Four Israeli Desserts with Strong Cultural Connections
If you’re traveling in Israel and have a craving for an authentic Israeli dessert, you have a wide variety of choices to satisfy your sweet tooth!In fact, there are many desserts in Jewish culture that are not only delicious but have strong significance for the people of Israel. Thankfully, some of these sweet treats are even available worldwide.
The following list includes desserts that are appropriate for consumption in connection with Jewish religious ceremonies as well as treats that can be appropriate for everyday snacks. Whether you’re in the mood for a pleasant pastry or a sugary sweet, all the following items have a strong cultural significance.
[box title="Krembo" style="soft" box_color="#714e28" title_color="#000000" radius="6"]Krembo is an incredibly sweet treat that is very popular with youngsters. This chocolate coated biscuit and marshmallow is also thought to be a comfort food for Israelis living outside their home country, especially in the United States. There are multiple flavors of commercially available Krembo, including banana and strawberry, although those don’t have a huge share in the market for this treat. Some say it is only sold during the winter months.[/box]
[box title="Matzah " style="soft" box_color="#f0f28d" title_color="#000000" radius="6"]Central to Passover, this unleavened bread is a symbol that begins the Seder meal. At this time Jewish individuals break a cake of matzah, which they call “the bread of affliction.” It is said that Jews in Egypt were commanded to eat matzah along with the paschal of lamb for the first Passover; Jewish historians say that the unleavened bread is a symbol of the haste that the Jews employed when they were liberated from Egypt- there was no time to let the bread rise before baking. The belief is that non-Jews enjoy Matzah more than Jews enjoy them because of its overconsumption during Passover. There are a variety of recipes that utilize matzah for a sweet or savory treat. [/box]
[box title="Rugelach" style="soft" box_color="#f28d96" title_color="#000000" radius="6"]A traditional Jewish cookie, rugelach is cookie that is covered with nuts, raisins, sugar and cinnamon before shaping into a crescent. One variation is to roll the dough into a rectangle, covered with filling, then cut the pastry dough into circles. There are conflicting stories about where the name for this cookie comes from. Some say the rugelach cookie gets its name from the Yiddish term for royal – “rugel.” Another website, wheresdessert.com, reports that Rugelach is a Yiddish word that translates into “little twists” and that the cookie originated with Ashkenazi Jews who migrated to German-speaking countries.[/box]
[box title="Baklava" style="soft" box_color="#eccb83" title_color="#000000" radius="6"]This pastry is extremely popular during the Jewish holidays; on Rosh Hashanah, pastry-makers substitute blanched almonds for walnuts in baklava (or baklawa). In Israel, this dessert is created with layers of phyllo pastry sheets, nuts, sweet butter, clove, sugar, cinnamon and then finished with a syrup containing orange and lemon rinds.[/box]
Is your mouth watering yet?
Fortunately, many of these Israeli foods and desserts are available in the United States. However, if you want to travel to Israel and try the authentic ones, contact Gil Travel and our expert travel agents here can help you create an itinerary to include delicious local fare while you explore the many sites.