I have been taking this yummy spread for granted. You can buy crepe hot plates here but I am sure you can get them in Italy too- if you fancy knocking them up at home for yourself 🙂 xx

  54. I’ve never had Nutella, yet it sounds appealing, but please, please leave pizza alone! It has been bastardized enough by all the vegans & foodies…a little sauce, cheese and some italian meat is enough on a pizza…

    • In Naples the hard core pizza eaters would only accept mozzarella from Aversa and skip the meat. And pizzas in Italy are usually not loaded with toppings. The more respectable places wouldn’t do Nutella pizza, but family places that do birthday parties do.
      To each their own (I like a but of salt with my Nutela.
      De gustibus…

  55. Pingback: Nutella Day! « presifted


    Hey Carbonara,
    I love your post. And your idea about Nutella day!
    I love Nutella too ❤
    But I don';t know if you have ever tried it but Speculoos paste is even better. Trust me, once you try it in a crepe you will never go back! It tastes like those little Speculoos biscuits that you get with your coffee (I don't know if you do that in America, but if you have travelled in Europe, you will have seen these: This spread is heaven 😛 You must try it. Believe me, within two days the whole jar will have disappeared!

  57. that nutella toast made me veeeery hungry, and utterly sad, for there is not much on the fridge. sigh!

  58. OMG this made me so hungry for Nutella… and of course i’m all out! thank you for sharing!!

  59. yarnspinnerpress

    I was in Torino for the film festival in December, and was delighted to learn that I had inadvertently tracked the wild Nutella to its source. Only place I know where you can actually buy Nutella in gallon (or probably two-liter) jars. Wonderful stuff.

  60. One morning I was trying to find something to make a lunch sandwich with for my high school senior. I thought I had nothing until I saw the jar of Nutella I had bought on a whim and hid in the back of the pantry. I slapped it on some honey wheat bread with peanut butter and sent him on his way. Afterschool report: “That sandwich was the bomb! All my friends wanted one. What was that stuff?” Nutella I answered with a smile!

  61. I could sit down with a jar of nutella and sit and eat the whole thing in ounder 10 minutes, growling at anyone who tried to take it away.
    alas, I can’t even buy it any longer…it’s like my meth.
    fun post!

  62. thejourneywithnoend

    I lOVE THIS STUFF!!! Amazing and makes being broke okay:)

  63. loved your blog about crepes,nutmella, reminded me of my trip to montreal last year where i watched them make crepes for me , mouthwatering taste to die for, right on st.catherines street.

  64. When I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, there was a restauant that served amazing crepes made fresh to order with just about anything on them you want. Of course, Nutella was my all time favorite! And yeah, I eat it by the spoonfull… even here in Idaho it’s very easy to find 🙂

  65. Okay, I’m a holistic nutritionist and I’m in LOVE with Nutella. It’s one of the best things ever invented. I recently went to Paris, Barcelona, Nice, Rome, and Florence, and I had crepes in each city. Guess where the best was…? Barcelona! It surprised me! Nice was second. They gave us gobs of Nutella.
    They are now my best friends. Now I have to go get some Nutella tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration!

  66. ironic that you should post about nutella just 2 days after I found a jar of the coveted stuff for my husband lol! He has a serious nutella addiction! We love it on fresh homemade bread! 🙂

  67. I LOVE Nutella. My mom first suggested it when she got back from Paris in December. Absolutely hooked on it ever since.

  68. Pingback: Finalement J’ai fait les crêpes « Cake or Mistake?

  69. I love Nutella! It’s addictive and tasty.

  70. Nutella is actually Italian, so it might not be surprising that you would find good nutella crepes in Italy. I live in Paris, and I’m not too surprised that you had trouble finding the types of crepes you described. If you stay in the touristy areas it’s basically all you can get. Unfortunately the legend has allowed street vendors to get lazy. You can find some good ones, though! It does happen. I’ve been able to find several where they’ll make it in front of you.

    I’m also a big fan of nutella.

  71. i loooooooove nutella! nutella + waffles = perfect breakfast one can ever find.

  72. Hi,
    Wish I could have read this a month back. Nutella sounds delicious and I could easily have gotten some as my son was in Paris then. Ah well maybe soon I may need to make a trip. I think the french macarons are to die for too. I tasted the ones from Laduree and they were simply awesome.

  73. True. Nutella is legendary for crepes in Europe too! Some people gobble it down pure, spoon after spoon (myself included a couple of times)…

  74. Haha, seriously, there’s some wacky recipes out there too! Check out my post!

  75. La chandeleur, French crepes day, would not be the same without Nutella!

  76. nutella is awesome. fact.

  77. Loved your pictures! I just came back from Paris and Italy. Was disappointed as well with the crepe’s in France! Came home and found the most delicious Crepe’ recipe at Also fell inlove with Nutella and now my family is hooked! Surprisingly Loved the crepe’s I make at home better than the one’s from French street vendors and cafe’s!

  78. I too remember when Nutella wasn’t really available in the States, and you were lucky to find it at international markets. We would buy as much as we could and bring it back with us overseas. I grew up eating it on toast, so just one bite takes me back to my childhood. Nice post, and congrats on FP!

  79. Personally, Nutella is not something I have in my cupboard, but I know many people who love the stuff. Recently saw a show where someone made a Nutella pie. I almost lost it.

    Oh well; to each, their own. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  80. Before we went the Fair Trade route, we tried Nutella. Not only was it tasty, but my daughter (who was six or seven at the time) thought the name sounded like a spell from Harry Potter. I introduced Nutella to my sister when she visited and she was instantly addicted.
    I learned how to make crepes in junior high; warm and fluffy with tons of powdered sugar. That was the winter we all gained weight.

  81. We recently came back from Belgium. They have wonderful ready to eat crapes and Nutella sold as package. Yummmmmmmmmm!

  82. Looks yummy!!! I have not yet tried it. But I love to taste it.

  83. We at Travel veda nod in total agreement only when the answer is nutella. A quick snack at busy peak times in office. A jar of nutella, some bread/crackers, a spoon and there you have a wonderfull, highly irresistable, widely grinned , finger licking good snack right in front of you.

  84. I love nutella – my indulgence is sitting with a jar and dipping grissini in. It makes me feel ahppy and content and at home. I agree totally with the problem that street vendors have regarding crepe to nutella ratio – almost criminal sometimes!

  85. This was a quality post. I love the subtle humor and the jabber style.

  86. Ciao! Speaking of Nutella being advertised much like cornflakes in America, did you know that in Italy they actually eat cornflakes mixed into Nutella!??!

    The best of both worlds!

    It’s sort of like our “Rice Krispie Treat” except with Nutella and cornflakes instead of marshmallows and Rice Krispies. YUM YUM!

  87. I live on nutella when I travel. Nutella and cheese (it’s not for everyone, but try it anyway). A good crepe can be the highlight of an entire week.

  88. Nice graphics… Great ! Wonderfull post, greetings for the blog too, by NotitiAe. I suggest good music with Nutella, expecially Jazz music…
    We suggest our link, photoes and video at: Gabin

    Simona Molinari international star at:

    Good reading… in Italian but musica is internationale… No?

  89. This post inspired me to go and buy a crepe maker and some Nutella today. You gave me such a craving for it. I am wheat-intolerant so I can’t buy crepes and need to make my own. I’ll be posting about my first attempts on my blog soon. If you come to the UK soon, pay a visit to John Lewis. They have a crepery which serves massive sweet and savoury crepes with a whole range of toppings- they are yummy! One of the things I miss now I can’t have wheat.

  90. I absolutely adore nutella. I Know they advertise it as a healthy breakfast… but I am not sure how healthy a chocolate sandwich can really be? But who cares anyways, I love nutella!!! And I usually buy it for my house the same way I buy milk or bananas. We have to have it, I use my kids as my excuse 😉
    Now that you mention crepes… well just another reason!

  91. Pingback: Vive la France: my journey to the crepery | Welcome to the coffee house – Croeso i'r cafi

  92. Nutella rules!
    from a nutelladdicted

  93. I worked for years in the Grocery industry and remember stocking Nutella on shelves…Yet, I never did try it. Going to have to track some down now! Nice post =)

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