Krembo on a tray Krembo on a tray Serve Krembo at your next party. (Photo: Oliver Hoffmann / Shutterstock)

Marshmallow treat shortage has country on edge

With Krembo season in full swing, Israel is producing the candy as fast as it can. But is it fast enough?

There was the great Irish potato famine in the 1800s. Starbucks once experienced a pumpkin spice shortage so bad it nearly ruined an entire holiday season. And this year, the news is dire for fans of an Israeli candy treat called Krembo. The chocolate covered marshmallows are so popular that the manufacturer is finding it hard to keep up with demand.

These prepackaged snacks are commonly eaten in Israel between October and February, when it's sometimes too chilly to eat ice cream. The shortage this soon into the "winter" season seems especially troublesome, considering it was a balmy 70 degrees amid constant sunshine this week in the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv.

More than 50 million Krembos are sold each year in Israel. They resemble s'mores, with the chocolate and marshmallow fluff nestled comfortably atop a cookie, and usually come in two flavors – vanilla and mocha. The best way to devour them remains a source of ongoing debate, with some strong adherents to a "cookie-first" approach, while others side with a "save the baked good for last" ethos. This year's shortage is so bad that a knockoff brand, called Manbo, has reportedly increased their production.

Emily Reich, a preschool teacher in Tel Aviv, told From The Grapevine that she hasn't seen Krembos lately at her neighborhood market in Israel. She first tried the treat in 2015 and has been an avid fan ever since. "I'm currently going through a mocha phase," she admitted. Before the Krembo crisis began, she was able to purchase a pack of 20 for her birthday. "Basically it's stuffing your face with fluff and chocolate and a cookie. You can't maintain your dignity or eat it in a ladylike way."

The treat's absence from store shelves has led some people, especially newcomers to the country, to not even be aware of the brand. "I have never heard of Krembo," said Sarah Markowitz, who recently moved from America to Israel. "But it sounds delicious now that you mention it." Her voice trailed off as she dropped the phone and went in search of the delectable treat.

The Krembo shortage is part of an overall trend in the increasing popularity of Israeli candy. In October, during a visit to "The Tonight Show," Israeli actress Gal Gadot introduced Jimmy Fallon to one of her favorite treats from back home: Milk Chocolate with Popping Candies made by Elite, Israel's top selling candy brand. It's sort of the Israeli version of Pop Rocks. A similar candy appeared on a recent episode of the popular YouTube series "Good Mythical Morning" where hosts Rhett and Link enjoyed taste-testing some chocolate from the Mediterranean country. That video has racked up nearly 2 million views.

But all is not lost. As of this writing, eBay currently has 51 listings for Krembo. Plus, there are many homemade versions hungry fans can make, including Oreo Krembos and chai-flavored Krembo, as you can see in the video below:

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