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We love to celebrate Britain’s best producers and food heroes here on the Lockhart blog.

This week, we speak to Nicole Roberts (owner of The Marshmallow Lady in Edinburgh) whose company sells gourmet marshmallows to her legions of fans. Find out where she gets her creative inspiration for her out-there flavours and what kitchen gadgets she simply can’t live without…

Do you think marshmallows come in a plastic bag in either a yellow or pink colour with a strange, unnatural flavour? That they’re the preserve of children’s parties and campfires in American movies? Think again. Like hot dogs, doughnuts and popcorn, marshmallows have been given a gourmet makeover. Look out for them at a fancy restaurant, dinner party or farmers’ market near you soon. And Nicole Roberts is right at the forefront of the trend.

Think lemon meringue pie, toasted coconut or whisky marshmallows – all made with Fairtrade sugar and locally-sourced, butter, cream and berries wherever possible.

Picture of toasted coconut flavour marshmallows

We prized her away from her kitchen long enough to ask her these questions…

Why marshmallows? How did you come to start the business?

Well, firstly because I love marshmallows. I used to sit and toast marshmallows with a candle in my lounge. I graduated with a degree in English Literature (of all things!), but I couldn't find a 'proper' job. And the thought of working in an office filled me with that back-school feeling of dread. I knew I wanted to do something different, and I knew from past experience that I don't cope well with a boss, so being my own boss seemed the most logical thing to do.

From beer to peanut butter, your flavours are so unique and creative. How do you come up with new flavours?

Why thank you! Coming up with new flavours is a combination of lots of factors, actually. What's in season, the time of year, special occasions (like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and, of course, Christmas). It can also come out of collaboration with a local business. The Rum Finish Beer marshmallows came about because Innis & Gunn approached me and asked if it was possible to make beer flavoured marshmallows. The rest, as they say, is history. They’re fast becoming one of my best sellers online and at farmers’ markets.

What’s your most popular flavour? And which is your personal favourite?

I would say that my Raspberry marshmallows are most popular, and they were even awarded a two-star Great Taste Award. But my all-time favourite has got to be Key Lime Pie: I love anything citrusy and lime is by far one of my favourite flavours. This marshmallow has a beautiful digestive base, a freshly squeezed lime juice marshmallow centre and a lime zest topping. Yum!

Picture of Key lime flavoured marshmallow

Do you make your marshmallows from home? What gadgets could you not live without?

I used to make all the marshmallows from my tiny kitchen at home when I first started out. Looking at it now, I have no idea how I did it. I now have a shop with a kitchen in the back, where all the marshmallows are made, cut and packaged up. I have two K-mixes, and one 15 quart mixer. I'm actually reaching the stage where I need an even bigger mixer! I have an abundance of thermometers (very important) and a measuring cup which I’ve used from the very first marshmallow I attempted to make. The handle has since broken off but I still use it for every single batch I make out of nostalgia.

What’s the best way to enjoy a marshmallow?

When I suggest to customers that they can toast them, melt them in hot chocolate or use them in recipes they look at me as if I’d gone mad. And say "why would you waste them like that?" 90% of my customers just eat them on their own and take them to dinner parties as something different to eat. I also do wedding favours, mallows for corporate events, for wholesale, retail and supply lots of Vanilla Bean mallows for hot chocolate to cafes in and around Edinburgh.

You’ve got a huge social media following and have had loads of press. Have you done much to market yourself?

It's funny you mentioned that because I definitely don't have a PR company working for me, all the marketing I do I do myself just by getting out there, doing markets, events and festivals. My customers really enjoy my product and it’s a case of getting great word of mouth, which I am so utterly thankful for.

Did you enjoy our Q & A with The Marshmallow Lady? Why not leave a comment for her below of follow her on Twitter for more marshmallow-related updates.


Lockhart Catering on 13 September 2013 2:26 AM

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