Israeli food products have grown in sophistication and popularity in the United States. Food distributor Masada International specializes in importing some of Israel's best and most innovative choices.
Having married into the family as the 4th and final sister-in-law and the ONLY non-Israeli, I had a bit of a complex—I wasn't born knowing how to make kubeh from scratch—krembos weren't a dessert staple in Abington, PA.
But as a single dude Hubby spent many a shabbos dining on homemade Israeli delicacies at his brothers' homes. He would feast on family recipes for bourekas 10 ways and when we got married, he expected me to recreate the scene—and look good at the same time!!! Hey who did he think I was, the Israeli Martha Stewart? My brother-in-law already married her. I made and continue to make it through with many accolades from guests because of companies like Masada International who bring the previously unattainable down to us mere mortals. Masada distributes a host of delicious Israeli products like Of Tov premium chicken products, Sababa filo dough bourekas and Israel's favorite dessert, krembos!
Here's my interview with Jonathan Shlang of Masada International.
Q. Jonathan, what kind of products does Masada International distribute and which are your most popular items?
A. We import all sorts of food items from Israel that we think are innovative and will be well-received in the States. We look for quality products that have appeal, and of course that taste great!
The Of Tov frozen chicken products are very popular. Of Tov makes wonderful items you can’t find elsewhere. Unlike other kosher chicken nuggets you find in a frozen food section, their sesame chicken fingers are made from real cuts of kosher chicken, as in the muscle and real tenders, which are breaded and expertly seasoned.
And if you are health conscious, Of Tov just came out with a grilled version for those who are watching their weight.
Kids love Of Tov’s Chick Liscious chicken nuggets which come in kid-friendly shapes and sizes like dinosaurs. They also just came out with a new product called “chicken fries” which are chicken tenders cooked to look like French fries. Those have loads of kid-appeal.
Q. Masada International distributes Krembos, which is practically Israel’s national food. How would you describe a Krembo to someone who’s never had one before?
A. It’s one of those things you have to try in order to really understand it, but I’ll give it a shot.
Krembos are a light snack very popular throughout Israel for kids and adults. They are a sort of cookie covered in marshmallow that’s covered in chocolate. Except the filling isn’t really a marshmallow. It’s a very a light, creamy filling that’s made from whipped egg whites. The closest thing I can thing of in the U.S. are Mallomars.
Krembos are like Oreos in the sense that some people eat the filling first, others eat the cookie first. Some eat it top to bottom or lick the chocolate and save the cookie for last. It’s something you just have to try to get what I mean.
Q. I love krembos—who can resist the chocolate? If you love home-style Israeli nibbles, what else do you recommend?
A. Sababa makes wonderful bourekas and filo fingers, which can be found in the frozen foods section. The bourekas are savory and the fingers are sweet and filled with things like apple or chocolate; something you’d want to eat for dessert.
Unlike other boureka versions, Sababa’s are made with filo dough instead of puff pastry. Filo dough is much lighter and less oily then the ones made with pastry dough. Since they don’t use margarine, Sababa is unique in their development of these products.
Q. Do you think that Masada International’s effort to import Israeli food to international markets has helped the Israeli economy?
A. It’s a matter of perspective but I think we can all agree that every little bit helps. When we started importing products fifteen years ago, we brought over one container. Now we bring over multiple containers yearly. All of this adds to help boost the Israeli economy.
Do you have a favorite Israeli food or food memory? Please let me know by leaving me a comment below.