Kid-friendly Tu Bishvat

Chocolate may be the magic ingredient that bridges the divide between adult and children's palates.

Chocolate fondue (photo credit: Dan Engongoro)
Chocolate fondue
(photo credit: Dan Engongoro)
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Tu Bishvat is one of those days that’s not on my kids' favorite holidays list. They still have school, get no presents, go on no trips—and last but not least, they truly don't look forward to the prospect of trying new fruit.
Tu Bishvat falls on the 15 of Shevat and is as simple as the song kids sing in school – a new year for the trees. In order to celebrate the trees, it is customary to eat fruit on this day, particularly fruits that are singled out by the Torah in its praise for the fruit of Israel. Therefore, fruits featured at Tu Bishvat seders typically include grapes, figs, pomegranates, olive and dates. In addition, we customarily eat a fruit that we haven't yet eaten this season so that we can recite the blessing of Sheheheyanu.
Some families take this opportunity to fill the table with all different types of exotic fruits and spend the night tasting fruits they’ve never eaten before. Without your resident fussy eaters underfoot, it’s a great opportunity to wrangle the family and expand your culinary horizons together.
Now back to my kids. Like most kids, they don’t like new things. If I could serve the same two rotating dinners, my kids would be happiest kids on the block.
Being a mom, I know what it’s like working, rushing and managing to somehow get dinner on the table. To add to that, on special days I like to create memories. Tu Bishvat presents a special challenge. All of the recipes feature culinary delights such as fig sandwiches, spicy olives or date chicken… All foods that I can't imagine my little ones embracing.
The solution: Chocolate Fondue! Whip up some hot melted chocolate in minutes and you end up with great memories and happy kids. Set up some fruit – pineapples, cherries, apples, pomegranates, grapes, dried fruit, to name a few, and start dipping. The neglected star fruit might just get a chocolate makeover!
Chocolate Fondue
Chocolate might be the one thing grownups and children have in common. No one can resist hot chocolate on fruit.
Ingredients2 (31/2 oz.) good quality bittersweet chocolate ½ cup whipped topping (non dairy or heavy cream) 2 tablespoon liqueur or brandy (preferably fruit)
In a small saucepot, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. While it’s simmering, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and mix until the chocolate melts. Add the liqueur.
Alternatively, you can do it the lazy way: place everything but the liqueur in a microwaveable dish. Place it in the microwave and heat on high on 20-second intervals. Check the mixture and mix every 20 seconds until the chocolate is melted. Even though the chocolate may not look melted, mix it to make sure as failure to mix properly will result in burnt chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, mix in the liqueur.
Tip: If you don’t have a fondue pot that you can use a microwaveable bowl. If the chocolate fondue gets too cool for dipping, just stick it back into the microwave and zap it for a few seconds, give it a good mix, and place it back on the table for everyone to enjoy.
Place the hot fondue in the center of the table. Thread fruit on skewers or long forks and invite your guests to dip their fruit of the choice into the hot chocolate.
Leah Schapira is the founder of, a rapidly growing online kosher recipe sharing site. A self-taught cook, she has been the food editor for two popular Jewish weekly magazines. Her recent cookbook Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking was published this fall.