One of my favorite times of the year is Passover – when new gluten-free products tend to flood onto store shelves. Three local supermarkets in my area had truly amazing Passover sections this year and all were larger than previous years – heck, one market has two full aisles and stand-alone displays set up well in advance of Passover. This year in particular I tried some really delicious new Passover items so I thought I’d do a Passover Roundup of some of the standouts (and old favorites) that I indulged in this year.
First up is my all-time favorite – matzo (well, as close to matzo as a Celiac can get). Now, over the years I have tried everything from super-expensive hand made matzo (that, at $10 per board, yes per board, was a disappointment) to mass produced matzo. When it comes to gluten-free matzo there are really two players, Yehuda and Manischewitz. I have long been a fan of Yehuda’s plain and onion varieties. They are large sheets that are extremely crisp and flakey – the do tend to leave a crumb mess behind but it’s a small price to pay. This year, for the first time (as they are new), I came across Manischwitz matzo and have to say that they even more closely resemble the real thing. They are a just a bit softer in texture so they are more akin to what I remember good old gluten-filled matzo tasting like. They also make smaller matzo-style crackers that are exactly the same consistency as the larger boards only perfect for dipping and snacking. One important note is that both of these brands are not suitable replacements for Passover Seder because of their ingredients.
Another great savory snack find is Paskesz Crispits Flats – I prefer the Everything variety. These are really great for entertaining because each cracker is quite long not to mention they have a pretty robust texture (making them great for dipping or topping) and are packed with flavor. These truly reminded me of the flatbread crackers I enjoyed in my pre-diagnosis days.
Now onto my favorite part – the sweets.
I am always amazed at the amount of gluten-free cakes and cookies that pop-up every Passover. Year over year there is just an exponential growth in the sweets category. This year I came across some new brands that produce some truly amazing sweets. Lilly’s Bake Shoppe makes a chocolate roll cake that is wonderfully fluffy cake with layers of rich (but not too sweet) chocolate icing with the entire thing enrobed in chocolate – truly decadent. I have long been a huge fan of all things rainbow cookie and have had my share of gluten-free versions. Yet, this Passover, I came across Zemer Cookies and Cakes who make a truly delicious rainbow cookie. The individual layers are moist and have just the right amount of fruit preserves between each layer. Each cookie also has just a touch of chocolate frosting on both the top and bottom so you can really enjoy the cookie itself without having it be overpowered by the icing.
Of course one of my go-to brands throughout the year for baked sweets, Shabtai Gourmet, also has an impressive line-up of every possible baked good you can imagine but I am a huge fan of their Ring Tings and Yidels. They also make a fantastic seven layer cake and rainbow cookies that are personal favorites as well.
Another perennial favorite is Oberlander’s Bakery who make the one of the most amazing assorted cookie selections I have come across (not to mention they make a mean seven layer cake). Their chocolate leaves and sandwich cookies are two of my personal favorites and if you love black and white cookies like I do, don’t miss Oberlander’s gluten-free variety.
So do be sure to check out some of these brands if you come across them at your local market. Best of all, in a week or so, the bulk of the remaining items will be on sale. I have also selected several items from this post and included them in my One for Me, One for You Giveaway (and a few more might just get added before it’s all over). Be sure to enter today if you have not already.