Mallomars turn 100 years old this month. Over the years, the chocolatey marshmallow treat has gathered a cultlike following. For those who have yet to discover Mallomars, take heed — you may soon have a new addiction.
It's Mallomar season right now, which may seem strange since Mallomars are commercially packaged cookies, not apples. But the round graham crackers topped with marshmallow and covered in dark chocolate are actually packaged seasonally.
Mallomars are only shipped during cool months, so the chocolate won't melt.
This may have made sense in 1913 when Nabisco sold the first Mallomars to a grocer in Hoboken, N.J., but now we have refrigerated trucks. A brand spokesman says the cookies are still only sold September through March, to maintain tradition.
It's pretty good marketing too. Unlike your everyday Chips Ahoy, Mallomars have a mystique. It's what the company calls a nostalgic brand.
In spring and summer, the only place to find Mallomars is in someone's freezer, probably in the Northeast, where 95 percent of Mallomars are sold.
As part of the centenary celebration, the company is running a "Mallo-Memories" sweepstakes on its Facebook page. There, people talk wistfully about gift-wrapped Mallomars for Christmas. One woman says her husband wrapped her engagement ring in a box full of Mallomars.
Many memories are about hoarding. People buy as many boxes as they can freeze, then carefully parcel them out during the off-season.
There also are a lot of stories about hiding cookies and stealing them from siblings. One man wrote, "I just hide in the closet and eat them."
There are memories of a mother buying two boxes at a time, one for the family and one for her secret stash. There's also a grandfather who hid them in an unused wood-burning stove.
What people don't do with Mallomars is share.
Tony Soprano scares the cookies out of Paulie by threatening him for stealing his box of Mallomars. He's just kidding.
But time is short, so get yours now. As one woman writes on the cookie's Facebook page, "Who says it's football season? Nope. It's Mallomar season, Baby!"
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.