Tri-State Kosher Events and Chanukah Party Themes With Cindy’s Corners

KOSHERFEST 2018 at NJ’s Meadowlands Expo Center

Kosherfest began with a delicious, sweet and pure grape juice and evolved into the world’s kosher category leader, delivering thousands of products of the highest quality and value to consumers and the food trade in more than 30 countries. This month, both Kosherfest and Kayco Kedem celebrated 30 years of quality kosher foods.

That grape juice was Kedem, and today NJ-based Kayco, known for that iconic kosher beverage, offers the most innovative kosher products across every category.

A family-owned business since 1948, KAYCO helped pave the way for the mass distribution, availability, and consumption of kosher food after World War II with trusted brands like Gefen, Haddar, Glicks and Yehuda, among many others.

By the late 20th century, more and more companies realized that the kosher business was big business, and the kosher food and wine industry exploded in size. This surge in demand for certified kosher products gave rise to the largest kosher event attended by manufacturers, distributors, retail outlets and media from all over the world.

“KAYCO and Kosherfest grew up together,” said Menachem Lubinsky, who spearheaded Kosherfest 30 years ago. “They were with us for the first Kosherfest. Back then there were only a small fraction of the number of kosher products available today. In a mini interview, Lubinsky spoke of how kosher food is a huge, worldwide business.

According to Lubinsky, the kosher food industry is a billion-dollar market. Kosher became more than just a dietary law. More consumers are looking at kosher as a product attribute. For instance, Parve designates foods as non-meat and non-dairy, two trends that are on the rise in the mainstream market. More and more consumers are gravitating towards kosher foods, particularly millennials. Kayco has been at the forefront with innovative products that meet these growing needs of not only the kosher consumer but the traditional kosher consumer of all generations.

The boom in the kosher industry is partly due to the public’s increasingly sophisticated palate and overall desire for a healthier lifestyle. “That kosher symbol represents quality and value for kosher and non-kosher consumers alike,” explained Charles Herzog, head of product innovation for KAYCO. ““People today are wanting to eat ‘clean.’ It matters to them where their food comes from, how it’s grown, and how it’s prepared. It has to be on trend. And above all, it has to be delicious.”

This food event is for everyone. Aisle after aisle were filled with new sugarfree desserts, fancy cheeses, smoked fishes and meats and award-winning wines and liquors. Kitchen and party supplies were on display as well. If I had to pick the trend of future kosher food available, it would be healthier options and beautiful presentations.

Long Island Kosher Taste at Temple Beth Sholom, Roslyn, NY

Interviewed by Chef Paula Of Cooking With Stars

Several hundred people, over 30 vendors and prizes galore were featured at the second annual Long Island Kosher Taste. The event was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council Of Long Island, a part of the JCRC, New York and a partner of the UJA Federation. Some of the vendors, especially the wineries presented tastings at both events. Local kosher restaurants and kosher food from Long Island and Queens offered sampling’s of meat, chicken and vegetarian specialties. Sushi Tokyo offed not only sushi, but seaweed salad and adorable, delicious poke bowls. Colbeh restaurants and caterers offered three exotic rices in addition to meats. Gluten-free and vegan options were available to sample as well.

JCRC-LI serves as the central coordinating body and resource organization for the Jewish community across Long Island. It operates as a nexus between community-based organizations, religious institutions, elected and public officials and the private sector, and works to open the lines of communication between these entities.

Almost 500,000 Jews from all affiliations and backgrounds live on Long Island. The audience here was very different from Kosherfest. Here, most attendees were not Orthodox. Some weren’t Jewish. According to Mindy Perlmutter, Executive Director, “Food unites everyone and helps Jewish businesses in our communities. I am happy to spearhead an event that puts kosher in such a good spotlight.”

Canadian Chef Amy Stopnicki Shares Holiday Tips Lawrence, NY

Best selling cookbook author Amy Stopnicki demonstrated her take on holiday recipes for over one hundred women at Congregation Beth Sholom. I was happy to arrange this event, as it’s always interesting to compare tastes and available local kosher ingredients. What we found out is that because of Internet shopping, there is no excuse to make delicious and kosher foods. Her bestselling book, Kosher Taste, offers meat and dairy options for your Chanukah menus.

https://www.amazon.com/Kosher-Taste-Cookbook-Prepare-Plate/dp/1680250329

Cindy’s Corners Chanukah Party Theme Tips

Next week, I will focus more on recipes and decor. This week, many of you are finalizing gathering guest lists and shopping lists. Let me share something I do every year that enhances my Chanukah parties fun and memorable, a plan themes. Once a theme is set, everything falls into place more smoothly.

Here are just a few ideas:

Have a Chanukah Ball:
Make all the foods round
Latke Balls, Assorted Meatballs, Falafel Balls, Donut Holes and other round foods—you get the idea

Make a Chanukah Gelt-Together
Chocolate coins, cookies and other desserts wrapped with dollar bill designs
Give out Israeli shekels in party favors

Light Up Our Chanukah Party
Have “lite-bites” and and play games with lights.

Miracles Party
Prepare a cute calendar and ask everyone to commit to doing a mitzvah during the eight days. It can be as simple as dedicating eight minutes to learning, volunteering at a local organization eight hours or buying eight cans of food and donating it to your local food bank.

SwagBag Party
Every year, we play a secret “Shamos” where everyone is asked to bring one gift. Since “swag bags” are the trendiest party favor right now, I am printing up Chanukah swag bags and asking each guest for 10 of the same wrapped gifts. They can be simple, inexpensive token gifts, like Chanukah cookie cutters, candles, latke mixes etc., you get the picture.

Whatever theme you decide, get your kids involved with planning, shopping and setting up. Arrange games, sing-alongs, create photo booths, and even set up Skype visits with loved ones who can’t attend. It makes for a great time.

Food, Fun, Family and Friends…Everything Food In Recipes and Restaurants From Cindy’s Corners

Cindy Grosz can be reached at cindyscorners@gmail.com

About the Author
Cindy Grosz is an accomplished activist for pro-Israel and Jewish interests. She writes about “Everything Jewish” and has appeared in multiple media outlets. She is a Contributor on The Jersey Joe Radio Show on WOR710AM, syndicated through iHeartRadio. Grosz is the author of Rubber Room Romance, Everything You Need to Know and Ask About the Education System. She can be reached at cindyscorners@gmail.com.
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