How Michael Chiarello Gave S'mores An Italian Twist

A campfire classic, s'mores are pretty difficult to improve. What's not to love about a warm, gooey marshmallow and a melty piece of chocolate squished between two graham crackers? The late chef Michael Chiarello gave it his best shot with an Italian twist.

Instead of relying on the good old American graham cracker, Chiarello used biscotti, the classic twice-baked Italian cookie usually more at home with an espresso. The sturdy structure of the biscuit makes it an ideal substitute for crumbly, fragile graham crackers. There's no need to buy biscotti. You can make your own and cut it into any size or shape.

Level up the classic chocolate bar by making a sauce using bittersweet chocolate, chocolate sauce, and wine. Chiarello calls for Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied red wine more associated with France also produced in Tuscany. However, you can use a Chianti or Vin Santo. 

You can even pair your biscotti and chocolate with your wine. A fruit-studded biscotti will pair well with a sweet red wine or a fizzy Lambrusco. Both wines get along well with dark chocolate with fruity notes like cherry. Drizzle the boozy chocolate sauce over a roasted marshmallow and biscotti, and you have the perfect Italian s'more.

Nostalgia doesn't have to be bland

Upgrading your s'mores with Italian-inspired ingredients is the first step to s'more perfection, but there are many other ingredients you should be adding to the campfire classic. For those of us who love the nostalgia of the summertime treat but find the graham cracker too uninteresting or the chocolate not flavorful enough, swapping milk chocolate bars for dark chocolate can make all the difference. Some swear by Reese's peanut butter cups. Others change out graham crackers for Oreo cookies. 

If you want to be an adult about your s'mores, add more mature flavors, like lemon curd, berry preserves, or salted caramel. Gingersnap or gingerbread cookies can bring spice and new depth that the humble graham cracker can't provide. Or add booze. You can make your boozy marshmallows at home by adding bourbon, Guinness beer, or Bailey's Irish Cream. You can even use a good Italian wine like a Chianti in your marshmallows for a unique Italian twist.