April 9, 2024
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April 9, 2024
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KosherPalooza Celebrates World of Kosher Food

KosherPalooza’s Shlomo Klein.

KosherPalooza, a celebration of kosher food at the Meadowlands Exposition Center on June 28, sponsored by Fleishigs Magazine, gave consumers a taste of the trade show style experience that previously was only open to industry. Hundreds of up-and-coming and established brands introduced themselves with samples of products. Owners or their representatives were on hand to chat about the history of their products and talk about what makes them special. Cooking demos took place all day by personalities well known
to kosher cooks through their books and social media posts. Panel discussions by authorities on different aspects of kosher food took place in a quiet room off the main floor. With hundreds of brands and dozens of cooking demos and panel discussions, I can’t give shout outs to everyone, but these brands, demos and discussions stood out for me:

Easy makes frozen, gluten-free puff pastry style squares and sheets. Esther Anzaroot, co-owner with Lilly Nissim, said she developed the idea after her son brought home a girlfriend who could only eat gluten-free products. “I felt bad that she couldn’t share our delicacies,” she told me. She experimented and created her recipe, first for her family and then the outside community. “We call it a canvas for your creation,” she said. “If you’re Syrian, make bourekas or lachmajine. If you’re Ashkenazi, make a deli roll.” I tried a sample boureka, and it tasted just like puff pastry. Order products at www.GF-EASY.com.

Easy makes gluten-free puff pastry.

Le Baton de Vie is a small producer of gluten-free artisan bread. Owner Rachel Lebovits said the name comes from the pasuk calling bread the staff of life. “When a person finds out they have to become gluten-free, the biggest adjustment is bread,” she said. “Mine looks like dough and resembles regular bread.” Growing up with many allergies led her to become a recipe developer for allergy-friendly foods. She worked for a baker who wanted gluten-free challah but she felt it would always be a mediocre product since it had to be made from oat flour, which has a dense texture. She had an idea for gluten-free bread so she went out on her own to make it. She takes weekly orders and hopes to find a company that can help her expand. Her products can be ordered at www.sprinkledpinkusa.com.

Pnina Desserts makes gorgeous, delicious confections for events, and delivers to the tri-state area. At the show Shavy, a friend of the owner, was handing out samples. “This is a premium product with all-natural ingredients,” she said. A smiling Perela Teitelbaum said that she has always loved to bake but had no prior commercial experience; she jumped right in to start her business. Order at www.pninadesserts.com.

Macarons from Pnina Desserts.

I had to stop by Granolachik even though I know the product well—I keep it stocked in the breakfast food section of my pantry. Aimee Turner lives in Englewood now but grew up on a farm in the Berkshires. She put that “fresh” aesthetic into her line of vegan granola bark made with different flavors. I usually buy cinnamon raisin or chocolate chip. At the show, she introduced her new strawberry shortcake flavor. Granolachik can be ordered online at https://www.granolachik.com and is available at kosher stores and supermarkets.

Aimee Turner, Granolachik.

Bubbe Roza’s Kitchen is a brand of different kinds of frozen meat dumplings from Rubashkin’s: beef, chicken, turkey, veal and lamb. The company started in 1952 and the founder’s grandchildren are keeping it up. The samples of turkey dumplings they made at the show were excellent. Order at www.RubashkinsMeatStore.com.

Bubbe Roza’s dumplings.

Better Food for Better Events delivers dairy and pareve selections for all kinds of events in trademark orange packaging. CEO Tovia Roth says his is the best food out there. At the show, the company had a large display of products including wraps, salads, cheese boards and pastry. He also had a section of small tartlets. The sweet potato tart was different and delicious. Wish it was a retail product! Contact [email protected].

Better Food for Better Events.

SOL Catering was founded by two young men who got their training at Alenbi, a phenomenal restaurant in Brooklyn that unfortunately has closed. They’re on their own now, catering high-end, fine-dining events for weddings, birthday parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, corporate events and for private families. Yosef Epstein and Meir Goldberg will take care of everything that goes into a party including getting the bartenders and sushi stations. At the show they served an artistically plated, tasty appetizer of beef tartare with hot pepper aioli and pickled radish. Follow SOL on Instagram.com/sol.dining.

7th Heaven makes vegan pareve chocolate that tastes like dairy. The company representative at the show said the vegan owners, Daniel Bareket and Elya Adi, wanted the taste of milk chocolate but with more wholesome ingredients. They developed their recipe with oat milk and coconut in a secret process. And yes, it tastes like milk chocolate. Shop at www.7thheavenchocolate.com.

Stack Street Coffee and Tea was founded by Yehuda Reich, who has a background in e-commerce. He was giving out samples of cold brew coffee that was so good and creamy, I didn’t need real cream or sugar. Order at https://stackstcoffee.com/

If peanut chews are your idea of the best candy, get to know PCPops. The confections are hand made and coated in premium chocolate. Their card says, “Taking peanut chews to a whole new level.” It’s not an exaggeration. Order at https://pcpops.com.

Avital Stern makes different flavors of babka at Haus of Babka. The dulce de leche sample I tasted was a great combination of moist pastry and yummy caramel. Based in Lakewood, she delivers outside the area as well. Follow on Instagram @hausofbabka and all her at 347-407-1202.

Avital Stern, Haus of Babka.

Rochie Pinson is the author of two books on challah, “Rising” and “The Kids Book of Challah,” which she sold and signed before her challah-braiding demonstration.

“Rising” started out as a sophisticated book about challah from around the world and turned into a cookbook. The idea for a children’s cookbook started during the COVID lockdowns, when Pinson taught on Zoom, and kids were home. She saw kids come into their mothers’ kitchens and eagerly watch her classes. “I was getting messages that this was the only thing that would get their children off their screens,” she said. “It would bring them into the kitchen and they would make challah together with their mom. And I realized it would be very empowering for children to be involved in the process of preparing for Shabbos, and to give them an early start to love Shabbos and Judaism.” The books are available on Amazon. Follow Rebbetzin Rochie on Instagram (@rochiepinson)

I didn’t taste a beverage from Mixcraft, makers of craft cocktails for events, but they must be fabulous. Bartenders were mixing drinks in a raised, trailer-style booth for people who bravely waited on a very long line that moved like cars on the Cross Bronx Expressway. Follow Mixcraft on Instagram @mixcraftevents. Call 845-475-8232.

There were also several distributors of wine and spirits. Royal Wine was on hand, as were smaller distributors. NOBL imports and distributes select brands of wine and spirits from France and Italy. Their wines are primarily from top quality non-kosher wineries who do a special kosher run for them. The Israel Wine Agency imports and promotes small boutique wineries in Judea and Samaria.

I watched two food demos. Rivky Kleiman showed how to make a salt-encased standing rib roast and then take the salt cap off when the meat is finished cooking. I have the recipe in her book “Simply,” but thought it looked too intimidating to try. Her demo has encouraged me to consider it for the next special occasion. Levana Kirshenbaum prepared a vegetable tagine, a classic Moroccan stew that I like to make with salmon or meat. She demonstrated the proper way to plate it: Mound a base of cous-cous first, then the tagine, and finally pour the sauce over both.

I caught the end of a panel discussion about what’s trending in kosher wine, and talked about the points made with panelist Mendy Mark, Manager of FillerUp Wines in Teaneck, when I shopped there for wine before Shabbat. There was consensus among the panelists that rosé as a category is out, and white wine is ascending. Mark agreed he sells much more white wine than red. He would like to see kosher wines follow a trend in the non-kosher world—more good-value wine at lower price points. “In the non-kosher world, there are many wines that score over 90 points from publications that rate wines that are under $20 a bottle,” he said. “In the kosher world, maybe there are 10. I think this is something producers and distributors need to work on. People should be able to drink a high-quality product at a lower price.”

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