It’s high summer in Oregon – or as high as summer gets here. Outdoor living beckons in as many ways as possible, including hanging around an open fire at night and roasting marshmallows for S’mores. These are such an American treat – so easy, and made with simple, grocery store ingredients.
S’mores bring back memories of childhood summers, camping and mosquitoes and fireflies (depending on where you grew up). So is there a grown-up version of S’mores, or are they best served with no changes from what we had as scouts at summer camp? A recent multigenerational, multinational taste test revealed that there’s no messin’ with the old classic.
Out of the trio of traditional ingredients – the store-bought graham crackers, marshmallows, and Hershey’s chocolate – the top candidate for the adult upgrade is obviously the chocolate. As one of the non-Americans in the tasting group (his nationality shall remain anonymous to protect family and U.S. diplomatic relations) pointed out, Hershey’s isn’t exactly the best chocolate you can find at the grocery store these days.
What about those dark chocolate, high cocoa percentage bars? How about chocolate with bits of espresso beans or hazelnuts? It turned out they were wasted on S’mores. In the company of the melting, gooey (maybe even blackened and crispy-crusted) marshmallows, between the soft crunch of the graham crackers, the finer chocolate’s nuanced flavor was overshadowed. But the bigger problem was that the non-Hershey’s chocolates didn’t much melt. Without the overall meltiness, we didn’t really want s’more in the same way we did with plain old Hershey’s.
We’ll have to convene another panel to test out homemade marshmallows, which deserve their day of gourmet treatment too. And perhaps an indoor version of S’mores is more adaptable to the latest foodie innovations. I’ll let you know when we do s’more S’mores.