Two of the most interesting and exhausting days of the year come every November when representatives of every facet of the kosher food industry gather at Kosherfest. The brainchild of Menachem Lubinsky and his staff, Kosherfest has become the place to see and be seen since 1987.
For those whom kosher food is an integral part of daily life, this is a crucial show to attend. For two days, I had the opportunity to visit dozens of booths and speak with over 100 people in the kosher food industry. Over the next few weeks, I hope to share with you some of what I heard and tasted.
Quality Frozen Foods
I had a chance to spend a half-hour at their booth and got the scoop on some wonderful new products that they are distributing. Coming soon under the Nicci Beverage label are five powdered mixes – brazilian hazelnut (sure to be a favorite in my house), French vanilla mocha, Swiss chocolate, fruit crush (100% fat-free) and cappuccino. For these mixes, you basically add water or hot milk and a treat awaits your taste buds.
In you local kosher market, you can find Meged puddings, which are nondairy (soy) and come in vanilla and chocolate. Also under that label will be a parve ice coffee drink.
Coming soon from Samolux is a 12-pack of pareve smoked salmon pinwheels. These great tasting, adorable looking hors d’oeuvres pop right out of the package and makes entertaining simple and easy.
Healthy, organic and great tasting, the Everything Spelt Company has a pan crust pizza that is truly yum. Ungar’s has two great new products out – a pas Yisrael garlic bread and a bakery-style cinnamon stick that comes pre-cooked with an icing pack.
Can life get better than this?
Yes. One company produced many of the candy products that you would find in your local kosher grocery. However they decided not to renew their hashgacha. The very resourceful Gitel at Quality tracked down a new company, Bubble King, and is now exclusively distributing their amazing line of assorted candies. Keep your eyes open for sour balls and bubble gums under their label.
Zoglo’s now has mini cocktail franks that are pareve – great for that non-meat party or get-together. Additionally, Florida’s Natural has new roll-up like Flips.
Last but not least, Snack Delite Marshmallow Bars now come in rainbow- and chocolate-covered. For those of you not familiar with this product, you don’t know what you are missing. These bars, in all their flavors, combine two childhood favorites, Rice Krispies and marshmallows. And best of all they are peanut-free. You can buy them individually-wrapped or in packs of six and all can be found in your local kosher grocery or supermarket. Coming soon – amazing shelf-stable soups and cholent.
We all know the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. Low-fat and low-carb may be the way to go, but none of us are interested in cutting back on taste. Many of the booths we stopped at featured products that are healthy for your body and a treat for your taste buds. Dr. Praeger’s, a favorite in our home, highlighted the veggie chicken nuggets and their line of veggie burgers. These products are great for an easy snack or light dinner. At Glenny’s, we took a look at their new 100-calorie bars called Slim-1. These bars come in interesting combinations like double fudge with green tea and peanut butter caramel with hoodia. They are made with whole grains and contain nine vitamins and minerals.
We visited the Z Sweet booth (which was in the Expo Comida Latina section) where they were distributing samples of an all natural zero calorie sweetener. We tried some on a piece of fruit and were very pleased. With many artificial sweeteners, there is a distinct aftertaste. But this one had none and the sweetness only enhanced the food. (They also gave out a great cheesecake recipe, which can be found below.) Kikkoman (at the All Asia Food section) featured their line of organic soymilk in four flavors: original, creamy vanilla, green tea and tropical delight.
Strawberry Cheeze Cake
Serving Size: 1 piece graham/2ounces topping
2 teaspoons z sweet®
4 ounces ricotta cheese – part skim milk
4 ounces whipped cream cheese
1 graham cracker sheet
4 small strawberries
– In a food processor bowl combine Z Sweet®, ricotta cheese and whipped
– Cover and blend or process until smooth.
– Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
– To serve, cut the graham cracker sheet into 4 pieces at the seam.
– Top each piece with the CheeZe mixture.
– Garnish with a strawberry.
Fat (g) 9.0
Protein (g) 6.4
Carbohydrates (g) 14.3
Fiber (g) 1 3.5
Cholesterol (mg) 29
Our old friends at Dr. B’s have exciting news to share. They have opened a gourmet and caf? on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, where their world-famous cheesecakes have a wonderful new package. Also, they have some new food items: cheesy quiche in mushroom crust, a lite baked ziti and a potato lasagna. Gryfe’s Kosher Bakery has a wonderful whole grain muffin line that includes pomegranate bran and fruit, flax and fiber. But what I enjoyed most at their booth (I went back at least twice) was the whole grain pizza. Pareve soy ice cream; are you scared to try? Well, honestly, the Temptations brand is just that – tempting! I tried the Mint Chocolate Chip and it was great. It had just the right combination of flavors – mostly organic ingredients, zero cholesterol and zero trans fat. It is healthy and has a great taste. How can you turn that down?
But the best news in eating healthy was the EnLITEned Kosher Cooking cookbook on display at Feldheim. This cookbook has taken the country by storm and one glance will tell you why – great recipes (I tried a bunch of them for Sukkos and each one was great), fantastic nutritional information and pictures that just leap off the page.
There were a number of booths featuring cheeses, but the one that stood out most in my mind was Anderson International. Under the Brigitte line were two outstanding cheeses we tried. First was the silky sliced feta, which is to be bought not just for the taste, but also for its easy use. Have you ever tried to slice feta into nice looking slices and not chunks? Not easy. It always comes out messy; now it doesn’t have to. The second was their Brie with pecans. Now I am not an expert on Brie, but this was wonderful, soft and smooth, with a pleasant hint of pecan flavor and not too cheesy tasting. This would be great cheese to serve at a wine and cheese gathering or with some fruit. Both items and many of the others they carry are chalav Yisrael.
That’s all for now. Coming next week: R.A.B. Foods (including a sit-down with Susie Fishbein), Sabra, Empire and much more.