Two Pittsburgh Food Favorites

A Heinz ketchup dinosaur in the courtyard of PPG Place.

 

Pittsburgh’s largest (and most fun) food event, GoodTaste! Pittsburgh, has something new this year.  A chance to be a food star! Make a video highlighting your stellar cooking skills and your entertaining personality and send it to the folks at GoodTaste!    Four semi-finalists will be chosen at a cookoff on September 17 at the Carnegie Science Center’s Kitchen Theater. Two finalists  will them compete for the title on stage on November 5 at the show. And the prizes are good . . . . $1000, a professional video (you know, to promote yourself to the big leagues at The Food Network or  on a morning show), the opportunity to become the 2012 face of GoodTaste!Pittsburgh and other goodies, too.  There are a few rules and guidelines, so make sure to read the details here before you get going.    The deadline is coming up soon, so hurry and get your video sent into the nice folks at GTP.  Good luck!  Hope to see one of my readers on stage on November 5.

Cooking knife demo at the 2009 GoodTaste! Pittsburgh show.

 

My favorite Pittsburgh food destination is the Pittsburgh Public Market.  From Friday, September 2 through Sunday, September 4, they are celebrating their first birthday.   You’ll find samples, live music, giveaways, and a special Public Market birthday cake.  I have loved watching the market grow and grow, and I’ve met some wonderful people who sell their products there .  The folks at The Berry Patch and at Glades Pike Winery are near and dear to me. And, oh, the Pittsburgh Marshmallow Factory is just so heavenly.  Happy Birthday, Pittsburgh Public Market!  It’s been a great year.

Brenda and Scotty from The Berry Patch. Luscious local berry products.


Marshmallows have arrived at the Pittsburgh Public Market!!

Some of the marshmallows I have eaten . . these are from Make A Cake.

Confession:  I love marshmallow in any form. Mallo Cups, chocolate covered marshmallows, the retro ValoMilk cup, and good ol’ grocery store marshmallows right out of the bag.

More Marshmallow Favorites . . .Mallo Cups.

Imagine my excitement when the Pittsburgh Marshmallow Factory was open for business when I popped into the Pittsburgh Public Market this past Friday.  I was getting ready for a trip to Boston for the American Dietetics Association annual meeting, but I just had to buy some of these large heavenly cubes even if they had to wait until I returned so I could eat them. (Yes, I am a registered dietitian and yes, I know marshmallows are pretty much nothing but sugar. I don’t care. I love them.)

Look at these . . .

The Bananas Foster flavor was the first one I tried ( they had small samples at the market) and the flavor was amazing. Then I sampled mint chocolate (yum), vanilla ( another yum) and pistachio ( yep, another yum.)  These marshmallows are light and fluffy, lightly flavored and not gummy at all. I have payed top dollar for some artisanally made marshmallows that weren’t worth the money or calories, but these are something worth every penny.  For more info, email the marshmallow ladies at pghmarshmallowfactory@gmail.com.  I know my mallows will be waiting on the kitchen counter for me when I return and I can’t wait!


Mallo Cups, Marshmallows and Zero Willpower

I love marshmallow. I know, I know. It’s overly sweet and often contains “bad” ingredients like corn syrup and  artificial this ‘n that, but there’s something about that white fluffy heaven that makes it irresistible to me. So imagine my excitement to find that one of my childhood favorites, the Mallo Cup, is made only a few hours away in Altoona, Pennsylvania! It got me thinking about my favorite  marshmallow-y foods.

1.  First, the Mallo Cup. A little blob of runny marshmallow enclosed in a chocolate/coconut shell. Okay, so it might not be  made from single estate chocolate or natural cane sugar, but one bite of this brings me right back to Halloween night in the 60s, when I would sort my candy   – give the Clark bars to my dad and save all the Mallo cups for myself. I love them. The factory store in Altoona sells all sorts of Boyer brand candy and other related gifts, as well as large boxes of seconds.

They might be seconds, but my mouth doesn't know the difference!

They don’t do factory tours, but in the factory store you can watch a video of the production that aired on the Food Network’s Unwrapped show a few years ago.

2.  The homemade (store-made, actually) chocolate covered marshmallows at Rauhauser’s Candies in Ocean City, New Jersey. Tender and creamy marshmallow coated with a thin coating of chocolate, these squares are better than the usual beach treats of salt water taffy to me.  I like their crunchy version and the chocolate-caramel ones, too. Once I tasted these, chocolate dipped supermarket marshmallows just didn’t cut it.

3.  Marshmallow Fluff. Nothing else needs to be said. Except that in college, we would dip a spoon in the fluff, then in peanut butter then in mini chocolate chips. The Freshman 15 explained in just a few bites!

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

4.  Next come the toasted coconut marshmallows from Make A Cake on Rochester Road in the North Hills section of Pittsburgh.  Wandering around a cake supply store is my idea of fun and just think of my joy when I came across these.  When the marshmallow is “in season” ( I think success of making it is weather dependent.) I buy a few pieces, tell myself I’ll wait until I get home to eat it, and then proceed to devour the entire bag even before I get out of the parking lot.

There's Make A Cake's Toasted Coconut Marshmallow on the right.

5.  Lastly,  when I’m in an epicurean mood,  I need Little Flower Candy Company’s marshmallows. Cut into big squares, they come in chocolate, cinnamon, coffee and vanilla. I  buy them at Mon Aimee Chocolat in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.  These marshmallows  make  elegant dippers for chocolate fondue and are pretty in hot chocolate.Their texture is more solid than Mallo Cup marshmallow or Marshmallow Fluff.

Sometimes I just want to look at pictures of marshmallows. Then I pull out Marshmallows: Homemade Gourmet Treats by Eileen Talanian and dream of happy marshmallow filled days.


Fluffernutter

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Last night, the local ice cream shop’s daily special was a  Fluffernutter sundae. My daughter didn’t know what Fluffernutter was, but I remembered it from my college days as a mix of peanut butter and marshmallow. Oh, yum. Not for the calorie counter.

My wealth of knowledge daughter proceeded to tell me that a “fluffer” is a person with a specific unusual, yeah, let’s call it unusual, occupation.  Google it yourself. So she thought it was funny that fluffer was combined with nutter to form such a heavenly food product.

Of course, once we got home I had to research Fluffernutter a little further.  I found out that it’s is actually a sandwich made from white bread with a layer of peanut butter and a layer of marshamallow fluff.  It’s also the unofficial state sandwich of Massachusetts.  I couldn’ t find if PA had a state sandwich, but I guess it could the cheesesteak if you were from Philly or maybe the Primanti type sandwich if you hail from Pittsburgh. I did find that Pennsylvania could be the first state to have a state gun, as there is a bill in the Senate for this right now. The Pennsylvania Long Rifle would be the gun.  That’s just great.

If you want to see more about Fluffernutter, including some sweet little retro jingles . .  . go to  http://www.marshmallowfluff.com/pages/fluffernutter.html