Secaucus—There are not that many places where you can see the world’s largest chicken nugget, sample kosher “ham,” and bite into a halachically permissible cheeseburger while drinking kosher spirits from various regions of the world. Welcome to Kosherfest. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Kosherfest brings together tried and true kosher products and new exciting innovations in kosher cuisine. Members of the food industry, including restaurant owners, nursing home chefs and other assorted individuals flock to this event to sample the latest wares.
Many of the companies at Kosherfest have taken on a “healthy” mentality. Lucky Union Foods are now making a line of deli meats made entirely out of fish. I also discovered “Miracle Noodle,” the zero calorie noodle and rice. Made from 97% water and 3% glucomannan, the consistency was quite different, yet not totally offensive. Jill Goldstein, one of the members of the Miracle Noodle family, even shared with me that her product has been on Dr. Oz. Calorie-free pasta is quite the invention. Though, the “best new pasta, rice, beans or soup” award, given from the event, went to Mikee Mac Non-Dairy Macaroni & Cheese dinner.
GIT USA, Inc. are the makers of a series of gluten and allergen free cereals and snacks. The taste was reminiscent of Passover fruity o’s, but, as Sally Mangano, the company’s rep shared with me “if you have a child or adult with allergies, we tried to make the tastiest product we could.” Mauzone Mania was another company excited to display its healthier line of products including “Matt’s Munchies,” a kosher pareve fruit snack for kids (and I am assuming adults), which contain an entire serving of fruit at only 35 calories a package.
They also displayed a line of vegetarian gyro and sausages and vegan peanut butter. Taste of Crete, whose motto is “Simple. Healthy, Greek,” had a delightful display of cholesterol free, egg and dairy free, vegan Greek cookies. If popcorn is your thing, Ben Berlin of Hadar Kosher Foods was displaying American Farmer Kettle Korn, a delicious, pareve snack that comes in regular and skinny-lite. A distributor of the product, Berlin said that owner of American Farmer is a nice Jewish guy who wanted to make his product available to the kosher market and it’s nut free.
Healthy shmealthy, Fallsburg Bagels, owned by Yochonon Klitnick, sells frozen, plain donuts with toppings that you can put on yourself. Delicious. David’s Cookies, known for their dairy cookies, now makes a line of pareve cookies that taste just as good, as well as heavenly muffins. Sterns Bakery sells “pastry-to-go,” delicious goodies in individual wrappers. Beigel’s Bakery, a “tried and true” product, according to owner Joseph Folger, had an assortment of giant black and white cookies and other homemade-like baked goods. The possibilities were endless.
And then there was the meat. Turkey bacon, sausages, deli, hot dogs, pareve cheese to go on hamburgers. The companies know there is a market for kosher “non-kosher like” products and they are jumping all over it. According to consumer Avery Hoffman, who was attending Kosherfest with some friends, “I was pretty excited to try foods I never thought I would be able to eat.” That seemed to be the consensus amongst attendees. I, personally, am a bigger fan of dairy products, and fell in love with the Pizza Cone. The cone is made out of a crust-like cracker, filled with vegetables, sauce and cheese, served piping hot. Perfection.
Passover was not overlooked, especially by company Heaven and Health, which makes a whole line of kosher for Passover pasta products.
Banji Latkin Ganchrow is a Teaneck resident and writer who enjoys traveling across the country by car with her husband and three sons. She is also the author of the blog holycrapimgonnabe40 and hopes to, one day, write a best-selling novel and appear on the Ellen Show.
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow