Who’da thunk that Baltimore would become such a hotspot for the sweet-toothed and epicurean? Of course, our reputation for crabs and Old Bay isn’t going anywhere, but it seems to us that the local dessert scene (are we allowed to call it that?) is bringing more and more attention to our city and the folks who slave away over candy thermometers every day, making our town just that much sweeter.
Not convinced that Baltimore is becoming a haven for the sweet-toothed? Well, first there was Puffs & Pastries’ Anisha Jagtap, competing on the Food Network’s terrifying dessert competition Sweet Genius. A couple of seasons later, another Baltimore sweet-maker, Josh Rosen of Charm School Chocolates, competed on the same show and won the title of Sweet Genius—trouncing the competition and making vegan chefs everywhere proud. And of course there’s Flavor Cupcakery— the winners of season four of Cupcake Wars—and Duff and company over at Charm City Cakes. Well, get ready to add one more local dessert star to the list: Nikki Lewis, founder of Mallow Crunchies (a gourmet crispy rice cereal treat) who will compete on Lifetime Television’s new reality program, Supermarket Superstar, hosted by yet another Baltimorean (and Clooney ex-gal pal) Stacy Keibler.
Each one-hour episode of Supermarket Superstar follows three home chefs as they pitch their product to a panel of experts and professional mentors (including Debbi Fields of Mrs. Fields fame). The mentors share their expertise with the contestants as they prepare their products for mass production—because the grand prize is $10,000, along with $100,000 in product development and a contract for distribution at A&P supermarkets nationwide. The show premiers Monday, July 22nd. Needless to say, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime, and Lewis couldn’t be more excited.
“I was thrilled to be a part of Supermarket Superstar. It’s wonderful to share something I’m so passionate about with more people. And who doesn’t have the nostalgic memories of making crispy treats?,” said Lewis. Lewis’ episode, in the category of ‘snacks,’ will air Monday, September 2, but her Mallow Crunchies and Mallow Softies can be purchased and enjoyed around Baltimore well before then. And they should be. Mallow Crunchies were named “Baltimore’s Best Sweet Snack 2010” by Baltimore magazine, and come in a variety of flavors—suitable for kids, kids-at-heart, and even those with the most sophisticated of palates. Mallow Crunchies come in several varieties: Original, Dipped (dark chocolate), Toffee Nut (salted cashews and sweet toffee), CaraMallow (handmade caramel), Crunch (popcorn and candy-coated chocolates), and Trail (original with dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds). Lewis makes all of her marshmallows from scratch, which makes for a truly gourmet (and all natural) final product.
Currently, Lewis sells her product at local farmers’ markets (including Sundays under the JFX and the Towson farmers’ market), and in her café, The Mallow Bar, located in Rosedale. The Mallow Bar is (surprise) the only crispy dessert café in the nation, and offers other local sweet treats, as well as locally roasted Zeke’s Coffee. But if things go her way on Supermarket Superstar you may be able to pick them up even more easily than that. Of course, we won’t be surprised if she takes home the big win. Mallow Crunchies are perfectly irresistible, and who doesn’t have positive childhood associations with crispy marshmallow treats? In the meantime, we’ll be stocking up on Mallow Crunchies and munching as we watch Lewis compete. And when those little bricks of homemade marshmallow and crunch are hitting stores around the country, we’ll be able to say we crunched them when.