We’ve certainly mentioned Sweet & Sara‘s marshmallow products before, but never actually reviewed them. First things first: they’re delicious and everybody who tried our samples–vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike–was pleased and impressed! We tried four items (the complete S&S product line): Peanut Butter Smores, Original Smores, Vanilla Marshmallow Meltaways, and Toasted Coconut Marshmallow Meltaways.
Before we get to the review, note that Sweet & Sara is running a contest right now. Ten lucky winners will receive a care package of S&S goodies. To enter, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org before 3pm on Sunday May 18th telling her a bit about why you want the goodies, how you like to eat them, if you have a favorite recipe, etc. Full details on their site.
Our semi-anonymous tasting panel included SuperVegan staff as well as folks who work for such impressive media outlets as the New York Times, Fox News, Gothamist, and Bed Stuy Blog. We also shared with Oriceida, our waitress at the Grecian Diner (a nice spot to go when you need french fries in Park Slope at 1:30am on a weeknight after blogfesting). It didn’t seem like she’d ever heard the word “vegan” before, but she was very happy to keep eating the coconut Meltaways, citing their nice contrast between crunchy and smooth and the way they melt in your mouth.
Sweet and Sara’s basic unit of marshmallowiness is the “Meltaway,” a soft cube that comes either coated in powdered sugar or toasted coconut. One skeptical omnivore said it “looks like tofu” but conceded it “smells good” and he totally liked how it tasted. Other quotable reactions included “full of fluffy goodness,” “like biting into a cloud,” “I can’t tell the difference; It tastes exactly like a marshmallow,” and of the coconut, “like macaroons.”
The Meltaways make great eating on their own, but of course there’s so much more you can do with a marshmallow. We didn’t try cooking candied yams or Rice Krispy treats with them, but we did test them in hot cocoa and roasted over an open flame. In cocoa, they keep their shape really well. I expected them to melt a bit more, but instead ended up with a delicious glob of ‘mallow at the bottom of my mug. They roast great, so definitely grab some for the campfire! I’d forgotten what an awesome food a roasted marshmallow is. I want to try making a proper melted s’more next. (It’s worth noting that S&S have updated the formula a bit since these first launched a few years back, and the Meltaways are now a lot less melty than they used to be. They melt where they should–in your mouth–not in the package.)
The Smores are basically really fancy Moon Pies, a fat pillow of marshmallow on a graham-cracker coated in chocolate. We all liked them (one omnivore: “perfect”), but everyone preferred the plain to the peanut butter. Maybe not quite peanutty enough, or just an odd flavor combination? I thought that the cookie part was just perfect, and it makes me wish that Sweet and Sara will produce more baked goods in the future. The only criticism was that several folks felt that the chocolate was too bitter. Sara uses some kind of fancy European high-cocoa-mass-percentage chocolate, when the expectation on a Moon Pie is for something sweeter and creamier. S&S’s goods are basically gourmet versions of cheap junk food. For some, a bit of crucial low-class fun is lost in translation.
As gourmet versions of cheap junk food, made by a small company that practices resource-intensive black arts (there’s not exactly a lot of people who can make a vegan marshmallow!), Sweet & Sara goods are expensive, $6+ for about 20 Meltaways, and $4+ for a Smore. You can buy them in dozens of stores around the USA (including a few that do mail order). There’s a full list on their site; just scroll down the homepage). Here in New York City, you can pick up S&S products at the Amish Market on East 45th St, Frank’s Market in Washington Heights, and at all area Whole Foods.