A Sweet Dream
Sheila Hall offers up sips, sweets and s’mores with her mobile gourmet business Chocolate and S’more.
A slightly crisp, toasted marshmallow and a slowly melting chocolate square are securely smushed between two graham crackers — add in a roaring campfire cracking in the crisp autumn air and you have the quintessential s’more experience.
Many of us associate s’mores as a camping-only treat or just for backyard gatherings with friends around the fire pit. But for Sheila Hall, owning Chocolate and S’more, a mobile gourmet s’more and beverage business, has been a dream since college.
“I went to college at East Carolina University and dabbled in sweet and savory s’mores,” Hall says. “This is how this love started.”
Growing up in Lumberton, she helped her mom bake traditional Southern recipes and says she has always loved the kitchen.
“When I went to school for parks, recreation and leisure studies, I was in the camp world around fires and tents, so my love for gourmet s’mores just made sense.”
It took more than two decades and a few career changes for Hall to finally make the jump to small business ownership. Prior to starting Chocolate and S’more, she worked as a park supervisor for Raleigh Parks and Recreation then at the Governor’s Office as a program officer. Her last role was the entrepreneurship director for Cary Academy. Serendipitously, this included overseeing the development of an on-site café and coffee shop to help train budding entrepreneurs.
“As I approached 50, I was like, if I’m going to do this, I need to start thinking about what it’s going to look like,” she says. “I knew I wanted a slower pace of life.”
When she and her husband decided to move back to southeastern North Carolina, Hall gave her school a one-year notice and they sold their house.
“We moved here in April 2020,” Hall says. “With the timing, I was scared to start anything. Last December my husband said, ‘If you’re going to do it, you need to go ahead and do it.’ Two weeks later he found a trailer for the business.”
In February of 2022, Hall’s sweet dreams finally manifested with the grand opening of her food truck, Chocolate and S’more. Hall used her s’mores recipe book to set the foundation for sweet and savory options, including bacon on s’mores, which she’s been doing for more than 15 years.
Her selections range from the traditional s’more to The Elvis, which features banana and peanut butter. For those curious about a savory combination, the Blueberry Bacon features blueberry jam and bacon atop a traditional s’more or the Fig and Pig with sliced prosciutto and fig jam.
Although Hall can’t bring the campfire with her, she’s perfected the art of toasting s’mores with a specific torch utilizing direct and indirect heat.
The result is a perfectly toasted outer marshmallow that’s just gooey enough on the inside.
Of course, patrons need something to wash it all down with, which is where the robust beverage selection of coffees, teas, chocolate drinks and Italian sodas come into play.
“For the drinks, I wanted to incorporate North Carolina-based options,” Hall says. “I knew my coffee would be from 321 Coffee, based out of Raleigh. The owner is a former student of mine and employs people with developmental disabilities.”
Hall says she has a mentor who makes a proprietary blend of cocoa and frappe mixes he sells to her.
“I call myself a drink mixologist, not like a bartender but pairing different things to fit together based on what people like,” Hall says. “Some people like fruit and some love chocolate on top of chocolate. There’s a chemistry behind the mix of what flavor goes in first, second or third based on what you taste and what lingers.”
Hall, who says she is not a big coffee drinker, also adds tea options from Tin Roof Teas out of Raleigh. The true superstar, though, is the frozen hot chocolate, which she calls an intergenerational drink. The non-caffeinated beverage has a milkshake-like texture wrapped in a frappe package, making it an easy crowd-pleaser.
“The first thing I ask customers is, ‘Caffeine or no caffeine?’ then ‘Chocolate or no chocolate?’ That narrows it down,” she says.
Her favorite beverage is the chocolate and toasted marshmallow iced or in a frappe. She also loves the red velvet hot chocolate with a white chocolate drizzle. For the non-chocolate drinkers, she recommends the white chocolate blueberry iced coffee.
The flexibility of a food truck is a huge perk.
Six days a week Chocolate and S’more is on the move, some days at Brunswick Community College and others at local events in Brunswick, Pender and New Hanover counties.
Fall of 2022 saw Chocolate and S’more at North Brunswick High School and Leland Middle School for football games.
“I do special menus for certain events,” Hall says. “North Brunswick High School’s mascot is the scorpion, and for the game I did a Sweet and Sour Scorpion Italian soda with a crushed candy rim and the Scorpion Stinger with Habanero,” Hall says. “When I work with schools, I give a portion of my earnings back to the school. I really value education and try to help in any way I can as a small business.”
Although Chocolate and S’more is just shy of its one-year mark, Hall says the welcome from the community has been nothing but supportive. When it comes time to reflect on achieving a dream (almost) a lifetime in the making, Hall is simply speechless.
“When you dream about something for so long you can’t help but feel grateful,” she says. “There are not a lot of words right now, but I feel accomplished, and I’ve never worked harder in my life. My father was a small business owner, and he’d always tell me, ‘I know you want this business, but it’s a different kind of work,’” she says. “To me, owning this small business has always been about building relationships.”
As the chill of winter sets in, Chocolate and S’more is here to warm up patrons with sweet and savory treats.
Want to try a s’more?
On Sunday evenings, Hall posts Chocolate and S’more’s weekly schedule Instagram and Facebook @chocolateandsmore. You can reach Hall at (910) 444-8305.
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