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Drunk on Chocolate at Purim

Consume a lot of alcohol on Purim. As the Talmud pushes, “A person is obligated to drink on Purim to confuse the difference between the phrases ‘cursed be Haman)’ and ‘blessed be Mordecai.’ Megillah (7b). That would be a lot of drinking and any number of intoxicants could fulfill this mitzvah. This year you may wish to consider delectable chocolate liqueurs.

Forget those stereotypes about Jews not drinking alcohol. Many Israeli chocolate shops sell private-label chocolate liqueurs. This Israeli affection for chocolate liqueur may have first been poured into Sabra liqueur, which was developed by Edgar Bronfman, Sr. in 1963. Intended to be a uniquely Israeli product, the Sabra bottle resembled an ancient Phoenician flask. Though the sabra-flavored recipe named for the local prickly pear, failed, the flavoring of chocolate combined with orange, successfully replaced it. For many years the iconic Sabra was readily available at duty-free shops and many tourists clutched bottles as they headed home. Ask Israelis today about Sabra and few have any recollection of it. While Sabra’s popularity has waned, something in the Israeli psyche still demands chocolate liqueurs.

We recently taste-tested three from our reserve which we had sourced from Italy and Israel. We had collected the Israeli temptations during our travels. The Italian version was found on line. Only at the tasting did we notice differences in alcohol content and intensity of the chocolate flavor.

Meletti brand Cioccolato contains 21% alcohol and tempts with a very rich chocolate taste.

Cardinal, a chocolaterie in Tel Aviv, exclusively uses French Valrhona chocolate and boasts 18% alcohol.

The Golan Heights De Karina concoction contains 15% alcohol and is certified kosher pareve. Other De Karina spirits include Honey and Chocolate, Milk Caramel, Espresso and White Chocolate.

If you are near a Max Brenner (Boston, Las Vegas, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC ), you could imbibe their “Aphrodisiacs” (liqueur-added chocolate drinks). Choco-wine may satisfy your palate be found in some liquor stores.

Chocolate liqueurs abound in Israel, certainly more so than in NYC. Not able to access any of these? Pour your booze into the truffles below and then try to figure it out: Haman? Mordecai? At the very least let it be l’chaim!

Shikkered Truffles
2 ounces unsalted butter
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 pound bittersweet or dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1⁄2 cup heavy cream (fresh, not ultra-pasteurized)
1⁄2 cup quality chocolate liqueur, Cognac, rum or other liqueur
Cocoa, finely chopped nuts, or powdered sugar, for rolling
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. In a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the butter and sugar until melted and dissolved. Add the chocolate and stir continuously with a wire whisk until it starts to melt. Add the cream and continue to stir with a whisk until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the liquor of choice. Stir until thoroughly integrated. Cool in the refrigerator overnight, or set a bowl over an ice bath and continue whisking until cool (this technique creates a lighter truffle and allows you to complete them sooner). Use two teaspoons to form chocolate balls, and roll in cocoa, finely chopped nuts, or powdered sugar. Place the chocolate balls on the prepared baking sheet. Store in a cool place in a covered container. Quantity: About 30–35 truffles

Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz’s book, On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, published by Jewish Lights, is in its second printing. Used in adult study, school settings, book clubs and chocolate tastings, it also contains delicious recipes. Rabbi Prinz speaks around the world about chocolate and religion and blogs at The Huffington Post, The Jewish Journal and If you are thinking ahead to Pesach, you might want to download a free Chocolate Haggadah on socially responsible themes.


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