This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘kosher’

Jerusalem Kosher Wine Festival, 2013

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 31, 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Last night I attended the third and final night of the 2nd Annual Jerusalem Kosher Wine Festival in Binyanei haUma. For 80 NIS, you get you a glass to take home and all the wine tasting you can handle. Fortunately, the hall is close to the Central Bus Station. The festival was sponsored by A. A. Pyup, a large kosher wine store in Sanhedria. The store is close to Har Hotzvim, where my husband and I work, and we have been shopping there for years. From the outside it looks like a cinder block shack but it has two large rooms inside and a covered area outside. Some 40 wineries provided tastings and sold individual bottles and a “3+1” (i.e., 4 bottles for the price of 3) offer.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Cooking workshop. I think he was brandishing a piece of chicken.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Food blogger Miriam Kresh (Israeli Kitchen) , who is working on an article for the Green Prophet, invited me to come along.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

The food vendors were stationed in the lobby. Miriam and I bought a cheese platter, which I’m not posting the photo because it was probably more cheese than I eat in two weeks. 🙂 But oh so good — Camembert, red cheese (sheeps’ milk), Gouda, basil cheese (like eating pesto in solid form! That’s the green one below) and another that I’m not sure of. Other vendors sold sushi, pastries, chocolates, cakes, spreads, olive oil, and bread. There was plenty of food to soak up the alcohol.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

I hadn’t planned to buy anything but ended up taking home a bottle of Adom Cabernet Sauvignon from Saslove Winery, Kibbutz Eyal, near Kfar Saba. It was rich and spicy. The description sounds like someone dumped the contents of a supermarket bakery aisle into this wine, but the result was delicious! The Adom Cabernet Sauvignon has received one commendation, three silver medals, a bronze medal, and a trophy.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon rich with cherry, raspberry, plum and blueberry aromas. Ageing for 20 months in French and American oak barrels spiced with mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, mocha, chocolate, vanilla and slightly smoky maple syrup.

The Saslove “Pink” rosé was semi-dry, rich, not at all cloying, with a floral perfume. It was an exceptionally good wine, and if I had had the strength to carry 3+1 by bus to Maale Adumim (Miriam did shlep 3+1 to Petach Tikvah by bus!) I would have included that wine. We tried the Reserved Cabernet Sauvignon as well, but Miriam and I agreed that it was less exceptional than the rosé and the Adom Cabernet Sauvignon.

Roni Saslove (below), an Israeli-Canadian second-generation winemaker (her father is an engineer turned winemaker), told us about how she uses different yeasts for different grape varieties and some she freezes in order to stop fermentation abruptly and retain the flavours. She makes excellent wines, very complex and almost textured.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

When I left at 8:30, crowds were still arriving. Not too surprisingly, the attendees were mostly religious and young.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Posted in Israel, photography | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Recipe: Azzime Dolci, Unleavened Cookies in Venice

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 18, 2012

Azzime Dolci

Azzime Dolci translate as “sweet unleavened,” so a Google search will take you to a lot of Italian Passover recipe sites (but not these cookies, alas). I took the photo above at the cafe of the Jewish Museum in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice. The lower photo was taken at Panificio Volpe, the kosher bakery around the corner from the Jewish Museum (you can buy azzime dolci there as well, and that’s probably where the Jewish Museum gets them).


I didn’t taste the “unleavened bread” (pano azimo = matzah) in the second photo but I did have the Azzime Dolci. They were very tasty, a bit tough, with whole anise seed. I tried to find a recipe on the Web, without success. However, I did find it in my stained copy of Edda Servi Machlin’s Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews (Giro Press, 1981), vol. 1. It’s a Passover recipe and calls for Passover flour. You probably won’t  have access to Passover flour, so I suggest you use all-purpose flour and make it during the year when it’s not Passover.

Azzime Dolci al Vino (Sweet Wine Matzot)

2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons anise seeds
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and form a dough. Turn out over an oiled surface and knead until smooth. Roll into a cylinder; then cut the cylinder into 6 equal slices. Roll each slice down to 1/4-inch thickness. Pinch two concentric rows of holes [see note below] and arrange on a lightly oiled and well-floured baking sheet. Bake in 450°F oven for 15 minutes. Serve as a wholesome snack or breakfast food.

Note: The instructions for making the holes are provided in her recipe for matzah.

To trim the edges: place your thumb at an angle at the edge of the disk and then pinch with thumb and index finger to create a small bump. Repeat this motion at the same angle all around so the bumps are the same distance apart. Now for the holes: a quarter of an inch from the pinched border, attacking the disk from one side, pinch a piece of dough with thumb and index finger, making two holes. Move the index finger into the hole made by the thumb (toward you) and pinch another hole. Repeat all around until the first loop of holes is completed. A quarter of an inch in from the first row, pinch the dough and make another loop of holes.

Yields 6

Posted in Food, Italy, photography, recipes | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Updated Teller’s Bakery Entry

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 25, 2009

I updated my entry on Teller’s Bakery after I received the latest Jerusalem Kosher News email from Yehiel Spiro. Teller’s kashrut certification is Jerusalem Rabbinate Mehadrin. A copy of the certificate is posted on the Jerusalem Kosher News site. Kudos to Yehiel for providing a valuable public service!

I haven’t had much time to post this week because we are in the thick of the Jewish High Holidays. Rosh Hashana was last weekend. Yom Kippur is this Monday and Sukkot is the week after. As a friend said, Jewish holidays are like an eating disorder: feast – fast – feast – fast …. 🙂 My son was at his yeshiva high school for Rosh Hashana, came back briefly for the fast (Tsom Gedalia) following Rosh Hashana, went back to school, and will be returning on Monday night, when the fast of Yom Kippur ends. Then he’s home for a couple weeks for the Sukkot vacation.

I wish you all an easy fast, if you’re fasting on Yom Kippur, and G’mar Hatima Tova.

Posted in Food, Israel | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Basher Fromagerie, the Best (Not Kosher) Cheese in Town

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 12, 2009

It seems presumptuous for me to blog about a place that I only visited for a few minutes, last Thursday, but I don’t think I will ever forget it. And it will not be my only visit.

If there’s a kosher cheese heaven, it must be Basher’s Fromagerie in Mahane Yehuda (53 Etz Hayim Street, the covered shuk, midway between Yaffo and Agrippas, 02-625-7969).

Basher's Fromagerie

Eli Basher and his brother Dudi are Mahane Yehuda veterans (or vatikim, as we call them). Their grandfather and father ran a successful restaurant in the shuk for many years. Now Eli Basher has a shop that carries over 700 kinds of kosher cheeses. Actually, I read one article that claims 850 cheeses, but I’ve never counted. Maybe I’ll ask next time I’m there.

Basher's Fromagerie

The staff know their cheeses and will press upon you any number of free samples.

Basher's Fromagerie

My moment of capitulation arrived with the Gruyere. I like Gruyere and always thought of it as a nice, mild, nutty cheese for making fondue, among other things. Goes well with dry wines. Remember that scene in “Confessions of a Shopaholic” where the heroine, deeply in debt, sees the perfect green scarf and decides that she MUST have that scarf? That’s what happened to me when I tasted the Gruyere. The flavour was so deep and penetrating, the texture so smooth and melting, that I knew I had to purchase that cheese. I hadn’t planned to buy anything, just take pictures. A tiny wedge cost more than a whole chicken. I had to have that cheese.

Basher's Fromagerie

I used only 50 gms of that wedge of cheese to make a tomato and gruyere quiche. The other 50 gms are carefully wrapped and stored for my next inspiration.

I found an article on the Web that describes Eli and Dudi’s wine and cheese shop, Wine & More (New Industrial Zone – Rishon LeZion, G-compound, Yaldei Teheran 3 Street), in Rishon LeZion. No idea whether it’s kosher. It probably isn’t.

A co-worker told me that the kosher cheese industry received a boost, indirectly, from the outbreak of mad cow disease. Many European cheese-makers switched to microbial rennet, which made it much easier to receive kosher certification. (Kosher cheeses can be made with animal rennet, but most are made with synthetic rennet. The OU site has a clearly written, somewhat technical, article that explains kosher dairy products.)

Update (July 2011): I’ve heard reports that not all of Basher’s cheeses are kosher, so check the wrapper first! If you’re buying off the block, as to see a wrapper or certification. It’s still fabulous cheese but you can’t assume that it’s all kosher or chalav yisroel, etc.

Update (January 2012): Basher’s has no kosher supervision. Sorry! What a pity….
See Jerusalem Kosher News for details.

Posted in Food, Israel | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Teller’s Bakery in Mahane Yehuda

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 9, 2009

Who doesn’t like fresh baked bread? I visited Teller’s Bakery in the Mahane Yehuda market, Jerusalem, this morning with two co-workers, one of whom is a neighbour of the owner, Avishai Teller. The bakery is not an old family business — Avishai took a course and then opened his bakery a few years ago on Agrippas street. His sourdough and baguettes are wonderful.

Bakery front


Bakery owner Avishai Teller slashing baguettes:
Avishai Teller slashing baguettes

A conveyor belt with adjustable height, to accommodate the different oven compartments, moves the raw baguettes into the oven. I assume that they are removed with a peel. Interestingly, baguettes were not proofed after being shaped. Avishai shaped the loaves, slashed them, and put them into the oven. (If you click on the photo and view the large version or original, you can see that he’s holding the lame (bread-slashing tool) in his teeth.)

Conveyor belt moves the raw baguettes into the oven


In the main room of the bakery, workers cut a huge mass of dough into pieces, weigh them, and shape them very quickly into round loaves. This particular batch is “Health Bread.” Working with bread while listening to the Beatles doesn’t seem like a bad way to make a living.

Cutting and shaping loaves

At one point I photographed the mashgiach (kashrut supervisor, who makes sure that the baked goods are kosher). He came over to us and asked, “Are you Jews? Do you observe the Sabbath?” Then he turned to me and said, “Would you like to perform the mitzvah of separating challah? It’s an important mitzvah for women.” So I dipped my hand in flour and grabbed a handful of sticky dough out of the mixer. I almost never perform this mitzvah at home because my oven is too small to hold the minimum quantity of dough required, so the rabbi helped me with the blessing. He told me that many women come to the bakery solely to perform this mitzvah.

Taking challah

Chart indicating when challah was taken and by whom:

Hafrashat Challah chart


In a smaller room, devoted to making the danishes and other pastries, a man was mixing chopped apples, sugar, a little lemon, and cinnamon. He opened the refrigerator and took out a large slab of folded puff pastry, informing us that this dough was 50% butter. Wow. He cut the dough in half and then rolled it back and forth through an electric rolling machine, which works like a pasta machine. Shelves at either end caught the ends of the dough, as the strip became longer and thinner. The finished sheet was about half a centimeter in thickness.

Rolling dough for danishes

The pastry maker cut rolled about half the dough around a huge rolling pin and transferred it to the work surface. He picked up a gadget that looked like an expanding trivets. It was an adjustable dough cutter, which he used to cut the dough into squares.

Cutting dough for danishes

The filling was squirted into the squares from a plastic bag used like a pastry bag.

Filling apple danishes

He folded the pastry squares into plump envelopes at lightning speed.

Shaping danishes

The finished product:


Update: Sept. 25, 2009.

Teller’s kashrut certification is Jerusalem Rabbinate Mehadrin. Yehiel Spiro has posted a copy of the hechsher (kashrut certificate) on his site, Jerusalem Kosher News. I presume that Rabbi Lublin was the man in the photo above.

Posted in Food, Israel | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »