Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Food

Max Brenner Turning To Marijuana-Infused Chocolates

For five years, Israeli chocolatier Oded Brenner had to stay away from selling chocolate outside his restaurants.

This was not an easy task for the co-founder of Max Brenner, an international chain of chocolate-themed restaurants with locations across the globe, grown from humble beginnings in Raanana in 1996. But when Brenner sold the company to Strauss Group in 2012, he signed a non-compete agreement that prohibited him from working in the chocolate industry until March 2017.

As soon as that agreement expired, Brenner – the bald man behind chocolate martinis, syringes, and pizza – could resume his Willy Wonka-esque status. He could also experiment with an ingredient that had evaded his truffles, despite the fact that Israel is a leading grower of its unique strains: cannabis.

The result of Brenner’s newfound freedom and expanded pantry is Holy Cacao – a line of four chocolate edibles whose manufacture is currently being explored in Colorado (where recreational cannabis use has been legal since 2014). The deluxe chocolates, with flavors including champagne cream, cherry liqueur, and brandy, will be packaged in the exclusively designed tin boxes that Max Brenner devotees expect.

Brenner’s creativity may be boundless, but there are nevertheless legal boundaries demarcating where edible cannabis products such as Holy Cacao can be sold. The market for edibles in Brenner’s native Israel, for example, is restricted.

“In Israel there are edibles available for children as cookies,” explains Saul Kaye, founder and CEO of iCan, an Israeli developer of cannabis formulations, trials, and testing. “Israel does not have an edible market like the US as we are focused on the medicine, creating products that are tried and tested.”

The Israeli edible market may change in the future. For now, Brenner brings his tried twenty-year track record with chocolate to refine the edibles market beyond the stereotypical hash brownie.

This post has been updated on March 8, 2018.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.