Finding kosher gifts does not have to be difficult, if you know what to look for. Enstrom's toffee and candy company, for example, has discovered that offering kosher candy for sale is a way to not only increase their appeal to the Jewish community but also a move that shows inimitable foresight as a business model. With their confections containing dairy products that are certified kosher under Scroll K, they are having a worldwide impact on the way kosher products are bought online.
Consumers opting for kosher gifts like candy filled gift baskets, corporate gifts or even gourmet chocolates that are sent across the country, know that buying kosher eliminates the possibility of offending an observing Jew or worse, leaving him out of experiencing the tasty morsels the rest of the family or office enjoys. Yet did you know that not only Jews keep kosher; there are plenty of others who also look for kosher products?
Kosher food, and by extension kosher candy, is much sought after by vegans, Hindus and Muslims, as well as by those who understand the added inspection processes that render kosher food choices overall safer to eat for anyone suffering from allergies. This of course adds a whole new dimension to the "why" of buying kosher: it shows that the buyer is familiar with the societal trend of recognizing high-quality foods and choosing to extend the courtesy of purchasing them to those who are most likely to enjoy them.
Occasions for ordering kosher food online for gift giving abound; there are all of the major American holidays, Shabbat, a bar or bat mitzvah, a new baby, graduations, anniversaries or simply a little something for Chanukah. Kosher gifts are a perfect way of saying "thank you" or "you're welcome." They do not go out of style, do not offend anyone's sensitivities and - perhaps most importantly - show you as the thoughtful, forward-thinking and highly sensitive gift giver you really are.
With kosher candy or other kosher food gifts, you simply cannot go wrong.
1. Enstrom's Toffee
If you want to make a big impression this holiday season, go to Enstrom's. With world-renowned toffees, mini-turtles, mint meltaways, truffles and more, its kosher delicacies are sinful and its gift sets are outstanding. Whether customized or personally created, Enstrom's is unique, offering sugar-free toffees, gourmet chocolates and peppermint cookie bark to indulge the senses and lighten the mood.
2. Fancy Fruit & Nut Platter
A fruit and nut platter is an excellent gift choice for any occasion. Creative and colorful, they are often breathtaking artworks, with pecans, peanuts and walnuts weaving in and out of dried pineapple, dates, bananas and more. Succulent and mouthwatering, they can serve as a centerpiece or a snacker and always as a terrific gift.
3. Kosher Wines
Kosher wines, such as Baron Herzog Merlot, Goose Bay Viognier '07 and Zion Tidhar Cabernet Sauvignon are great additions to any gift you give. They give an air of elegance while adding a touch of flavor. So, go on, be bold and add a splash of dark cherry or the smoothness of merlot; if you're lucky the glasses will be out before you leave.
Wal-Mart is one of the best places to go if you're running late on a kosher gift. They have everything from baby cribs and maternity gowns, to pink/blue reversible blankets, to shirts organically made. Let's face it, they are well stocked, even carrying a Hanes line of organic cotton pajamas, Godiva chocolates, lotion, rugs and more.
5. Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Jelly Bellys have got to be the quickest of the grab-and-go gifts. They are conveniently located, easy to spot and most people love them. With flavors of chocolate, raspberry, pina colada and even popcorn, Jelly Belly jelly beans have been around since 1869, making kids smile.
6. Kosher Cookbook
One of my favorite gifts for newlyweds and first year college students is a kosher cookbook. Not only will it offer creative ideas on daily menus, it can provide easy but tasty recipes while adhering to religious standard.
7. Avalon Organics
Rest and relaxation is often overlooked in the rush of today's busy activities. Who gets playtime with work, family and bills? Avalon Organics is a phenomenal gift, because its fresh lavender scent clears the mind and relieves stress in seconds, whisking you off to a world all your own as you enjoy their lotion, moisturizer, facial cleanser and toner.
8. Housewarming Party
If someone is about to relocate there are a few must-haves on their list, such as towels, sheets, pot holders and even cleaning products. (Soft Scrub is widely used in kosher cleaning.) Find out what they have and what they will be taking from home and have some fun! Get them a rug, lotions for the bathroom and a blanket to curl up on the couch with.
9. Drink it Up
Another awesome kosher gift includes tea and coffee. This has a wide range of options simply because of people's taste buds. You can make a basket or pick up a few of their favorite teas/coffees if they prefer exquisite brands that you have smelled for years. You also can get Starbucks to create a gift basket - you can even pick out what goes in it if you want to. This has proved to be a great gift for the people addicted to Java Joe, at least now they could drink it in their PJs.
10. Wine Country Gift Baskets
These are some of the best pre-made gift baskets available because they offer a wide selection of treats. Sweet favorites such as Brown & Haley Mocha Rocha, Ghirardelli dark chocolate and milk chocolate with caramel squares, shortbread cookies, biscotti, English toffee, dark chocolate-covered Bavarian pretzels and dreidel vanilla cookies are a few or their tasty options. Multi-grain crackers, nuts, mozzarella cheese swirls, panetini crackers, dijon flat crisps, honey mustard pretzels and Mrs. May's cranberry almond crunch are also available for those in a saltier mood.
Written by J. Henry
When you're in charge of preparing a kosher meal for the holidays or treating Jewish guests to some gourmet food gifts and treats, you'll find dozens of online resources to pull together a bountiful feast. Kosher recipes are readily available from hundreds of seasoned cooks, bakers and gourmet food enthusiasts who only use kosher ingredients for their authentic, traditional recipes. From matza balls and Passover latkas, to soofganiyot and babkas, you'll find many classic recipes for kosher specialties with an online search and can find out if these foods are kosher certified with some basic research.
Finding Kosher Food Online
Many kosher recipes call for specialty ingredients or kosher accompaniments that you can't find at your local grocery store or specialty food market. Kosher food stores and companies online give you a chance to shop for kosher food with ease and have everything delivered to your home within a few days.
If you're looking for food gifts and gourmet food items, you may also consider buying kosher candies and chocolate over the Web. Companies such as Enstrom's, a gourmet toffee and chocolate company, offer a bountiful selection of sweet treats that are perfect for almost any special occasion. You can also track down kosher bakeries online for babkas, mandel bread and even matza balls; just look for indications that they are kosher certified or contact the bakery owner for a confirmation.
Cooking with Kosher Recipes
When you're preparing kosher food for yourself or others, it's important to note the difference between categories of each food type. Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese are considered kosher when they have met FDA standards, but some families prefer to use only dairy items that are labeled 'Cholov Yisroel' to ensure that the milking has been done under rabbinical supervision. Acceptable dairy foods are those derived from cows, goats and sheep.
Meats include all kosher animals and fowl slaughtered according to Jewish law and prepared under rabbinical supervision. Meat derived from animals that chew their cud and are cloven-hoofed are all considered kosher; this may include beef, lamb, ox, turkey and chicken.
Parve foods are 'neutral' foods and include foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs and tofu. Fish is also considered to be a parve food, and these foods do not fall under the meat or dairy categories.
Making sure your kosher food and recipes are made only with kosher ingredients can take time, but there are many resources available in your local area and online to help you put together a kosher meal. Whether you're cooking for a family feast or rounding up gourmet treats for a special occasion, take the time to confirm that the food source is kosher certified and meets all food standards.
Written by Sabah Karimi
Jewish holiday traditions celebrate faith, family, long-standing traditions and kosher food. Important aspects of some Jewish holiday traditions include gift giving and following stricter than usual kosher dietary laws.
Why Give Kosher for the Holidays?
For busy families, eating kosher is not possible at every meal. During the holidays, some families make a concerted effort to follow Jewish holiday traditions and eat kosher meals and give kosher gifts. Kosher giving shows respect for Jewish spirituality and overall health, and it pays homage to Jewish holiday traditions. Consuming kosher also teaches us to respect other living animals. It also teaches us self-discipline.
When looking for kosher holiday gifts, keep in mind the three kosher categories of dairy, meat and pareve. Dairy and meat may not be consumed together or prepared together. Keep this in mind when looking for kosher gifts, as any product containing both meat products and dairy products would not be kosher.
Pareve is neither meat or dairy and can be eaten with either dairy foods or meat products.
Identifying Kosher Food Gifts
Kosher food gifts bear a "hechsher," or a symbol that ensures the food item meets the kosher standards of a supervising rabbi. One common hechsner is the OU of the Orthodox Union. The Star-K is another kosher symbol found on foods that you can find on products when shopping for kosher holiday gifts.
Kosher Gift-Giving Holidays
Kosher Holiday Gifts for Hanukkah
While it's usually children who receive gifts for Hanukkah, you can still partake in kosher giving at your family's or friend's Hanukkah party. In addition to the ceremonial menorah lighting, serving a dairy-based not meat-based meal is also becoming a popular Jewish holiday tradition for Hanukah. Because meat and dairy cannot be served or eaten together and remain kosher, a holiday with a kosher dairy-based meal is the perfect holiday to give the kosher gift of Enstrom's almond toffee.
Because the sweet treat is dairy based, it can be enjoyed without having to wait six hours after you've eaten the main meal to dive into the sweet kosher gift, as would be true with a meat-based holiday meal.
Remember to burn the used menorah's wicks or wrap them properly before discarding them.
Shavuot Kosher Giving
On Shavuot, Jewish holiday traditions historically include dairy-based meals. A top kosher gift for Shauvot would be some OU-certified kosher cheese. Another nice touch would be to give aromatic flowers with lush greens, for decorating the home.
Kosher Ideas for Tu B'Shvat
Tu B'Shvat is "New Year for the trees." Jewish holiday traditions for Tu B'Shvat involve eating seven different fruits for which the Land of Israel is praised. A top kosher gift idea would be to assemble a simple basket containing honey, olives, figs, pomegranates, grapes, barley and wheat. Kosher foods with those ingredients would also make tasty kosher gifts.
Top Kosher Gifts for Purim
Purim brings some of the most festive Jewish holiday traditions into our homes. The Book of Esther is at the heart of the holiday.
Purim is also a holiday with fun costumes, revelry and wine, balance the day with healthy kosher gifts. A Jewish holiday tradition on Purism includes giving charity to at least two people. Also give two ready-to-eat kosher foods to friends, to symbolize kinship. Consider sending spicy salsa, guacamole, mixed nuts, gourmet dried fruits or a homemade bean salad, all kosher.
Written by Pam Gaulin