18 Delicious Reasons Why Kosherfest Is the Best


Sharon Matten discusses how to make different drinks and desserts after attending Kosherfest, the yearly international Kosher food convention hosted at the Meadowlands Convention Center in New Jersey.

Kosherfest is the yearly international Kosher food convention hosted at the Meadowlands Convention Center in New Jersey.
In my annual tradition, I walked through the doors that first morning with an eager sense of anticipation, excited to see what new and creative products were being shown this year. I wasn’t disappointed. There was even a showcase featuring the new and exciting kosher cookbooks with signings by Norene Gilletz, Elizabeth Kurtz, Miriam Pascal, Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. There was so much food that I had to designate one day “Dairy Day” and the next “Meat Day.”
I was sad and incredibly full when the show was over. I’m excited about the new friends and associates that I made at the show and am already looking forward, God willing, to Kosherfest 2016!
Best of Beef/Chicken/Fish Products:
Jack’s Gourmet (jacksgourmetkosher.com) came out with the most amazing, unbelievable, melt-in-your-mouth, flavorful, and just plain delicious BBQ Pulled Beef Brisket. I simply could not get enough. I wasn’t the only one to love it — the BBQ Pulled Beef Brisket was named Kosherfest 2015 Best New Product and Best in Show! Made without artificial ingredients, MSG or nitrites, it’s gluten-free and comes in a heat-and-eat box in the refrigerated section. Jack’s also had its usual lineup of awesome sausages and beef bacon “Facon” which are also great.
Joburg Boerewors (joburgkosher.com) has been making one of my favorite sausages for years! Great straight off the grill.
Pelleh brought duck! For the first time ever, there were duck products at Kosherfest. The Pelleh company brought samples of Cherry Duck Sausages, Fried Duck and Squab. I have never had squab. I was a little scared. It was really, really good. I’m looking forward to finding the Pelleh products in my local store.
Best of Snacks/Treats/Desserts:
California Gourmet (californiagourmet.net) makes a competitively priced great pareve, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan chocolate chip, made with excellent quality chocolate.  They will be coming out shortly with packaged chocolate chunks, and are hoping to have a Passover line as well. The chips are so good they were a New Product Winner at the show. Bonus: Owner Chana Shusterman is one of the nicest people I have ever met.
Paskez Chanukah line (paskesz.com) has everything you need for Chanukah: candy, treats, oil wicks for your menorah, etc.
Hint Mint (hintmint.com) delivers so much flavor in a little, tiny mint! My favorite: Citrus Ginger Sour.
Best of Sauces/Dressings/Spreads/Condiments:
Brianna Dressing (briannas.com) is the family owned, New Product Winner in the Sauces, Dressings and Marinades category. These dressings are tangy, flavorful and delicious. My favorite not-low-calorie dressing was the Blush Wine Vinaigrette, and the lower-cal Lively Lemon Tarragon Dressing.
Mediterranean Chef Hummus (themedchef.com) makes hummus Masabzha. YUM! I declared it was outstanding, then asked how to actually spell Masabzha (I mean really, how was I supposed to know that?). The chef turned to me and handed me two full size containers to take home! They also had 13 other great flavors like Pesto Hummus and Roasted Pepper Strips with Feta Cheese
Oxygen Spicy Mexican Marinade (oxygenimports.com) is my favorite this year. Spicy, and will be great on chicken, beef, or vegetable stir-fry.
Best of Cheese/Dairy:
Cheese Guy Cheese (thecheeseguy.com) is outstanding. I am usually not a blue cheese fan but Brent “The Cheese Guy” makes a great one, and if you are a spicy fan (me!!!) then you must try the hand-crafted, artisanal Chipotle Cheddar — it’s an all-natural, vegetarian, gluten-free cheese. Then again, all of Brent’s cheeses are terrific, so you could pick any one and be supremely satisfied.
Normans Yogurts (normansdairy.com/) was another surprising product at the show. I was pleasantly surprised by the Cholov Yisroel creamy, tangy, delicious, 100-calorie blended yogurts that I tried. They were better than some of the better known brands that I’ve had. When I asked about the carb content of the yogurt (12g) I was told with a smile, “We only use real fruit in our yogurt — no artificial flavors — and fruit adds carbs.” Norman has a full line of healthy yogurts for the family. It’s my new brand.
Isaac’s Kosher Cheese
(milanoscheese.com/kosher-division) makes awesome Italian parmesan, romano and asiago cheese — and is coming soon to your stores.
Best of Beverages/Wine/Alcohol:
Aromaville (aromaville.com/) still makes the best iced cappuccino mix, and they have expanded to other beverages as well as beverage dispensers. I greatly reduced the quantity of frozen mango juice in their dispenser this year. Their products are Cholov Yisroel.
Lavie Dulce De Leche Dairy Liqueur (kosherwine.com/
lavie-dulce-de-leche-liqueur.html) is my second stop every year after Guss’ pickles. Rich, creamy, sweet liqueur. Sigh.
Bella Sabatina Premium Tea (bellasabatinatea.com/) was the winner of my personal award for prettiest and best tasting tea at the show, with flavors like Buckingham Breakfast, Ginger Spice, and Blueberry Flan.
Best Gluten-Free: 
Manishewitz Gluten-Free Products (manischewitz.com/product/) has come out with a great line of gluten-free products. David’s Gourmet Pareve Collection Gluten Free cookies (foodservice.davidscookies.com) now has a kosher, pareve, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free (but not calorie-free!) line of cookies and brownies. Super
exciting for the GFE (gluten-free eater).
Matzola (foodmannosh.com) now has a gluten-free Kosher for Passover version of their delicious maztah-based granola — Gluten Free Cranberry Orange. It’s the “Trail Mix of the Exodus.”
The following recipes are reproduced from Something Sweet by Miriam Pascal, with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications.
Tiramisu Cookies Dairy or Pareve 
Traditional tiramisu is a coffee-flavored dessert, noted for its ladyfingers soaked in espresso. I reinterpreted this fabulous dessert into cakey cookies, packed with coffee flavor and rolled in coffee-soaked ladyfinger crumbs.
1 cup coarse ladyfinger crumbs
2 Tbsps. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. brewed coffee (or ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 Tbsp. hot water)
¾ cup oil
4 oz. cream cheese
or soy cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup espresso or strong coffee (see Note)
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Prepare the crumbs: Combine ladyfinger crumbs, brown sugar, and coffee in a small bowl. Stir until combined. Mixture should have the texture of damp sand. Set aside.
3. Prepare the cookie dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium speed, beat together oil, cream cheese, and sugars
until smooth.
4. Add espresso, egg, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low; add flour, one cup at a time, beating after each addition, until combined.
6. Use a medium cookie scoop (or a heaping tablespoon) to portion out dough. Roll into balls; then roll in prepared
ladyfinger crumbs until fully coated. Place onto prepared baking sheets.
7. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until cookies are set.
Note: You can use 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules dissolved in ¼ cup hot water instead of espresso.
Plan Ahead: These cookies freeze well in an airtight container or bag. They’re on the soft side, so handle with care when packing them. Defrost fully before serving.
Yields about 3½ dozen
Pomegranates are beautiful fruits, loaded with health benefits and delicious flavors, so it’s a shame they aren’t used more in baking! These easy-to-make and unusual cupcakes have a delicate fruity flavor and pretty pink
appearance, thanks to the glaze.
½ cup oil
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1½ cups flour
½ cup pomegranate juice
1½ cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsps. pomegranate juice, divided
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a standard (12-cup) cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium speed, beat
together oil and sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add vanilla, salt, baking soda, baking powder and eggs. Beat until combined.
Alternately add half the flour and half the pomegranate juice, beating after each addition until incorporated.
Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling each cup about three-quarters full.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the tops are set. Remove from oven; cool completely before glazing.
Prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice; mix until smooth. Gradually add an additional 1-3 teaspoons juice if needed to form a thick but spreadable glaze.
Dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes into the glaze, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Plan Ahead: These cupcakes freeze well in an airtight container. For best results, freeze them without the glaze and add it just before serving, but you can glaze them before freezing if necessary. Be sure to let the glaze set before you cover the cupcakes.
Yields 1 dozen cupcakes


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