I cannot remember a time before Mallomars. They were always around. Not just in my house, but around. I guess what I mean is talked about. And we often had Mallomars in the house or at least needed them. In actuality it was just my stepfather who needed them. Just the mere mention of the word Mallomar made him grin with delight. And he talked about them often.
However, you may very well not know what I’m talking about. Apparently 70 percent of Mallomars are sold in the New York metropolitan area. Picture, if you will, a tiny little hat-shaped marshmallow sitting on top of a round graham crackery cookie, the whole thing covered with a chocolate shell. That is a Mallomar.
And the thing is, you are either crazy about Mallomars or you couldn’t care less about them. I happen to fall into the latter camp, sadly. I tried to get excited about them, truly I did, but I was always left unsatisfied. The combination sounded right, as they were somewhat like s’mores. “Somewhat like” is maybe overstating it. If you were expecting a s’more you were going to be very very disappointed.
But there was something strange that happened during the spring and summer months, which is that Mallomars would completely disappear from supermarket shelves. Mallomars only existed from September to March. And this is what made them interesting to me.
A very frustrating 2005 New York Times article addresses the mystery of Mallomars, but fails to solve it. In fact, much of the article is devoted to the fact that a lot of New Yorkers love Mallomars. I mean, a lot. Some even claim to be addicted. This is big news.
But the fact that the Canadian factory that produces Mallomars stops production during the warm months is never really explained. The speculated theory is that the chocolate coating melted during the summer, but it seems likely that twenty-first century science would have solved this by now. If I’m not mistaken, other chocolate products are sold year round.
Maybe it was something of a marketing gimmick. Mallomars were first invented in New Jersey in 1913. The idea that the chocolate could not be trusted to remain intact come the first days of April must have made sense back then. But what if it was really just a tactic to make Mallomars seem remarkably special, so special that when they finally showed up you’d be willing to buy many, many boxes of them?
Interestingly, however, most people do not tend to hoard Mallomars. Instead they are viewed as a seasonal treat, like really good peaches or tomatoes. This is a habit I wholeheartedly endorse. One late June, when I tried a just-picked strawberry from Thompson-Finch, actual tears came to my eyes because of its perfect seasonal deliciousness.
Not unlike the tears some New Yorkers shed at the beginning of Mallomar season.