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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Highlights of Kosherfest 2014

Where can you bring together Kosher for Passover hamburger buns, pareve shwarma and gluten-free muffins? Welcome to Kosherfest 2014, the largest Kosher food product expo this side of the Mississippi. In its 26th year, Kosherfest showcases both new and exciting innovations in Kosher food products and good, old-fashion favorites; and they are all together in the Meadowlands Expo center.

Tequila Baron was the 2014 winner for Best New Wines, Beer or Spirits and its smooth taste justified the victory. Though the distributor was not able to give every one a bottle to take home, a sample was more than sufficient to get you through the rest of the expo. Morad Winery, led by Gershon and Ellen Bodner, produces a line of delicious wines made out of fruit and not grapes. Its light and refreshing flavor would send anyone to the wine store to pick up a bottle or two.

A new addition to Kosherfest was My Most Favorite Food, the popular New York City restaurant. They have a whole line of products that are Kosher for Passover, including a very tasty granola. Muffins N More, represented by Rochel Honig, has an impressive line of gluten-free, Kosher for Passover products as well. Cakes, rolls, pizza dough, donuts–the possibilities are endless. “We started out as just muffins and then moved beyond,” Honig explained. There is a full line of sheet cakes and now they have batters for pancakes and waffles. They are based in Brooklyn.

For those with food allergies, Allie’s GF Goodies has gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and vegan cookies, cupcakes, blondies and a variety of other tasty treats. Their products, according to the owner Allie Luckman, also have no sesame, no soy and no coconut. Her motto is that no child should go to a party and not be able to have dessert. And as good as her allergen-free products are, she also makes a delicious line of “regular” treats as well.

DeeBees Organic Tea Pops are “the world’s first organic, non-GMO tea and Fresh Fruit frozen treat.” According to Bassie Feldman, a representative for the company, they are healthy, good for you and sweetened with coconut-flower-blossom nectar and not sugar; 600 Whole Food stores carry their products and they come in an assortment of fruit flavors.

Li-Lac Chocolates, though around since 1923, is new to the kosher market. Chris Taylor, who is the owner, said they are the oldest chocolate company in New York and only became OU-D certified this past year. “Some companies trade-off between shelf life and flavor, we do not,” he laughed. He said they have some sugar-free offerings, but nothing tastes like the real thing. Another company that recently added kosher products to its line is Edibles by Jack. This unique product is an edible spoon, which can be used for hors d’oeuvres, desserts or just tasting. The company has been around for 15 years and they are located in Boston. Their kosher flavors are chocolate, corn lime, poppy seed and sea salt. Richard Smenton, vice president of Edible by Jack, said “They delicious, and they are a ‘green’ product as well, good for the environment. Instead of tasting things on plastic spoons, you can eat these so there is no waste.” He also demonstrated how you can bake on the chocolate flavored spoon to make a unique dessert.

Representing Alaska was Tilgners Specialized Smoked Seafood Products. They have a local Brooklyn distributor so customers can have access to their line of lox and other related seafood delicacies. And from Baltimore, on the other side of the taste spectrum, comes Shay’s Chocolate Old Fashioned Caramels. The heavenly confections are available in classic, sea salt, espresso and chocolate lemon flavor. Jeff Pensak and his wife, Ayala, are the owners of this year-old undertaking and their product is cholov yisrael and marketed to both kosher and non-kosher venues.

And then there was the Tofutti booth. Tofutti has been around for 33 years and according to owner David Mintz, “If you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like it has been that long.” A pioneer in the “field of tofu,” Mintz introduced his pareve, cholesterol free ice cream all those decades ago and now Tofutti has over 100 different food items, including ravioli and lasagna. He will soon be introducing a new breakfast line that people “will not be able to stop eating!” His enthusiasm was infectious.

Batyavon! Bon Apetit! Ess Gezunter Heit!

By Banji Ganchrow

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