Do you ever just get good vibes from something you’re eating? Okay, so admittedly people usually talk about “vibes” in reference to other people, not what they’re eating, but opening up a packet of Sifers Valomilk made me happy.
Understand that, while Valomilk has its own following, many of whom love it for the nostalgia, this was my first encounter. This may also be a regional thing: whereas I live in the Southwest, Valomilk was born in the Midwest. Many of you are probably wondering by now what exactly Valomilk is. “Creamy flowing marshmallow in two milk chocolate cups” is the official tag, and they aren’t exaggerating about the “flowing” part, which I quickly discovered when I tried to take a knife to one of the chocolates. But my picture does still show the marshmallow in the form of a great tear on the surface of each cup–I take it that the formation of this peace sign design is not a normal occurrence and that usually the marshmallow stays put until such time as you break open the chocolate shell and release it forth.
Flow the marshmallow certainly does, which is an intriguing thing of itself. I’m also pleased to say that it tastes of real sugar, not whatever it is regular marshmallows taste like. In fact, as I was sitting there, breaking off pieces of chocolate with helpings of marshmallow on top to eat like an array of chips and salsa, I was thinking to myself that it really was rather nice stuff. As I casually picked up the white wrapper to look at, my eye caught the phrase “distilled water” out of the ingredients list. That’s one I’m not used to seeing. It was followed by “pure vanilla.” It could always just be particular wording, but still I wanted to believe that the makers of Valomilk care about the quality of what they put into their candy.
It turns out that they do try and pay attention to details. The company is family-owned and has their factory in Kansas; they started in 1903 with penny candy, later adding five cent candy bars. Valomilk itself came in 1931, when it was just one cup instead of two, though still two ounces total as it is today. It’s probably much better as two cups–after all, one cup would be both too messy and too sweet. The rather random sounding name has this story: “V for real vanilla, ALO for marshmallow, MILK to describe it as creamy and DIP because it was hand dipped” (the full name used to be Valomilk Dip). Today, Valomilk is the only product Sifers makes, still using the original recipe and most of the equipment. They also make the chocolate themselves now, using Ivory Coast cocoa beans. Which reminds me that I haven’t yet commented on the chocolate portion.
Well, it’s milk chocolate. And it isn’t very strong. What it is, though, is the right force of containment for both the physical being and taste of the marshmallow. What’s notable about Valomilk is that it managed to win me over, especially given that while some people really enjoy marshmallows, I’m more likely to pass them by. As far as where to physically buy a Valomilk, your best option is probably Cracker Barrel, where they still like to display such old-fashioned and less trackable confections as Valomilk.