Disclaimer: In exchange for a
Saturday morning review of the 2015 Kosherfest, I was offered a press pass.
The 27th Annual Kosherfest, purportedly the world’s largest B2B (business-to-business) expo for things kosher, was held November 10-11 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, just west of New York City. I say purportedly because I don’t really, but considering that it’s the NYC-area, the statement has merit.
First order of business…what’s kosher? Oh, that’s a long story; here’s a synopsis. Very generally speaking, based on the Jewish scripture, the Torah: no pork or shellfish – so they’ve already lost my vote; no combining of dairy and animal products; and a ritualized slaughter of animals. Also, owls are a no-go. If you’re read over the long-list of things interdicted, you won’t be too surprised to find that kosher goods are not cheap. Lastly and quite confusingly, a google search returns nutritional info for the word “kosher.”
I didn’t know what al-chet, so I’ll share it with you. It is a confession of sins said ten times on Yom Kippur, the most important day on a Jewish calendar.
How would I compare this to the NY Summer Fancy Food Shows?…
-Kosherfest had security checkpoints
-Kosherfest took no issue with people taking out samples (within reason)-I was craving the Fancy Food Show the whole time
-Korea had a surprising presence at both (fish paste, anyone?)
With the background out of the way, let’s delve into some products and tastings that were available:
Granola made from matzoh, unleavened flatbread. Synonymous with cardboard? That’s up for debate. Whether or not you’re a fan, I can’t say this granola was worth a second glance. Perhaps it was a “new product winner” simply because all new products get rewarded? Build their confidence.
Gefilte fish, traditionally a Passover appetizer, consists of ground fish mixed with bread crumbs and egg, then boiled in fish stock and served with horseradish. Compliments of Eastern Europe.
Loot. The fountain of health brand of hummus – in this case, Sesame and Ginger and Greek Olive – in spite of using canola oil, is still one of the better store-bought versions I’ve tried. Thyme-specked lavash, an unleavened Armenian flatbread made in a clay-brick oven (tonir, in Armenian), was also a good find. The outlier is the Korean Alkali salt. Yes, the token Korean booth was a surprise, considering how vital a role the sea plays in overall Korean cuisine. So, just remove some marine by-products and you’re back on the playing field.
For more information on this year’s event, feel free to contact me or the Kosherfest team.