Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Regional Cookie Highlight: Mallomars

Photograph by Nicole Holt

Marshmallow, Graham Cracker and chocolate is no doubt a popular combination. It can be found next to campfires in Smores, in the South in Moon Pies and for a brief window of time in the North East it can be found in one of the most perfect combinations of these three ingredients ever created. I am, of course, referring to Mallomars.

For many reading this, you may have never heard of Mallomars, and if you have then it may likely have been in a fleeting scene in When Harry Met Sally in which Billy Crystal proclaims that Mallomars are, "the greatest cookie of all time."

So what exactly is a Mallomar? It's a round Graham Cracker topped with marshmallow and coated in dark chocolate. This may sound unexciting, but two elements set this cookie apart: high quality and limited availability.

You may have seen generic versions of Mallomars on your grocer's shelves, but the quality of these imitators are nowhere near what you will find in Mallomars. I picked up a bag of generic Mallomar-like cookies in preparation for this article and found them to fall short on all accounts.

The Graham cracker should be crisp, the marshmallow pleasant with out being cloyingly sweet and the chocolate dark, delicious and of high quality.

Due to the fact that real chocolate is being used and that good quality chocolate is prone to melting, Mallomars are only available in the Fall and Winter.

That these prized cookies are only rarely available, my wife and I have taken to stockpiling them in the hope that they will last until Mallomar season rolls around again. This year it's already April and we are down to our last box; we'll need to plan better next year.

In addition to temporal scarcity, Mallomars are also limited geographically with over 70% of them being sold in the metropolitan New York area. If you live outside of this area, you may have trouble finding Mallomars, but they are well worth the effort that it takes to track them down.

Every now and then a shipment has been known to make its way to the West Coast, but these are rare. I'm guessing that it's market testing, but I've never seen this coupled with advertisements so the efforts are doomed to failure. I'd love too see this cookie to be more widely distributed so if it sounds like the Mallomar is for you and you see them, please pick up a box. I'm sure you'll be back for more.

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