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Trader Joe’s has brand-new matzo — here’s what you can do with it

And we’ve also made up some, uh, creative Passover snacks

It can be hard to find kosher-for-Passover foods. My local grocery stores usually  have matzo — but it’s never kosher for Passover. Yes, even in Brooklyn! I know, I know, I am shocked by it every year.

But now, Trader Joe’s, the grocery store beloved for its fun snack products and aloha shirts, is launching its own matzo brand. And thankfully, Daddy TJ’s did their research, and the product, which is made in Israel, is going to be certified kosher for Passover, meaning anyone who lives near a Trader Joe’s will have access to kosher-for-Passover goods. Once they’re on shelves at least; so far, the matzo is not even on the website, though a rep confirmed its existence.

(You also. may not live near a store; Trader Joe’s tends to only open stores in locations with a high average household income and population, and there are big gaps. When I used the company’s store locator to try to find a location in Missoula, Montana — a university town — the closest location was in Spokane, Washington, a three-hour drive away.)

This isn’t the first time Trader Joe’s has sold matzo; they previously carried Holyland matzo, which was also kosher-for-Passover. But this is the first time they’ve sold matzo under their own brand. (Thankfully, we were spared any cutesy-yet-questionable branding like Trader José’s, though the chain did once sell bagels branded as Trader Josef’s.)

Trader Joe’s often partners with third-party manufacturers — sometimes with big, recognizable names — to make products sold under their own brand, often at a cheaper price, and some online sleuths have traced back some of the manufacturers. Has Trader Joe’s now partnered with Holyland to create its matzo? Both are imported from Israel, after all. We may never know; the company refuses to share information about who is making their products.

But Trader Joe’s has been importing kosher products from Israel and beyond for years. So we’ve come up with some fun toppings and Passover treats made from ingredients you can find at Trader Joe’s.

A disclaimer: Trader Joe’s has plenty of kosher products, but doesn’t offer many products that are certified kosher-for-Passover — beyond the matzo, of course. Obviously, I could’ve kept this to things that don’t need certification, like fresh produce, but where’s the fun in that? I’ve done my best to avoid chametz, but use your discretion.

A tangy twist on the matzo pizza

The favorite matzo pizza, elevated. Illustration by Mira Fox

Have you ever had a salad pizza? It’s a wonderful invention, pairing the richness of pizza with the refreshing crunch and acidity of fresh salad on top. So fire up your toaster oven and make a matzo pizza, however you like it, and pile on some bagged arugula or romaine, drizzle on some olive oil, and top it with some of Trader Joe’s feta imported from Israel.

Garlic matzo

Yum, garlic … crackers. OK, it will not satisfy your craving for garlic bread, but the toum is seriously tasty. Illustration by Mira Fox

The Trader Joe’s Garlic Spread — a riff on the Lebanese condiment toum made from garlic emulsified with lemon juice and salt — is, in my humble opinion, one of the most delicious things known to man. If you’re having some bread withdrawal on Passover, maybe spread some matzo with butter and the toum, and do your best to imagine it’s garlic bread.

A matzo mille-feuille

It might not have the flaky texture that arguably defines a mille-feuille, but at least it doesn’t require making puff pastry. Illustration by Mira Fox

Trader Joe’s is one of the most reliable options for frozen mango. It seems like a perfect, if untraditional, filling for a mille-feuille, a form of pastry that involves layers  of puff-pastry, usually with fruit and cream piped in between.

You could improvise a little riff on the forbidden patisserie by stacking matzo pieces with pastry cream and some sweet mango chunks — defrosted — or even throw in some mascarpone for richness. Maybe crumble some of these freeze-dried berries in to flavor the cream. Trader Joe’s even offers a “sweet cannoli cream” dip that you could sub in for the pastry cream, but the reviews are meh

Matzo ice cream sandwich

Cold, creamy and pretty crunchy! May utterly crumble at first bite. Illustration by Mira Fox

Trader Joe’s has plenty of fun ice cream flavors, and this horchata edition caught my eye. Like the matzo, it’s a limited edition. Admittedly, matzo is no real stand-in for a cookie, but try dipping two pieces in chocolate to jazz them up, scoop some horchata ice cream in between and put it in the freezer to set. Drink with coffee or even actual horchata. (If horchata isn’t your thing, try this ube ice cream, which is a vibrant purple and has the slight nutty flavor of the namesake yam.)


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