Two San Francisco Bay area moms combined their creative spirits, their love of little indulgences and their penchant for baking to launch the Sweet Thrills Bakeshop – the focus of which has primarily been the creation of the Chocolate Gingerbread Menorah Decorating Kit. “The idea was sparked by my own experience as a Jewish parent,” explains co-owner Susan Mayost. “Each year my kids would be excited by the idea of building with gingerbread and decorating with candy, so I would go ahead and get them a gingerbread house. But as their finished gingerbread house sat amongst the dreidels and latkes during Chanukah, it just didn’t feel quite right. And so, the idea was born to create a product that still offered children all the fun of building and decorating with gingerbread and candy, but in a way more relevant to Jewish traditions and Chanukah celebrations.”
The Gingerbread Menorah Kits are certified pareve and come complete with step-by-step instructions, chocolate gingerbread pieces for the menorah, ready-to-use icing, plenty of candy, candy candle-making supplies and fun facts about the holiday
Dreidel-shaped cookies, potato latkes and donuts are among the mouth-watering offerings coming out off the oven of Mushka Wolvovsky this Chanukah. Buy them for yourself or order custom gift packages that can be picked up or delivered, says the young Glastonbury entrepreneur, whose line of fresh baked goods also includes challah, chocolate chip cookies, brownies…or whatever else strikes your cookie and cake fancy. For more info or to place an order, email Mushka at email@example.com.
Chocolatiers raise the bar on Chanukah gelt
By Deborah R. Prinz
(JTA) – At long last, several chocolate makers are bringing finer, tastier and richer dark chocolate to gelt.
Heather Johnston started making her “Kosher Gelt for Grown-Ups” just two years ago at her Chicago-based Veruca Chocolates when she and some friends bemoaned the horrible quality of gelt. She remedied that by using a great- tasting chocolate made by the California-based Guittard, which sources and selects its own beans to create an artisanal, luxury chocolate. For sophisticated palates, she offers two dark chocolate versions: with sea salt or with cocoa nibs.
Johnston also searched for the right design for her mold. “I wanted the coins to look old, so I explored ancient coinage,” she said in a recent phone conversation. Johnston selected an ancient Maccabean coin embossed with the Jerusalem Temple menorah similar to that issued by Mattathias Antigonus, a descendant of the Maccabees. Her coins are elegantly airbrushed with gold or silver.
Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington, Vt., packages its fine milk chocolate coins in festive Chanukah boxes. Rich and enticing squares of chocolate-covered toffee and almonds or almonds with sea salt nestle in its “Be Kind, Be Fair, Be Conscious, Be Well” A Gift of Goodness box. They are fair trade, organic and kosher.
Divine Chocolate’s online store offers dark chocolate and milk chocolate coins produced through the farmer cooperative Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana. The phrase “Freedom and Justice” encircles the foil-embossed cocoa tree.
“The gelt we eat on Chanukah is a reminder of the freedom our people won many years ago,” Ilana Schatz wrote at the Fair Trade Judaica website. “Young children are trafficked and forced into working on cocoa farms with no pay and in unsafe conditions in the Ivory Coast.”
Fair trade standards prohibit the use of child and slave labor, a problem particularly in West Africa.
Several resources offer discussion prompts for Chanukah experiences. Lesson plans for adults and children (downloadable for free at Jews-onthechocolatetrail.org) assist educators in framing the issues of good Chanukah gelt through conversations about Jewish values. Hazon and partners have developed brief learning materials, titled “Spinning the Dreidel for Chocolate Gelt,” to encourage purchases of fair trade and kosher chocolate gelt.
Selecting fair trade chocolate meshes with Chanukah’s spiritual messages about freedom and fairness.
Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz is the author of On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao (2013, Jewish Lights).