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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Remembrance of things kosher

For Proust, it was the taste of madeleines that brought back memories. For me, it was the smell of tzimmes, cooking on my mother’s stove. For a friend of mine, author Cameron Stracher it was the taste of warm jello.

I had coffee with Cam the other day and he told me about how he used to love visiting his bubbe in Brooklyn. She lived in a walk-up flat and it was three flights up to get to her tiny apartment. But he and his brother and sister didn’t mind, because once they got there, the smells of her cooking filled their noses.

Chicken Soup & Matzo Balls

And pretty soon, she would be bringing out dish after dish of her Jewish specialties; Brisket, kasha varnishkes, stuffed cabbage, and always homemade babka; for dessert. So much food!

She also served a special drink that my friend had never had anywhere else. It wasn’t until years later that he and his sister figured out what it was. Warm jello!

I laughed at his story, but then I remembered similar strange things growing up. I remember my bubbe soaking fish in the bathtub—can that be?—to make gefilte fish.

What is about growing up Jewish, Cam asked, that makes so many of your memories be about food?

Potato Latkes

I think it’s because so much of our tradition is about nurturing with food, comforting with food, and even remembering that we haven’t always had enough food to eat.

So many of us, like my warm Jello drinking friend, have stories and memories that belong only to us and to our families. They tell us apart from other people like birthmarks. Maybe it’s a simple memory, like Great-Aunt Rose standing at her soup pot, tasting the chicken soup and adding just a pinch more salt. Maybe it’s more involved, like the time Grandpa hid the afikomen and forgot where he hid it…forever!

Do you have a story or a memory you’d like to share about food and growing up? I’d love to hear about it and possibly include it on Challah Connection. Please email me your story as a Word document (no more than 500 words please and if you could spell-check it, that would be helpful) for possible publication.

Best wishes and good memories,

Jane Moritz, Challah Connection Owner

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