Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The "In" Holiday

I love Passover, and not just because I'm a fan of old Charlton Heston movies. The holiday commemorating the biblical Jewish exodus from Egypt, which begins this year in the evening of April 6, is a time when many more gluten-free products are available at supermarkets. This grew out of the observance of certain segments of the Jewish population to refrain from eating wheat products at all during Passover.

The packaging of many gluten-free products is expressly labeled as such, while others have a "non-gebrokts" notation. (As always, read the ingredient label before buying and consuming a particular item.)

Some stores carry only the basics, such as Manischewitz noodles, while those with larger Kosher sections tend to have more options. The ShopRite markets on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia and on Route 70 in Cherry Hill have a wide selection of gluten-free items on the shelves, from chow mein noodles and Gefen cake mixes (some even sugar free) to Osem loaf cakes, cereals, pizza bagels and matzoh ball mixes.

Wegmans stores plan to carry a number of gluten-free products, including Klein's Viennese Ice Cream Cake and Passover Flats (great for making pizza and sandwiches), Macabee Passover Pizza, and - to mark the famous "10 Plagues" - Zelda's Locusts and Frogs chocolate-covered marshmallows.

Of course, what would Passover be without matzoh? This year Yehuda has introduced a Toasted Onion flavor to complement its original gluten-free variety. This matzoh is reasonably priced (between $5 and $6), as compared to the gluten-free oat matzoh that also is available this time of year.

Among the new gluten-free products for 2012 are Manischewitz chocolate and yellow cake mixes, Jeff Nathan Creations panko flakes, and four flavors of Sweet Goodies licorice.

If you want to try "Mexican Coke" (made with sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup), Passover Coca-Cola will be available in the Philadelphia area. Look for bottles with a distinctive yellow cap.

About a week or so before the start of Passover, markets receive their shipments of fresh gluten-free cakes and cookies from New York bakeries such as Oberlander's, Shabtai Gourmet, and Schick's. Look for sandwich and rainbow cookies, cake rolls and layer cakes.

Prices of some Passover foods tend to be higher than their non-holiday counterparts, so I suggest buying one of a particular item to see if you like it before stocking up. Keep an eye on Passover sections after the second night of the holiday, when markets tend to cut prices on whatever products are left.
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  1. The sweet goodies licorice (available now at wegmans in warminster) was delicious and not too sweet. I look forward to my search to find other GF goodies this season :)

  2. Last year Wegman's carried a fruit sauce for meat in their Kosher for Passover section. We loved it - it was mainly apricots, and not too sweet. I haven't found it so far this year, does anyone know the brand name so I can find out if Wegman's will be stocking it again this year?

  3. I highly recommend the Manischevitz coconut macaroon pie shells! Also available in a chocolate macaroon flavor. Sold at Wegmans and ShopRite