Caution: Meat and dairy sampling on show floor” reads a sign at
the entrance to the famous Meadowlands Centre in New Jersey, USA.
That may seem like an unusual warning outside a convention building, but to the crowd attending the expo there it made sense: Kosherfest is the world’s largest kosher food trade show, where the vast majority of those attending follow the Jewish prohibition against mixing meat and dairy.
More than 4,000 food industry professionals gathered for the annual two-day event, at which an impressive 325-plus vendors were showcasing a wide array of products, from sweets to wine.
Naturally, there were many samples – reporting can be a tough job, but somebody had to taste everything.
Amid the offerings of many obvious treats (smoked salmon varieties and bagel flavours, for example), there were some surprises.
These were the five most unexpected foods and beverages at Kosherfest…
1 PATTERNED MATZAH
Matzohgram, which was crowned by Kosherfest as the best kosher for Passover product, is matzah printed with a range of Jewish-themed patterns, such as Stars of David and Passover greetings.
Manufacturer Independent Ink uses colourful, edible ink that is kosher for the holiday, and customers placing large orders can also customise matzahs with any image they desire.
“It gives you the ability to be creative for your seder plate,” said N K Ranganathan, Independent Ink’s chief operating officer. “You can have a variety of designs, and it becomes very interesting for the kids.”
2 SALTED CARAMEL FROZEN PIZZA
It’s a pizza, it’s a frozen dessert – it’s a frizza!
The salted caramel frizza from Elegant Desserts won the trade show’s award for best dessert. The dairy-free treat consists of a cookie bottom, salted caramel ice cream and caramel sauce.
“Everybody, when they come over, they go crazy about it because it’s entertaining, it’s fun, it’s different,” said Elegant Desserts’ president Benjamin Weisz.
At Kosherfest, the frizzas were cut into bite-sized squares, but they are meant to be served by the slice, like a pizza. Each pie contains eight to 16
servings, depending on how it’s sliced.
3 OXYGEN-INFUSED WATER
If Oxigen’s claims about its water – that it improves both post-workout and/or post-hangover recovery time and mental clarity – are true, then Gatorade may have some serious competition.
A bottle of the oxygen-infused beverage contains 1,000 parts per million of stabilised oxygen, compared to five to 40 parts per million in regular water, according to
its manufacturer. Those in need of even more Os can take an Oxigen shot, which contains 5,000 parts per million.
“When you drink the water, the oxygen gets into your bloodstream and goes to work immediately to aid in focus, recovery, endurance and stamina,” said Max Lewis, director of sales for Formula Four Beverages. The oxygen is not in gas form, meaning it won’t escape the bottle when it’s opened, he added.
4 READY-MADE SHAKSHUKA
Craving shakshuka, but short on time?
This sauce is perfect for any busy person who loves this Israeli breakfast food, which consists of eggs cooked with spices in tomato sauce. To make this version of the hearty dish, a hungry person needs only to open a jar, crack a few eggs and cook the delicious mess on the hob or in the oven.
“It makes it very quick,” said Tami Bezborodko, vice president of marketing for Iron Chef. “In seven minutes, you can have a nice, hot breakfast.”
The sauce contains tomatoes and spices and comes in mild and medium spicy varieties to suit most tastes.
5 RABBI APPROVED BBQ SAUCE
Want a barbecue with a rabbinic seal of approval?
Look no further. Rabbi Mendel Segal, who founded the Kansas City Kosher BBQ Festival, now offers three varieties of his RaBBi-Q sauce. Since launching in 2015, Segal has expanded his line of sauces to include flavours that draw on both his Jewish and Southern roots – the pomegranate honey barbecue sauce, which Segal came up with when making brisket for Rosh Hashanah, is a favourite.
“It sells really well in the non-Jewish market, too, because nobody has a barbecue sauce that flavour yet,” he said. “But Jews catch on to it right away.”