Thrill the foodies on your Hanukkah gift list with these kosher gourmet gifts. We've rounded up delicious products for all eight nights of Hanukkah — including modern takes on traditional Hanukkah food themes.
Olive oil is central to the Hanukkah story: after reclaiming the Temple in Jerusalem from its Greek captors, the Macabees found only a day's worth of the oil required to ritually purify the Temple. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days — long enough to rededicate the holy place. Extra-virgin olive oil then, the purest — and tastiest — form available, makes a most iconic gift. (Some artisan-produced oils from the Mediterranean are still made in cold stone presses like those used in ancient times). All unflavored extra-virgin olive oils are kosher (even without certification), which means the selection is vast. Gift samplers from NegevNectars.com include sustainable, organic olive oils. Price: $28 to $72.
While we're on the topic of olive oil, why not go straight to the source? Olives, after all, make a great gift, too, especially because it's often tricky to find good kosher-certified olives in US markets. For olive lovers with lots of storage space, KosherItalia.com sells a nice variety — including Calabrese, Kalamata, and Nicoise — in 10-pound party pails. Price: $42/10-pounds.
The olive oil trope makes fried foods a Hanukkah tradition. But cheese was key to the lesser known story of Judith, a possible Maccabee ancestor who beheaded Assyrian general Holofernes after plying him with cheese and wine, thus saving her kin from decimation. In tribute to Judith, gift some artisan kosher cheese:
4. Chocolate Hanukkah Gelt
Once upon a time, gelt — that dreidel game essential — came in the form of real coins. Then, to the delight of kids everywhere, some inspired candymaker started turning out chocolate gelt. Fun though it is, most Hanukkah gelt is disappointing on the chocolate front. Not so Divine Chocolate's Fair-Trade Certified Milk Chocolate Coins, made from the finest Ghanian cocoa beans. The coins are embossed with a message of freedom and justice, fitting sentiments for Hannukah. Best of all, choosing Divine's gelt directly benefits the small-scale farmers of Kuapa Kokoo cooperative, co-owners of Divine Chocolate. Find them at Whole Foods, or buy online at NaturalCandyStore.com. Price: $2.49/1.75 oz.
5. Hanukkah Cookies
Who's going to say no to a cookie, especially if it's all dressed up for a Hanukkah celebration? Dancing Deer's Star of David-shaped Vanilla Shortbread cookies are decorated with a drizzle of (all natural, vegetable dyed!) blue icing, and a sprinkle of sugar crystals. They're packaged in a beribboned tin for easy gifting. Star-K Kosher. Buy online at DancingDeer.com. Price: $14.95/8 oz.
Eleni's hand-iced cookies come in a variety of Hanukkah-themed sets, from dreidels and gelt to letters that spell out "Happy Hanukkah." The beautifully-iced sugar cookies are baked in a nut-free facility. OU-D Kosher. Buy online at Elenis.com. Price: $37.50 to $75
6. Israeli Jam
Know someone who fries up homemade sufganiot every Hanukkah? Show up to the party with an exciting jam, and you might even get a taste of your gift via those jelly donuts.
Israel is known for its delectable fruit, so it's not surprising that the country turns out some particularly delicious jams. Aunt Berta's Apricot Preserve won a 2010 sofi™ Gold Award — you'll find it, along with other all-natural flavors like Peach & Blackberry at ParkEastKosher.com. Price: $5.99/8.8 oz.
Beit Yitzhak's 100% Fruit Spreads come in a wide range of flavors, including Fig, Passion Fruit, Pomegranate, and Quince. Buy online at Amazon.com. Price: $5.99/10 oz.
7. Sephardic Spices
Help your favorite foodie explore the vast world of Sephardic cookery by stocking their pantry with exotic spices. The Spice House stocks spices and spice blends including za'atar, baharat, sumac, and Aleppo pepper. Try the ras el hanout in these Moroccan- spiced potato latkes.
All of the products blended and packaged at The Spice House's Milwaukee location are certified KSW kosher and pareve. (Be sure to specify any need for kosher products in the Special Shipping Instructions section when you order to ensure your spices are shipped from the Milwaukee store.) Spices come in a range of sizes, in both jars and bags, so you can order the amount that suits your needs. Price: Varies by spice and quantity; about $2.50 to $25.
8. Hard-to-Find Kosher Foods
It can be challenging to track down kosher versions of international ingredients. So for kosher cooks with adventuresome palates, making authentic versions of enticing ethnic recipes is a bit of a pipe dream. Enter KosherGourmetMart.com, where you'll find an incredible range of ingredients and prepared foods, from curry pastes, rice paper and the only kosher-certified nam pla, to caramels, chutneys, and organic chicken sausages. You could spend ages browsing the site, and it's a great go-to if you want to assemble gift baskets for your favorite kosher cooks.