Passover, the weeklong holiday that celebrates the Israelites’ freedom from slavery in Egypt was simpler back in the day. There was just one recipe for charoset, the mixture that symbolized the mortar the Israelites used to make bricks for the pyramids. That recipe had apples and walnuts — not dates, pistachios and ginger. There was just one decorative goblet on the table for the prophet Elijah. No Miriam’s Cup. Moses’ sister was left out. We’d buy a big bottle of Manischiewitz Concord Grape wine and didn’t worry if it paired well with roast chicken. No one knew that delicious kosher-for-Passover Israeli Chardonnay even existed.
The ever-evolving, always exquisite Eleven Madison Park is the best restaurant in the entire world, according to World’s 50 Best Restaurants, a controversial list put out annually by British company William Reed Business Media.
Although it stands as a symbolic reminder of the mortar used by the Jewish slaves who built the pyramids in Egypt, the fragrant spread called charoset deserves more than a once-a-year ritual appearance at the Passover Seder table.
Editor’s Note: Since the publication of this article in April 2017, writer Deborah R. Prinz came across new information. She writes: “While researching updates for the second edition of “On the Chocolate Trail,” specifically about Fair Trade and direct-trade chocolate, I learned that Equal Exchange had suspended its formal Fair Trade certification for chocolate in 2015. It now works through a direct trade arrangement with its farmers.” Prinz is conducting more research for a follow-up article to be published in the Forward this summer.