Passover dining always feels like a bait and switch. The night of the Seder (on April 3 this year), we ply ourselves with amazing food for hours and splurge on bottles of good kosher wine. But the feast gives way to a third straight day of matzo pizzas and Manischewitz from a dusty bottle that may have been opened last year. There is a serious hole in the marketplace for tasty Passover-friendly snacks this time of year. But we uncovered some things you might actually want to eat and drink in between all that bread of affliction.
NOTE: All these are grain-free but they meet varying Passover standards.
Charoset—the simple mixture of apples, walnuts, wine and cinnamon that represents the mortar used to build the Egyptian pyramids—might actually be the tastiest thing on the Seder table. And America’s hippie ice cream kings used it to inspire a kosher-for-Passover flavor. It’s getting wide distribution in Israel, but with enough kvetching we can probably get them to start selling it here, too.
Gin, like all grain-based spirits, is a no-no for Passover. So California’s Distillery No. 209 set out to find a loophole. They currently make the only kosher-for-Passover gin in the world, as far as we can tell. The Orthodox Union oversees its production, so it meets even the strictest standards. Gin purists might take issue with whether it can accurately be called gin—it’s made from a sugar cane base—but 209 uses a variety of botanicals like cassia bark and angelica root to match the flavor profile of its standard gin. Oh, and if gin isn’t your thing, they make a kosher-for-Passover vodka, too.
3. Meadan Beer
Beer is not kosher for Passover because it is made from grain. But last year, Bryan Meadan raised funds for an Israeli brewery that would make beer from alternative sources like chickpeas and buckwheat. This year, he is selling that beer. Meadan may not get the official kosher sign-off from rabbis because his beer looks like it isn’t kosher (some follow kosher rules that prohibit things that appear not to be kosher), but we would definitely drink it. The beer, like the ice cream, is currently only available in Israel. But Meadan will open a new brewery and ramp up production in May. As they continue to grow, hopefully we will see the beer stateside soon.
Rarely can Jews eat sausage on Passover, thanks to all the extra starchy ingredients that usually go into them. But New Yorkers Jack Silberstein and Alan Broner didn’t want to keep giving them up every year, so they opened Jack’s Gourmet. Now you can get sweet or hot and kosher for Passover Italian sausage. Find them all over the U.S. and Canada with their store locator.
Foody Direct has a small but mighty Passover-friendly section, headlined by boxes of artisanal caramels from Los Angeles chocolatier Droga. When it comes to after-Seder noshes, these are a huge leap up from the boring gummy fruit slices.
Yes, we know, these flourless cupcakes may run into the same appearance issues as Meadan’s beer for the hardcore keepers of kashrut, but flourless chocolate cake makes regular appearances on Seder tables everywhere. These festive cupcakes, which will ship nationwide during Passover, certainly meet our standards.