Besides breaking the Yom Kippur fast with it and having it at the office toast for Rosh Hashana, between you and me, do you know anybody who actually prefers honey cake to other options? I don’t.
Given the choice, most of my friends would not choose a slab of honey cake over a slice of apple pie or a piece of cheesecake.
But it is Rosh Hashana, and we are bound by tradition. So we sampled the honey cakes from bakeries around the country, and to tell you the truth, they were all very similar: moist, dark, spicy and generally good. Then we decided that since they all offered a good variation on the theme, we’d focus this year on some of the other options offered for Rosh Hashana – and there are some very creative ideas out there. So here goes. From honey-apple brioche to apple-honey krantz kuchen, here are this year’s offerings from 10 top bakeries.
Lehamim, the popular Tel Aviv bakery chain (with a branch in New York, which was recently voted the best in the Big Apple), crowned this year’s tasting with a honey halla baked around a handmade ceramic bowl, topped with seeds and grains for prosperity and good fortune. We predict that this addictive bread will be its hottest item this year. Other goodies on offer are delicious apple strudel, fruit tarts, apple krantz and many variations on the honey cake theme, including one with chunks of apple.
99 Hashmonaim St. Tel Aviv, (03) 561-8111, the Carmel Market and the Farmers’ Market, www.lehamim.co.il
Biscotti Bakery offers a rich hand-baked selection. We loved the apple-honey crumble and the cheese cake and apple in honey cake. But our favorite was the krantz, with cheese, apples and silan. Of course, the honey cakes were very good, but we preferred the one without apples. Biscotti is kosher and delivers to all parts of the country.
67 Hayarkon Street, Bnei Brak, (03) 570-4015/8
Tatti Bread offers many options for Rosh Hashana in its Honeycomb selection. We enjoyed the ricotta and honey yeast cake. It was not too sweet and was great the next day as well. Other good options include a rich apple and mascarpone tart and very good honey cookies.
53 Derech Hashalom, Givatayim; 3 Avraham Giron Street, Yehud, (03) 539-2500
Metuka offers a rich holiday selection every year, but this year the star was an almond Florentine with a crunchy buttery base, toffee-honey crème and figs. A rich, delicious cake that everybody loved. Metuka also offers many variations on the honey cake theme, cookies and fruit breads.
Lehem Erez will be selling more than just honey cakes as well. In the selection, we found various sweet hallot with fruit and nuts (excellent!), as well as liqueurs, confitures and much more. But our favorite was the apple-raisin brioche, which was as good as it looked: buttery soft yeast dough with honey-caramelized apples, but not too sweet.
Available at all Lehem Erez branches.
Petit boutique catering offers the most elegant option for entertaining – a selection of creative handmade baked goods.
Loved the bite-size kugelhopfshaped cakes and tartlets, as well as the very pretty, full-size cakes. The winners, though, were the honey cookies. Nothing like the commercial version sold in supermarkets, they melted in the mouth and were very pretty as well. The mini-size apple strudel was also great.
Available at Petit Café, 70 Yedidya Frenkel Street, Tel Aviv, or by delivery to all parts of the country.
Kmahim offers its chef Guli Pinchasov’s honey story – a cake made from thin layers of high-quality honey cake and cream that is both light and rich. Kmahim also offers cheese and pomegranate and more. It also provides party platters for office and home events.
20 Hacarmel Street, Ganei Tikva, (03) 716-1999; Jaffa Market at the Port, (03) 535-8028; 4 Derech Rabin, Petah Tikva, ww.kmahim.co.il
Oren Becker is launching his new patisserie in the compound that is opening soon in Sarona in Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, he has created a top-of-the-line selection of cakes for the holidays, which includes elegant mini-size honey cakes with added surprises such as chocolate Seblet and apple and pear with Calvados or Swedish yeast and apple cakes. Our favorite was the apple and pear tart with financier and the apple krantz with cinnamon cream, both sugar-free.
Available at Becker’s baking school, 30 Hanatziv Street, Montefiore, Tel Aviv, 054-452-3030.
Tel Aviv’s Bread Story offers New York-style breads that won our hearts. We loved the braided country halla with apples and honey and thought the pink beetroot and nut halla was also fantastic and could add a very pretty touch to the holiday table.
88 Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv
Brown offers an extensive line of holiday cakes and breads created by chef Avi Melamedson, which includes halla, ricotta brioche, kugelhopf- shaped honey cake, apple cakes and more. We especially liked the brioche and the simple honey and apple pound cake, which was dark and moist and not too sweet.
A special feature is the handmade ice cream. Try the apple or pomegranate sorbets or go for the figs and honey. All are excellent and make for a light dessert for a holiday meal.
G compound in North Tel Aviv, 10 Nissim Aloni Street, (03) 544- 4024. The ice creams, cakes and breads are also available at the Buy the Way delicatessen at the Ra’anana junction, (09) 742-4600 (open 24 hours), and Kfar Saba, (09) 744-6868.