A Jammin’ Family Business

I’ve spent the last couple of days immersed in Kosherfest 2011. This trade show in Secaucus, NJ. gathers the largest group of professionals associated with kosher food. While my haunts are usually farmers’ markets, innovative vegetarian and locavore restaurants and boutique wineries, I wanted to explore the deep and broad world of kosher branding and see what products struck a chord for me.
I did my homework and set out to explore a couple of products in particular, including the Best Overall New Product, the top award at the expo. The prize was granted to Tishbi, Fine Foods by Oshra Tishbi, for her Champagne Collection of fruit preserves.
I set my GPS, donned my most comfy footwear and braved my way through the Lincoln Tunnel to head to NJ. Luckily, I had a new friend in tow, a fellow blogger and twitter pal I have bonded with over our mutual love for Italian food and shared notes on kosher finds in NYC.
When I read that Tishbi Wineries in Zichron Ya’acov won the coveted award for Best Overall New Product, I felt a flutter of excitement.

Zichron is a magnificent destination at the southern edge of the Carmel Mountain range. It is a  favorite and  regular day trip when we visit our family in Israel each year.

I learned that Tishbi Estate Winery has a fascinating history that goes back to 1882 when Michael Chamiletzki came to Israel from Romania and settled in nearby Shefeya.  As Baron Edmund de Rothschild was developing the nearby village, he chose Michael Chamiletzki to plan and develop vineyard there. When the revered poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik visited in 1925 he gave Michael the new family name Tishbi, an acronym for “a resident of Shefeya in Israel”.

Today, 130 years later, there is a new generation working with their parents, expressing their great grandparents’ vision while expanding it in their own way.   While Golan Tishbi has grown into the role of Tishbi’s winemaker, his sister Oshra has added a dairy restaurant (indoor and terrace seating with breathtaking views), tasting room and now, these award winning products to the Tishbi family brand.

At the gateway to the sensitively preserved and deeply historic town of Zichron Ya’acov, Oshra set up a restaurant, sourcing fruits and veggies from neighboring farms.  The tasting room offers a great green gesture of encouraging guests to re-use liter bottles they have brought from home and fill them up with the house wine .  Delicious and fruity first cold pressed olive oil may be purchased to go in the same way.

But the star of the show was the Champagne Collection of jams.  Passion fruit and Strawberry Champagne Jams were the winners and I could taste why.

The bold and unexpected burst of passion fruit was a thrill.  It has complex notes typical of the slightly tart, bright yellow fruit.
It would pare perfectly with sharper cheeses like feta and pecorino. I will seek it out and serve it one winter afternoon knowing that there is a taste of Israeli sunshine on the plate.

The Strawberry Champagne Jam had more of a one note sweetness with a summery explosion of ruby fruit on the tongue. I imagine it over waffles or French toast, drizzled over ice cream or pared with mild cheeses like Chevre or Camembert. Kids will love this one as much as their parents will. Try it with peanut butter on whole grain toast.

 

Tishbi Passionfruit and Strawberry Champagne jams may be found at Dean and Deluca stores in December.

some preserves and jellies are currently available at William Sonoma stores.

Check out http://www.tishbi.com/ for more info. about visiting Tishbi Winery in Israel.
http://www.fruitoftheland.com/ is the importer of Tishbi products in the U.S. and Canada


 

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