Leave the bad bottle of wine at your local liquor shop and pick up one of these Israeli treats for your holiday party host. We promise, they’ll be grateful. Oh, and it would only be right to get yourself one too, right?
A Nutty Spread
No trip to Israel is complete without a slice of fresh halva cut from a mound of sweetened sesame paste in one of the country’s legendary markets. Longing for a taste of home, Shahar Shamir, who lives in Brooklyn, has reimagined the snack as a line of spreads called Brooklyn Sesame. His nutty tahini pastes are sweetened with honey and blended with a choice of roasted pistachios, sesame seeds or caraway seeds. A recent addition to his line includes a cocoa and sea salt option that would be exceptional atop a good bowl of vanilla ice cream. The pastes are delicious with cheese, on bread or frankly, straight off of a spoon.
Brooklyn Sesame’s Halva Spread; $8-14
Chocolate, Spice and Everything Nice
Lior Lev Sercarz loves his spices. He sells close to 50 signature blends out of his “spice studio” in Manhattan. But this season he’s switched up his medium from spices to chocolate. His new line of chocolate bars and hot chocolate mixes are infused with ginger, cinnamon, honey and sometimes spicy Szechuan pepper resulting in a complex and sophisticated chocolate that is the perfect finish for a holiday dinner.
The Chocolate Collection by Lior Lev Sercarz; $4.50-54
Morocco in a Bottle
Sure, a plane ticket to Marrakesh would be nice, but if that’s not in the cards this Hanukkah, pick up a few jars of NYShuk’s new Moroccan jams and herb pastes. Inspired by their culinary roots, husband and wife team Ron and Leetal Arazi (his family is Moroccan and Lebanese, her’s Turkish) started bottling Tanzeya, a thick chutney of dried fruits spiced with cinnamon works as well on a cheese platter as it does in a chicken marinade. For something more savory, try their smoky Harissa in a shakshuka or simply slather their L’ekama, a blend of spices, garlic and chilies on fresh bread and imagine you’re in Morocco.
NYShuk’s Jams and Spices; $11-18