When you’re on car trips, do you buy snacks at the gas station convenience store that you would otherwise never consider? I always treat myself to a bag of Corn Nuts (first choice BBQ, second choice Original) and candy bars to break up the monotony of a multiple-hour drive. And since we’ve been spending so much time driving from wilderness to wilderness on our recent vacation, it’s no surprise that I’ve been obsessing a bit over this. (Especially because Dan doesn’t let me drive—kidding! He has faith that I won’t total a third car on his watch.)
And as a candy bar gal, I say the best place to find them is the marvelous, brightly-lit oasis known as Sheetz. If you’re driving through Pennsylvania, which spans about 300 miles from its western to eastern borders, chances are you’ll see one of these miracle marts.
Apart from the excellent MTO (made-to-order) hot foods—I basically lived on Shmuffins, the Sheetz version of Egg McMuffins, throughout high school—the store shows its PA pride by stocking more than just Hershey and Nestle bars. Boyer, the Altoona candy company that makes Mallo Cups and Smoothies, is well-represented in the aisles.
Best of all, at Sheetz you’ll be lucky enough to find Gardner’s Peanut Butter Meltaways, the single greatest chocolate-peanut butter sensation ever. Forget anything from the Reese’s family, resist the Peanut Butter Twix, put the Take 5 back on the shelf. This is the stuff. It’s even more delicious than Tyrone, PA’s other semi-famous export, American Ballet Theatre dancer Ethan Stiefel (better known to legions of girls as Center Stage‘s bad boy Cooper Nielson).
Intensely creamy whipped peanut filling—none of that granular peanut butter cup crap—surrounded by real, never waxy, milk chocolate, broken into four distinct squares that take only a few minutes to dissolve on your tongue… I have to buy at least two every time we stop. And since we’re only a few weeks away from Easter, the lucky kids of PA will soon be getting their 1-lb. Gardner’s peanut butter eggs and bunnies! Sigh! I am seething with jealousy!
So for anyone who’s driving through Pennsylvania on your way to visit me, please plan accordingly, as I only get to devour my meltaways two or three times a year. It’s not nearly often enough.
And now I must turn the tables on you, dear readers: what’s your favorite road trip snack?