February 19, 2013

Kosher Food Still Reigns Supreme Despite Growing Popularity of Wines

NEW YORK— Walking around the magnificent hall at Chelsea Pier with a wine glass in hand, I thoroughly enjoyed looking like a wine connoisseur, but in the corner of my eye I kept glancing at the upscale foods presented by an elite group of New York kosher restaurants and takeout food establishments. Surprise. Surprise. I was not alone. 

The Sixth Annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience by Royal Wine (the Kedem Group) attracted more than 1,200 kosher mavens as well as the wine trade and press. But invariably the crowds gravitated towards the food and at $100 a pop, they might as well make a dinner of it.  But to me the wines are very much a part of the story of what I frequently refer to as the “upscaling” of kosher. Positioning some 200 wines with food from about two dozen restaurants is not by accident, at least not for the Herzog family, owners of Kedem. It’s all part of the panache of kosher nowadays. 

For me, it so fits my vision of where kosher ought to be that I “shep nachas (sorry simply cannot translate this Yiddish expression of satisfaction and delight).” I enjoyed watching the traditional Shabbos foods like cholent mix with sushi and very novel meat dishes. Even the Wall Street Journal recently profiled the Shabbos Kiddush, but clearly foods like Cholent and even herring are the comeback foods of the decade.

Clearly, some people wondered what the point of this event was. I think it is a brilliant stroke of genius to bring good wines and foods together in a demonstration that kosher has come of age. My hats off to the Herzogs.