April 14, 2015

Passover Competition Thrives on Social Media

NEW YORK - And the winner is? Passover programs in resorts all over the US, Canada and Puerto Rico seemed to be involved in an unprecedented competition as guests posted photos of creative dishes over the holidays (Chol Hamoed – the interim days). One site that seemed particularly active was the Great Kosher Restaurant Foodies Facebook page, coordinated by restaurant maven Elan Kornblum, who himself was at the Club Kosher program in the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico. A large number of photos were posted on Instagram from such programs as the Prime, KMR, Gateways, and Ohr Naava. Many showed Passover bagels and matzoh pizza as well as hotdogs in Passover buns. There was charoses ice cream and “tea rooms” with sweets, dried fruits, and pastries fit for the most lavish affairs. There were steaks, lamb and beef dressed with colorful side dishes from many of the programs and Tuna tratge from Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club. Many of the postings came from the many restaurants that were open, largely because of the four interim days, according to Mr. Kornblum. Many people who did not join the estimated 60,000 people who spent Passover in hotels seemed to be following the various programs. Some Passover program operators are predicting a 10% increase next year. The luxury programs focus a great deal of their efforts on the food programs. In addition to gourmet meals, many add afternoon barbecues, almost round-the-clock tea rooms and, of course, the lavish Kiddush on the holidays, particularly on the Shabbat. Kosher distributors and vendors concur that the programs spent a record amount of money on food and wine this year in what has become a highly competitive business, much of it played out on social media.  The Passover “program” business is estimated to exceed $140 million.