I recently attended Kosherfest 2017 at Meadowlands in Secaucus, New Jersey, the world’s largest and most attended kosher-certified products trade show. What a mind-boggling experience!
More than 6,000 industry professionals from around the globe attended, including buyers from chain supermarkets and corner groceries, foodservice establishments and caterers, as well as cookbook authors checking out the latest kosher food trends. More than 325 international exhibitors featured a vast array of kosher-certified products and services for the kosher market.
Experienced attendees to this yearly event have mastered the tricks of the trade—sample dairy or pareve foods in the morning, check out the meat samples in the afternoon!
Several other foodies from Toronto and I wandered through the aisles, nibbling and noshing our way through “the world’s largest kosher buffet.” I asked them to share their favourite culinary highlights, especially those that would be of interest to Canadians. Here’s their “food for thought:”
Amy’s Picks: Toronto cookbook author and event planner, Amy Stopnicki, loves Parvella Chocolate Spread (we all did!). This smooth and creamy, high-quality Italian chocolate spread won Best Product in the Dips & Spreads category at Kosherfest 2016. It is pareve, gluten free, egg free, peanut free, and most importantly, palm oil free; it is also certified as a vegan friendly product. Parvella comes in four delicious chocolate flavors: Intense Hazelnut, Hazelnuts and Vanilla, Coffee Lovers, and Smooth Orange. Use it for baking, dessert decorating, or as a spread on toast. Great news, Parvella is now available in Toronto at Sobey’s at Hilda and Justin’s No Frills on Centre Street.
Shlomo’s Picks: Shlomo Assayag, also known as Toronto’s Kosher Guru, recalls: “I was Impressed with the Kosher for Passover products that are available. You can’t tell that they are not chametz! As well, I’m excited to try the first Kosher fois gras that just became available in the States and will be available shortly in Canada.”
Helene’s Picks: My friend, Helene Medjuck, acted as my research assistant, as well as an extra pair of eyes and ears at the show. To get a feeling of the immensity of Kosherfest and get an overview of the show in under 45 minutes, check it out.
Many cookbook authors and culinary celebrities were spotted schmoozing and sampling everything from hot dogs to hummus. These included Miriam Pascal, Real Life Cooking (Artscroll), Ronnie Fein, The Modern Kosher Kitchen (Fair Winds Press), Rochie Pinson, Rising (Feldheim), and Gloria Kobrin of kosherbygloria.com, just to name a few.
Levana Kirschenbaum, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen (Levana Cooks), launched her Complete Meal Replacement line. Esti Gestetner, promoted her line of all natural baking mixes, including three kinds of healthy cookies. Paula Shoyer, The Healthy Jewish Kitchen (Sterling Epicure), introduced her Make Your Own Donut Holes Kit.
Best-selling cookbook author, Jamie Geller, founder & chief creative officer of Jamie Geller’s Joy of Kosher, presented Best Practices for Kosher Supermarket Demos, featuring Bubby Bailee’s Baking Kits. I developed the recipes for Bubby Bailee’s Baking Kits, which will be marketed in Canada under my brand, Norene Gilletz Kitchen Products—stay tuned!
2017 New Product Award Winners: Matzohgram printed matzos, from Independent Ink, won in the Kosher for Passover category. De La Rosa Real Foods & Vineyards, whose top-quality oils and vinegar are available at Sobey’s in Toronto, won in the Wines category for their Ur Kasdim wine. In the Sauce category, Tandoor by Mikee won for their Tandoor Indian Cooking Sauces, Tuscanini Parchment Crackers won in the Savory Snacks category. For a full list of winners, please follow the link, https://www.kosherfest.com/new-product-winners-2017/.
Passover and gluten-free products made a strong presence at the show. Here are some that I noticed: Montreal Kosher, which has been in business for over 60 years, developed a year-round gluten-free line under the brand name Munch-Real Kosher. Manishewitz introduced their pre-sliced gefilte fish in a package , coming soon to a grocery store near you. A&B Famous gave out samples of their delicious carb-free, gluten-free gefilte fish and salmon gefilte fish.
Can’t wait till November 13-14 for Kosherfest 2018…until we eat again!!!