When Burger King announced two years ago that it would be selling hamburgers on doughnuts at its branches in Israel during Hanukkah, the American fast food chain said it “proves that miracles still happen.”
That attempt to make sufganiot special with the so-called “SufganiKing” was a dismal failure that will never be repeated.
Ahead of this year’s holiday, Itzik Kadosh, whose self-named boutique patisserie won last year’s In Jerusalem sufganiot competition, decided he would perfect a much better Hanukkah gimmick: The Ice Cream Sufgania.
“We make our own vanilla bourbon ice cream, and we are known for our sufganiot, so we said ‘let’s play with it,’” Kadosh said.
Kadosh objected to the notion that mixing ice cream and sufganiot would not work, because it is cold during Hanukkah in much of the world and ice cream is a summer food. He even added Zionism to the ingredients.
“The Maccabees were here, in a hot place,” Kadosh said. “But you can eat ice cream all year, no matter where you live. It’s not a winter food. When I studied in Vienna, I saw they put ice cream on their strudel all year, even when it was cold outside.”
The Ice Cream Sufgania is a culinary experience, with a sufgania as its cone, the vanilla bourbon ice cream as its filling and salty caramel and a hazelnut praline souffle to put this dessert over the top in holiday goodness. Its price is NIS 27, which is also over the top, but ensures that unlike with other sufganiot, it is easier to limit oneself to only one.
Kadosh undoubtedly had this year’s best gimmick, but would it win the competition for the best sufganiot in Jerusalem for a second year in a row? That question was asked to a talented team of reviewers aged two to 41 with refined palates.
The reviewers sampled sufganiot from eight of the capital’s bakeries in honor of the holiday, one for each sweet night. As in past years, to facilitate a fair comparison, the sufganiot sampled for the review were the most common varieties: strawberry jelly and dulce de leche (ribat halav).
They decided to rank Kadosh tied at the top with Bourekas Ima, the Talpiot family bakery that won the competition in 2016. While Kadosh sufganiot are best when eaten at the crowded downtown bakery, where different kinds come out at different times, Bourekas Ima has the best standard strawberry jelly and dulce de leche doughnuts to take home in bulk.
With so many outlets offering excellent sufganiot, it is a challenge to rank them, but by consensus of our experts, here are the official results, listed from best to worst: 1. KADOSH
: Shlomzion Hamalka Street, downtown Jerusalem (park at Mamilla)
: Strawberry, dulce de leche, chocolate, white chocolate, Oreo, pistachio, crème pâtissière, blackcurrant (cassis), lemon, raspberry, pineapple. Toppings include different chocolates, fondants, coconut creams, and decorations that are fruit, nuts, English toffee, and flavored marshmallows. Their new flavors are lychee, passion fruit and Mont Blanc chestnut cream.
: NIS 16
: Their texture is ideal, simultaneously spongey and cakey. The sugar crystals give it a unique crunch. The filling was richer, deeper and more extensive than the other bakeries. Strawberries on top are dried in a special process at the bakery. The only negative is how dirty they make your hands.1. BOUREKAS IMA
: Rivka Street, Talpiot
: Jelly, dulce de leche, chocolate, vanilla, halva, walnuts
: NIS 4 to NIS 7
: When it comes to dough, Bourekas Ima bounces to the top. Our taste testers described the dough as chewy and dense and “fun to chew.” An added bonus, according to one taster, was that the doughnut was less greasy and sugary than others, “so it doesn’t make your hands and mouth sticky.”
Bourekas Ima’s jelly was also ranked high, described as tasty and tangy by the testers.
But when the two-year-old put a bite of the Bourekas Ima doughnut in her mouth, she spit it out.
“Do you like the doughnut?” Mommy asked. The response was an intense head shake and a loud, “No!”3. MARZIPAN
: Mahaneh Yehuda Market and Rahel Imenu Street, Katamon
: Strawberry, dulce de leche, chocolate, white chocolate, halva, vanilla, coffee. Toppings with chocolate and with colorful M&Ms, sprinkles or roasted coconut.
: Parve NIS 5, dairy NIS 6
: The thickness of the chewy dough should be celebrated. The aftertaste was especially good. The best part was the strawberry on top, which unlike other bakeries is fresh.4. ROLADIN
: Nine bakeries throughout the city plus Modi’in and Mevaseret Zion
: Strawberry, dulche de leche, whipped cream, Royal Lindt chocolate, Yellow Sunrise (pineapple and mango), Violet Cheesecake, and Isfahan (mascarpone cream, raspberry marmalade.
: NIS 6 to NIS 12 Review
: The taste testers agreed that the doughnut was the most flavorful from A to Z.
“This one is a total package,” one taster said, commenting on the sharp yet sweet flavor of the doughnut’s strawberry jelly.
The 11-year-old girl was enthralled by the purple color of the Violet Cheesecake doughnut, which she called fun and inviting.
“The color must make people want to get this doughnut,” she said. “And I think the flavor is really good, too.”
The two-year-old commented that Roladin’s jelly sufganiot are, “Yummy to my tummy.”
But be prepared for a mess. The Roladin jelly doughnut is doused in so much powdered sugar that the table looked like it was hit by a sugary snowstorm even before the first bite. 5. HERBY’S
: More than 20 grocery stores throughout the city, including Super Moshava, Super Deal
: Strawberry jelly, dulce de leche, chocolate, vanilla
: Varies by the store Review
: Herby’s is a Beit El-based bakery that delivers throughout the country. Its dough is sweeter than other bakeries, and its powdered sugar sticks well to the doughnut. But the filling flavors can be improved. They also have munchkins and regular doughnuts with holes. 6. ENGLISH CAKE
: Seven throughout the city, plus Gush Etzion, Modi’in and Mevaseret Zion. Tastings promised in every branch.
: Jelly, dulce de leche, Chocobo (Belgian chocolate mousse), Nutella, pistachio kadaif, Napoleon, Milky, Oreo, cheesecake, mekupelet (chocolate flake) and Ferrero Rocher.
: NIS 6 to NIS 9. Discounts when buying 50.
Review: English Cake’s doughnuts are aesthetic, but they remain unchanged from years past. When regular jelly and dulche de leche doughnuts were tested, complaints about low flavor and high grease left the testers with a bad taste in their mouths.
But when they tried English Cake’s specialty doughnuts, the kids came alive. They said the Chocobo doughnut’s chocolate cream was nothing short of perfect – rich, but not too rich.
“The chocolate feeling ignites my tongue,” said one tester.
But the pistachio was nothing to write home about.
“I looked at the cream and its vivid green color and was disappointed that it tasted like your basic whipped icing,” said one tester. 7. NEEMAN
: 18 throughout the city, plus Beit Shemesh, Modi’in, and two in Ma’aleh Adumim
: Jelly, dulce de leche, chocolate with halva, chocolate with candy, click, mekupelet, cheesecake, vanilla and cherry, strawberry banana, mango, nougat with Ferrero Rocher, lotus and Queen of Hearts, which has candy hearts.
: NIS 4.50 for minis, to NIS 10. Sixth doughnut free.Review
: Neeman deserves credit for starting to sell sufganiot immediately after Simhat Torah, but the 10-year-old losing a tooth when biting into one was not a good sign. Reviewers said the dough was oily and tasteless and the jelly had little flavor at all. With five kids around the table, no one wanted another bite of the regular strawberry jelly and dulce de leche. But when the mango doughnut was sampled, wows and yums were heard around the table.
“It tastes almost like fresh fruit creamed inside the cake,” one said. 8. WAFFLE BAR
: Seven branches in the city, one each in Beit Shemesh, Ma’aleh Adumim
: Strawberry jelly, dulce de leche, Loacker chocolate, white chocolate, Lotus Oreo, blueberry, vanilla.
: NIS 8Review
: We chose to review Waffle Bar this year because it is a major chain, but perhaps they should stick to waffles and pancakes. Their decision to have toppings but not inject fillings was not smart. Responses from the team included “too cakey,” “weak,” “dry,” “bad flavor” and “tastes dirty and gross.”
But the six-year-old said they were “the best ever.”
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