IN the sweet world, they have been dismissed for years as nothing more than the humble accompaniment to hot chocolate around a camp fire.
But as sweet-toothed readers will know, the popularity of marshmallows is on the rise – to such a degree that the UK’s first shop selling nothing but the gooey treat is set to open in Edinburgh.
The Marshmallow Lady will open on Rodney Street at the end of the month and will offer more than a dozen varieties ranging from beer and whisky to millionaire shortbread and peanut butter – the recipe for which took two months to perfect.
Nicole Roberts, who lives in Leith, initially set up Burgh Bakes selling loaf cakes, tray bakes and cupcakes – but decided to specialise in marshmallows and started selling at markets and online last year. Her business has taken off, with talk in food circles of marshmallows being “the new cupcake”.
The 26-year-old said: “I pretty much started the business because I couldn’t get a job when I came out of university with an English literature degree.
“After some awful job experiences in pubs and cafes, I decided to set up my own business and get going with something.
“I got very bored of doing cupcakes because I’m not really into decoration – I’m more about flavour combinations and making something different, so I moved on to marshmallows. You don’t have to spend hours putting glitter on them.
“When I started doing marshmallows, everyone I delivered to and sold to called me The Marshmallow Lady. I decided to rebrand as that.
“The shop will just sell marshmallows but there will be a small cafe as well. I’m pretty sure it will be the first marshmallow shop in the UK that only sells marshmallows.”
The gourmet marshmallows, some of which have toppings and bases, are all made from scratch using real ingredients, with no additives, preservatives or unnatural colourings.
The fluffy treats are also available to buy direct through the company website, as well as in a number of Edinburgh shops and cafes including the Edinburgh Larder, Hula Juice Bar, Earthy Foods and Lickety Splits.
The shop, in the former Bellevue Hair Salon, will include a kitchen where Nicole – who will take on at least two part-time members of staff – will make the marshmallows in batches of around 60 pieces, which take eight to 14 hours to set.
Nicole added: “I want to go into marshmallow fluff which is huge in America – you can spread it on crackers, toast, waffles and pancakes.
“I’m also collaborating with Innis and Gunn; I make marshmallows with their rum cask beer.”
Nicole will have a stall at Taste of Edinburgh next month, which will be her biggest event to date.
She added: “The possibilities for flavour combinations are pretty much endless. The reaction has been absolutely fantastic; I can’t really believe how well they have gone down. People are always blown away by the flavours.”
Prices range from £2.50 to £3.50 for a bag containing seven to nine marshmallows.
FLAVOUR FAVES IN THE HOUSE
A selection of marshmallow flavours available from the Marshmallow Lady.
Key lime pie
Cookies and cream
Strawberries and cream