Manischewitz Thinks Outside the Box (of Matzo)

By Lauren Weiss

Jewish food is not typically associated with the phrase “thinner and thinner.” Unless, of course, you are watching the production of matzo at the Manischewitz Company’s new state-of-the-art baking facility in Newark, NJ. I was invited to attend the exciting Schmura Matzo Run last week as the kosher food company giant Manischewitz prepares for its biggest holiday of the year – Passover.

There is a 124-year tradition in making the ceremonial Schmura Matzo. Like a fine wine that was made with grapes grown under the most perfect conditions, this is the riserva of flour. This “special edition” matzo is baked with wheat that was blessed and watched since it was harvested, according to Biblical law. This matzo is reserved for the Passover Seder, the most sacred and ceremonial of all Jewish meals.

Back in the day, it took only 18 minutes to make matzo. This was super convenient for those on the run in a desert, who may not have time to wait and wait for bread to rise. Now, with all this new-fangled technology, it takes 18 minutes. The process is the same, but machines have replaced our hands. Flour and water is mixed and rolled through a series of conveyor belts to achieve desired thinness. I saw the matzo made, baked, boxed and took home 2 boxes along with other products to sample at my family Seder. I can’t wait to enjoy my Schmura with a schmear.

Manischewitz makes matzo and kosher food all year. Events as significant as the parting of the Red Sea and escape from slavery deserve some bold and daring food. To help you be bold and daring, Manischewitz steps into 2012 with some new foods that are progressive and dynamic, proving that the company is modern and evolving while preserving traditions and rules. Their website has colorful, beautiful photos and original innovative recipes for you to bring your Seder into the twenty-teens. Think outside the matzo box.

There are three new categories of food products to enjoy and entertain during the Passover season. I’ve been sampling their products all week and was only bummed that I couldn’t try the Mediterranean Matzo, flavored with olive oil, salt, oregano and rosemary. The similarly seasoned Mediterranean Gefilte Fish was delicious and would be perfect on some butter greens with mixed pitted olives and red wine vinaigrette. There is also a new Health and Wellness category that offers organic matzo, gluten free cake mixes and noodles, handmade round Seder Matzos, Sugar Free Macaroons and Guiltless Gourmet treats that are Kosher for Passover and the first Passover item for the snack company. Finally there is the comfort food category – aka desserts. Step up your dessert buffet this year with Red Velvet Cake Mix and Chocolate Covered Egg Matzos in Dark, Milk and White.

Extra or broken pieces of matzo are perfect for farfel, crushed pieces perfect for making matzo balls or sprinkling on soup, or for matzo meal, a replacement for breadcrumbs in any recipe. I like matzo best out right of the box, broken off in perfect perforated strips, with a schmear of sweet butter, left soft on the kitchen counter. Manischewitz products are widely available at major supermarkets and on their website, where you will also find fabulous recipes.

Lauren Weiss is a freelance food writer who loves everything culinary. Weiss created her blog Westfield Foodie in 2009, chronicling her experiences cooking, dining and shopping for food while a stay home mom of 2. She also writes about foodie interests in & around Union County for JerseyBites and pens The Foodie State for The Alternative Press. Prior to her change of career as a food writer, Lauren previously served as Director of PR at the JCC of Central NJ, VP of Business Development at Impact Productions and for 8 years as VP of Conferences & Special Events at Bear Stearns. She graduated with a Masters from Rutgers University in 1992 and a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1990. Lauren lives in Westfield, NJ with her husband, 2 girls and a floppy Cavechon. In addition to food & family, she loves running, hiking, tennis, golf, skiing, photography, music and travel.