Coming from Canada, a haven for camping and campfires, I thought everyone knew what S’mores were. But after I left out my first fancy package of S’more ingredients out for our guests, I got a WhatsApp picture from our cleaner in Tsfat with the message, “What do I do with this?”
This was a clear indication that Israelis are not acquainted with this delicacy. They prefer to gather around their campfires eating smoked tuna from the can. (And if you want that recipe, ask any Israeli teenager.)
I guess North Americans have a sweeter tooth, because when their campfires are blazing, out come packets of marshmallows for roasting….and the ritual begins.
Here are the basics for those who don’t know about S’mores and who are brave enough to take on a new, sweet addiction.
S’mores are a sandwich made with graham crackers on the outside, an inner layer of chocolate with a toasted marshmallow center. They are so good, everyone wants some more and thus, we have the contraction ‘S’more.’
S’mores are so popular, there is actually a National S’mores Day. No kidding - this is serious culinary stuff in the US and some think this day should become a federal holiday. Americans take out the marshmallows for National S’mores Day on August 10 around campfires everywhere. And to celebrate last year’s S’Mores Day, the Girl Scouts released a new S’mores flavored cookie (to be released in America in 2017).
So what are S’mores doing in Israel? And what is their connection with a beautiful villa in a small mystical mountaintop town called Zefat?
Firstly, Zefat actually has what this ex-Canadian blogger would call ‘winter.’ At 900 meters (2,583 feet), it is the highest inhabited town in Israel. Come December, winds and cloud escort a rolling fog across the cobbled streets and invite the rains to settle in for a while.
At times, this rain turns into snow, making the place look a lot like a Swiss hamlet.
When we bought the 400-year-old house and renovated it, the first decision we made was to put a big fireplace in. If Tsfat has a winter season, let’s embrace it, we decided. We put in a fireplace and placed two comfy burgundy couches on either side that literally envelope you. A crackling fire at Villa Tiferet during a winter’s night is one the coziest in Israel – ever.
Want some expert advice on how to make a S'more and eat it? See this clip from the 1993 movie Sandlot