Are you trying to tame your sweet tooth? You may want to put that on hold until after summer. Norfolk’s S’mores Amore serves classic campfire treats with a gourmet twist, and they’re irresistible.
When sandwiched between two graham crackers, gooey marshmallow and melty chocolate make for a scrumptious, classic combination. Now, dessert-a-holics of all ages can get “fired up” for this novel take on a nostalgic favorite.
At S’mores Amore, husband and wife duo Duane and Kristine Dinio delight customers with their squares of goodness. They start with the signature graham cracker cookie crust, layered with a brownie or blondie variation, and topped with a made-from-scratch marshmallow. The creation is then torched before your eyes, making for the ultimate campfire experience. Flavors range from the more classic combinations like “PB OMG” chocolate peanut butter to the unique “Ooh Bae Baybe” Ube Coconut S’mores Blondie, a creation inspired by Dinio’s Filipino Heritage. Typically, there are also rotating and seasonal flavors on deck – fan favorites include “Summer Sangria,” made with actual wine, and “Magical Morning,” an ode to Lucky Charms cereal.
What began as a pop-up vendor in Selden Market back in 2018 has become just as much a staple of Hampton Roads as Dinio himself. Raised in Virginia Beach, food has always been a part of his identity. From a young age, Dinio enjoyed helping his mother in the kitchen. After graduating from Old Dominion University with a Psychology degree, his post-college job at a popcorn store inspired him to enroll at the Culinary Institute of Virginia. He then served as a private and executive chef in various settings, all the while aspiring to build his own brand one day.
So – why s’mores? In ideating a business concept, Dinio realized that s’mores filled a niche that no local bakeries had explored. He then sought to recreate the magic of his childhood camping and fishing trips by offering an interactive and indulgent dessert experience, minus the mosquito bites and camping gear.
The concept caught on: shortly after their opening in July 2018, they served a customer who happened to be on the Wegman’s management team. He was so impressed with the brand and product that he introduced Dinio to the entire management team, and – shortly after, S’mores Amore products made their debut at Wegman’s VB location. This partnership was just the first of many: as of this month, you can now find select flavors at all four locations of The Dirty Buffalo.
Don’t be surprised if you see them elsewhere around town; S’mores Amore has brought their delicious creations to events at the Chrysler, Nauticus, and CoVa – to name a few. They recently participated in a fundraising event for Norfolk Academy – a clear demonstration of their commitment to the community. It’s no wonder they earned their place as a permanent storefront a year after their launch and weathered the pandemic with a following of new and loyal customers.
When asked about what’s next, Dinio’s future plans look pretty sweet. He’s currently seeking to expand the team to maintain their current growth trajectory through the busy summer months. Plans for the 2nd annual S’morefolk S’moresfest are also in the works – an opportunity to showcase customers’ favorite flavors, flaunt their new merchandise, and gather the community to celebrate their 4th anniversary.
If your sugar cravings have yet to subside, you know where to go for one of these freshly fired treats.
Talbot Park, NFK
Rachel Reiss moved to Norfolk in 2021, and, true to her native Floridian roots, has been enjoying life near the beach. Since her day job as an HR Program Manager has gone remote, it offers her the flexibility to explore the area’s rich history, culture, and diverse food scene in her spare time. She is also a passionate pianist, aspiring yogi, and self-proclaimed health nut who loves to cook. Rachel lives near Talbot Park with her husband, Phil - a CHKD resident - and their Maltese, Minnie.