Charoset Ben & Jerry's: Who's brave enough to try?

Specialty ice cream allows Jews to indulge during the holiday season.

March 26, 2015 13:45
2 minute read.

Ben&Jerry's finds its way to the Seder plate this Passover. (photo credit: FACEBOOK)


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For Jewish dessert lovers across the globe, Passover can be a very trying time. Of course most cakes, cookies and brownies are off the table, but even the majority of ice cream flavors don’t bear the necessary certification.

Enter Ben & Jerry’s. The Israeli branch of the US company is offering eight different flavors of Passover-approved ice cream. The classics are available – vanilla, strawberry, coffee, chocolate, chocolate- walnut, banana-walnut and dulce de leche – but so is the more intriguing haroset flavor, which the company first brought to shelves for the holidays in 2012 (and to select stores in 2008), but didn’t bring back every year.

Haroset is one of the food items traditionally on seder plates around the globe – a paste of apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon meant to represent the mortar the Jews used to build with while enslaved in Egypt.

Ben & Jerry’s announced this year’s slate of flavors – similar to those in year’s past – on social media with an improvisation of the traditional “Four Questions.”

“Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights, we do not add even one flavor.

But this Passover, this Passover – eight flavors!” Theoretically, an ice cream flavored with apple, walnuts and cinnamon should be tasty.

So we set about to sample the much-buzzed-about flavor.

Reviews across the board were quite varied. Some loved it, while others thought it was too sweet and goopy.

So, how exactly does one create ice-cream that is kosher for Passover? Soon after Ben & Jerry’s arrived in Israel in 1988, the company wanted to begin producing locally, in order to appeal to the dietary needs of Israelis, so they opened the production plant in Yavne.

Avi Zinger, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Israel said that during the weeks leading up to Passover, the factory goes through a massive cleanup to ensure that the entire factory is free of hametz – any leavened products.

“It starts with the fact that we change the factory, we do all the change in terms of the cleaning of the equipment and the production line,” Zinger told The Jerusalem Post. “All the ingredients have to be kosher for Passover, even the milk, the cream, everything. All the ingredients we add into the ice cream are kosher. That’s why for Passover we have limited selection.”

During Passover production, Ben & Jerry’s Israel only produces a limited number of their regular flavors. The company changes its entire production process leading up to the holiday, as most supermarkets in Israel will not sell non-kosher for Passover foods during that time.

“There is nothing else you can buy at that time,” Zinger said. “The supermarket chains are not accepting anything that is non-kosher [for Passover] in the weeks before the holiday, so the non-kosher products are not able to sell.”

Haroset ice cream, along with the other Passover flavors, is available at Ben & Jerry’s production plant in Yavne, most supermarkets in Jerusalem and specialty stores throughout the country. The special edition products retail for NIS 20, comparable to the regular price of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

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