This post is an American-inspired Food Adventure.
American influences have always been prevalent in UK food and we are embracing it now more than ever as a nation. Large retailers like ASDA and Tesco dedicate a lot of fixture space to their ranges sourced from across the pond. So why do we think that is? The obvious answer is globalisation and the easy access of information to create desire and intrigue; whether we like it or not we are heavily influenced by the media that we consume. American-style burger restaurants serving giant meat patties on a sweet bun with a side of cheese and chilli loaded skin-on fries washed down with a thick milkshake are now commonplace; and I for one am all for it! In fact a new one has just opened up in my home town of St Helens that I intend to try, so: warm those fryers up Smokehouse!
The other reason for the growth in the American trend is the value that it adds back into its respective categories. Take Pop Tarts for example, these are on sale at most supermarkets for around £2.50 depending on promotions et cetera. Selfridge’s have been enjoying sales on the American version (GM included) of Pop Tarts for £5+ for a number of years now. Yes, I appreciate that there are tax implications and import costs to add on but, ultimately, American products allow retailers to get fat from the profits. Now, knowing the true value of the products, you may feel cheated by this but I think it’s great; it drives value back into UK retail to feed and sustain a starving economy.
I am not immune to the seduction of the Stateside surge so I thought I’d push myself and broaden my horizons by making s’mores and this is how it went…
S’mores, for those of you like me that aren’t completely up-to-speed, are a traditional campfire treat and an indulgent blend of marshmallows, chocolate and biscuit…think a DIY Wagon Wheel! You can buy the individual components from almost anywhere but I chose to buy a kit from Etsy consisting of: three Hershey’s bars (normally I’m very against Hershey’s chocolate but since I was pushing myself I felt I ought to do it properly), a bag of Naked marshmallows, some digestive-type biscuits and some wooden skewers.
Preparation is very simple: put some chocolate on a biscuit, melt your marshmallow atop a flame and squish it all together with another biscuit to make your sweet sweet sandwich!
How did it taste? Amazing! They are flavours are all very familiar with but the contrast between the cold creamy chocolate and the hot gooey marshmallow gives the treat a new dimension; I can see why this would go down a storm round a camp fire listening to a cringe-worthy rendition of Kumbayah.
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, I believe it’s the occasion that s’mores create that makes them special. There has been an explosion in the use of chocolate fondues and chocolate fountains over the last five years and any reason is a good reason for them. In the main, these are being enjoyed as a group and generate a real sense of comradery and togetherness. The s’more is the natural progression from the fondue. If you’re having friends round and you want to offer a different, interactive and low-cost dessert this is for you. There is a huge array of s’more flavoured products out there that can give you the taste for it but my advice would be: open a bottle of wine or a crate of beer, invite your friends round and gimme s’more!