Archive for Challah Connection News

New Purim Gifts, It’s Time for Purim 2010

We have been having alot of fun lately developing some great new Purim gifts for you to send to family and friends. For those who may not know, Purim is one of the biggest Jewish gift giving holidays of the year. It is a celebratory and festive time when we share Mishloach Manot, gifts of food and drink, with family, friends and the poor. Surely you have seen the triangular cookie, hamentashen. Purim is the holiday at which we enjoy hamentashen and wine (for those over 21!) For the complete Purim story, click here, to Challah Connection. There, you’ll also find our very own hamentashen recipe. Purim is also a big corporate gift giving holiday. We have customers who send Purim gift baskets to all of their customers and clients. As a matter of fact, some don’t send gifts at Hanukkah or Christmas, but on Purim. So if you have Jewish clients or customers, Purim gifts may be perfect for you to “keep in touch” or show your appreciation.

But, back to our fun! Here at Challah Connection we are always developing new products. We typically begin brainstorming approximately 2 months prior to a holiday. At this time, we look at gift giving trends, competition, what we’re selling alot of/little of, new products found at food shows and more. We then put on our creative hats and develop products that we think you’ll want to share with friends and family. Once we have all of the samples pulled together, we photograph them and add them to our site. Sounds easy, right? Not! Just in time for Purim gift giving, here’s what we’ve developed. Happy Shopping! Please order online or call us at 866-242-5524 for questions or to order. Happy Purim!

Purim Gift Baskets, Purim Gifts, Purim Royale Gift Basket

Purim Royale Gift Basket

Kosher Nut Gift Tower, Kosher Purim Gifts

Our Favorite Nuts Gift Tower

Kosher Candy Platter Purim, Purim Gift for Kids

Kids' Purim Treat Platter

Kosher Purim Bakery Gift, Kosher Hamentashen

Purim Care Package

Kosher Gift Basket, Challah French Toast

Challah Maven French Toast Kit

Purim Bakery Tower, Purim Gift, Purim Gifts, Shalach Manot

Purim Bakery Tower

Purim Gift Basket, Purim Gift, Purim Gifts, Mishloach Manot

Whole Megillah Purim Gift Basket

Purim Candy Gift Basket, Purim Gift Baskets

Adult Purim Platter

Kosher Healthy Snack Basket, Kosher Gift Basket

Healthy Snack Basket

Purim Nosh Gift Basket, Kosher Purim Gift

Purim Nosh

Purim Gift Basket, Purim Gift Baskets, Purim Gifts

Royalty Purim Gift Basket

Kosher Italian Gift Basket, Kosher Gift Basket

Kosher Italian Delights Gift Basket

Kosher Breakfast Gift Basket, Purim Gift, Purim Gift Basket

Good Morning Sunshine Kosher Breakfast Basket

Kosher Peanut Tower, Purim Gifts

Peanut Lovers Gift Tower

Kosher Snack Basket, Shalach Manot, Purim College Kids

Healthy Munch Box

Purim Nostalgia Basket, Unique Purim Gift Basket

Purim Nostalgia Basket

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San Francisco Food Show…Mmm Good!

From Sherry Jonas, Challah Connection Director of Customer Service

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, CA. There is a summer show, held here in New York which, from our global headquarters in Westport, CT, is an easy day trip. But San Francisco is a commitment. People might wonder why we bother going to the West coast when we see so many wonderful vendors in our own backyard here in NYC. We go because we are constantly seeking out new and exciting kosher products that meet our high standards – delicious, the best in their class, and certified kosher by an appropriate Vaad.

San Francisco was typically wintery – gray and damp. But inside the Moscone Center was a completely different story! Produced by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) since 1955, the Fancy Food Shows are North America’s largest specialty food and beverage marketplace. The shows draw 1,300 – 2,500 exhibitors showcasing 250,000 products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic, kosher and more. Eighty-one countries are represented by both the presenters and the 16,000 – 24,000 attendees who make their way (and their stomachs!) to these shows. I was thrilled to be one of them.

I went representing Challah Connection with some very specific goals in mind:
- Find Purim’s “Next Big Thing”!
- Find us delicious, exciting, ethnic AND kosher-certified foods.
Was I successful? Yes and no.

Our Purim gift baskets (shalach manot) will include some new and exciting confections and edibles – check out our website now for current offerings and in the coming weeks to see our new products. We are also working hard to bring you new and exciting reasons to celebrate – kosher breakfast baskets, healthy care packages, and new holiday goods. But one thing we are very excited about is new ethnic-centric baskets. We are pursuing kosher goods to offer you Indian, Italian, and Mediterranean gift baskets (to name but a few). Other items were harder to come by – not a lot of rabbis working in Japan & China, so not a lot of kosher Asian food products to choose from! But we’re working on it, so keep checking back!

Some of my new favorite finds? Creamy salmon pate from the Pacific Northwest, scrumptious stuffed grape leaves from the Mediterranean, soothing masala chai teas from northern California, succulent figs and dates from southern California, fluffy pancake mixes and right-from-the-tree maple syrup from New England, and delectable scones from the Midwest USA. My mouth is watering just thinking about all of the wonderful things we are currently sourcing for you!

Stick around! It pays to be a member of the Challah Connection family, where you’ll always eat well and send the best of the best – because we won’t settle for anything less!

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Challah Against Hunger

Last week I went to a friend’s essay reading. My friend wrote about her hardscrabble childhood in Idaho. One of the images I couldn’t get out of my head (and written here with her permission):
“Hunger was always with my sister and me. We snuck into the neighbor’s shed and stole canned fruit. We carried it into the sagebrush and ate the sweet peaches and drank the juice. When we were very hungry, we stole dog food, too, and ate it.”

Now, I don’t about you, but my childhood was a little different than that. I always had plenty to eat. And here at Challah Connection I am surrounded by food. I’m constantly sampling new products, as well as sampling my own holiday cooking.

My friend’s essay reminded me that other people are not as fortunate as I am, and my company has made a big commitment to donating unused food to our local food pantry, as well as monetary donations to Jewish charities.

And my friend’s experience is not unusual. I was shocked to open up Tuesday’s New York Times and read the headline, “49 Million Americans Report a Lack of Food.” From the article: “The number of Americans who lived in households that lacked consistent access to adequate food soared last year to 49 million, the highest since the government began tracking what it calls “food insecurity” 14 years ago,” the Department of Agriculture reported Monday.

49 mIllion!? I was shocked to see that number. It’s outrageous in a country as wealthy as ours, where 10-year-olds carry cell phones and 18-year-olds drive BMWs.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s a terrible problem, so huge that nothing can possibly be done about it. But I’ve decided to act, to make a difference, and I’m inviting you to join me.

challah  med
For every challah you order, we’ll match it. We will send it to our homeless shelter. Or, if you prefer, we will include it in your shipment, for you to deliver to a food shelter of your choice.  To participate in this offer, be sure to add the code HUNGER at checkout.  Our pledge will continue until December 4.

I know we can make a difference, one loaf at a time.

Best,

Jane

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Eight Stress Free Nights of Hanukkah

My friend Erica was babbling into the phone.  Something about evil and December and a plot to drive people crazy.

“Erica,” I said. “How many cups of coffee have you had today?”

“Four, but that’s not the point.”

“Okay…well, why did you just say that you loathe the month of December?”

“Because…between my family, and my in-laws, and my office, and my husband’s office, and my kids’ and their friends, and my friends…I just got out a calculator and realized that I have to purchase 64 gifts for Hanukkah this year.”

“Wow.  Well, you don’t have to get really expensive stuff.”

“That’s only one issue.  It’s the combing of websites, it’s the clicking through order forms.  And then I finally order it, and the company wraps it in Christmas paper.  That’s why I’m calling you.  I thought, well, maybe I’ll just ask Challah Connection to send out 64 chocolate babkas.  Or 64 blue and white cookies.”

“Erica, we could do 64 babkas, 64 Hanukkah Candy Platters, whatever you want,” I said. “But don’t you want your gifts to be…you know…unique as the people you’re giving them to?”

“That’s too much to hope for.  Isn’t it?”

“What if I told you that I could send 8 nights of wrapped Chanukah gifts to one address for you and you’d only pay one shipping charge?”
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“You have such a service?”

“Yes!”

“It’s a Chanukah miracle.”

“It’s just something Sherry and I thought of to help busy people–like us.”

“But I really only need to do 3 nights for my sister’s kids.”

“No problem.”


“You mean, I don’t have to run out and buy tape and wrapping paper and Hanukkah gelt and a menorah and something nice for my Aunt Betsy like maybe…oh, God, what can I get Aunt Betsy?”

“How about “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking” wrapped and shipped for the first night?”Jewish Holiday Baking

“She’ll love that.”

It was music to my ears.

Here’s to a stress-free Hanukkah!

Best,

Jane

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Our Fabulous Challah Connection “Kids”

Each day I look forward to the close of the school day. That’s when “the kids,” our after-school workers, come through our doors, enthusiastic and ready for work.

These high school students are a sheer joy to work with. Although they spend the day in a very competitive environment, they come through our doors eager to help. They answer the phones, assist customers in their gift-giving decisions and –most important– they pack orders and prepare all of our daily shipments for our 6 p.m. pick up by UPS and FedEx.

These are fabulous, hard-working kids who are a joy to have around. It’s refreshing to me that these kids — many of whom are not Jewish — have such tremendous passion for learning about the Jewish holidays and traditions, as well the workings of a small business. They are our future entrepreneurs! We teach them how to work hard, be part of a team and have fun.

During holiday time, when we are truly bursting at the seams with orders that need to be packed and shipped, teamwork is truly defined. On these days, we have close to 20 people working together, like a well-oiled machine. There are no bad attitudes and no job that is beneath anyone. Whether it’s taking out the garbage or cutting 100 sheets of cello wrap, whoever has two free hands takes on the task at hand. I am proud of what these kids are learning here at “Challah Central,” (my own kids, included).

From left to right, Bailey, Sara, Sherry, Jane, Kate

From left to right, Bailey, Sara, Sherry, Jane, Kate


When Bailey, who is a 17-year-old high school senior, began working here about a year ago, she knew very little about the Jewish holidays. But with her thirst for knowledge and interest in helping customers she quickly rose to the challenge and has emerged as one of our best Challah Connection “kids.” She is now applying to colleges and I was so pleased to be asked to write her a recommendation (glowing, of course).

“It’s important to learn new and different things, and I’ve learned so much in the last year,” Bailey tells me. “I’ve learned about the traditions of the Jewish holidays and the restrictions on what people can and cannot eat during specific holidays. I really enjoyed learning about Purim … it reminds me of Mardi Gras! Plus, the customers are so nice. I enjoy meeting new people and I like that I can help them when they call.”

She’s also has learned to appreciate the kosher foods that we carry. “The food is delicious. My whole family really likes the food that I bring home from work,” she said.

Avery, came to us familiar with Jewish customers and with Challah Connection. His older sister, Samantha, was one of our first after-schoolers (Sam graduated from high school in ’08 and now attends Cornell University). “I’ve learned a few things since I started working here, but I’ve also been able to share my knowledge with the people I work with,” he tells me.

“I work with very nice people here, which makes the job a lot of fun,” he adds. “Plus, I have come to have way more respect for people who run small businesses, now that I see the day-to-day operation. And, the food that we put in the kosher gift baskets is great. The apple cake is definitely a winner.”

Give us a call and say “Hi” to these fabulous kids. They’ll be thrilled to speak with you!

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Our Apple Cake Featured in New York Times

Apple Cake Featured in New York Times

A couple of weeks before Rosh Hashana, we got a call from Florence Fabricant of the New York Times. She was interested in our apple cake for her column in the Dining In section of the Times. She asked if we could please send her one. “Of course, how many would you like?” was my response. Freshly baked and wrapped, the cake was whisked off by Fedex to arrive at her home the next morning. Needless to say, we were thrilled when she called a few days later to inform us that the cake would indeed be featured in the paper on September 15. It was a very exciting–and busy–time, indeed. After hundreds of  apple cakes baked, wrapped and shipped, we were finally able to relax and enjoy the holiday! Thanks to all who read the article and purchased the cake.

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