Pizza, pastry and delicacies for Shavuot

Restaurateurs are pushing for reopening their businesses as early as next week – May 20 is their proposed date – and they enjoy the backing of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and the Finance Ministry.

Cheesecake (photo credit: TAMAR LAHAV)
Cheesecake
(photo credit: TAMAR LAHAV)
As expected, restaurants have been left to the last round of relaxed restrictions – and even the timetable for that eventuality has yet to be finalized.
Restaurateurs are pushing for reopening their businesses as early as next week – May 20 is their proposed date – and they enjoy the backing of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and the Finance Ministry. On the other hand, the Health Ministry remains firmly opposed, holding out for waiting until the middle of June.
As usual in these cases, the prime minister will be the one to decide, and it is entirely possible that a compromise will be reached: the end of May, beginning of June. That is, if the restaurant owners will even agree to wait for permission. After witnessing the crowds on the beaches, prominent chef Omer Miller simply opened one of his Susu hamburger chain outlets in defiance of the regulations – and as in the case of the beachgoers, was ignored by the police.
Whatever official opening date is settled on, it is looking likely that even when restaurants and cafés resume operation, bars will have to remain shuttered.
Meanwhile, the holiday of Shavuot is approaching, and fortunately there are plenty of goodies with which to celebrate. Dairy products are in the forefront of the holiday’s traditions, and we present below three different – and certified kosher – ways to indulge in the varied bounty derived therefrom: gourmet cheeses, cheesecake and chocolate. Then stick around to learn about a great cheese pastry from the newest Roman bakery/pizzeria in town, which also has plenty more to offer.

A cornucopia for the Feast of Weeks

Cheesecake is arguably the flagship culinary symbol of Shavuot, and this year’s standard-bearer is from Elchanan Bread Culture, an artisan bakery and delicatessen whose brunch was reviewed previously on these pages (17 October 2018).
The cake itself (NIS 120) – boasting a sour cream frosting and thick biscuit crumb crust, and blessed with a heavenly consistency – will appeal most to people with a fondness for extra sweet.
Deliveries are available primarily to the northern Sharon area, and possibly to other areas, subject to minimum orders and extra delivery fees.
Elchanan Bread Culture. Kosher. Kibbutz Mishmarot. Tel. (04) 883-8200. Delivery menu (Hebrew only, but nicely illustrated): https://order.plweb.online/wl/618306#!/rest/618306/menu

Cheeses: Gad Dairies, the largest family-owned dairy in Israel, is one of the country’s most prestigious and prolific producers of cheeses of all types, made from the milk of cows, sheep and goats. For the occasion of Shavuot 5781, Gad has introduced four new cheeses and one new specialty product: crème pâtissière, for baking and desserts.
The new cheeses are: Quatro Formaggi, a mixture of four grated cheeses (mozzarella, Gouda, manchego and Grana Padano) in one bag, ideal for cooking, baking and sprinkling on pastas; Pecorino, a hard sheep cheese, conveniently presliced; Gouda from goats, a hard cheese suitable for both slicing and grating; and Bulgarian 24%, the latest addition to Gad’s Balkan collection. This versatile Bulgarian version is particularly rich, for eating as is, slicing into sandwiches or baking.
Gad cheeses are widely available in supermarkets, but there is also a website for ordering special Shavuot assortments (NIS 165 and NIS 185) delivered in handsome, reusable insulated bags.
Gad dairies. Kosher. Shavuot delivery orders: https://www.gadtohome.co.il
Chocolates: a new collection by Ika, one of Israel’s premier French-trained chocolatiers, and winner of multiple Israeli, European and World Silver and Gold medals since 2013.
This year she has introduced probably her most impressive collections yet: 81 cm. of Giving (NIS 190) and 81 cm. of Indulgence (NIS 350) – elegant boxes measuring no less than 81 centimeters (32 inches, or 2 feet, 8 inches) in length, each containing six compartments. The former assortment comprises six different kinds of chocolate “breaks,” while the latter is mostly chocolate, but also contains two other premium confections.
It is a pleasure to browse the showroom and sample, but there is also a bilingual website for ordering deliveries.
Ika Chocolate. Kosher. 11 Yad Harutzim Street, Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 688-0440. Bilingual website for delivery orders: https://ikachocolate.com
Pizza Shuk
Not content merely with the success of his Italian street food venture, Bocca Bocca (reviewed on these pages just last week), culinary entrepreneur Enzo Forari recently launched Pizza Shuk, a pizzeria in Carmel Market that doubles as a pasticceria, a pastry shop specializing in authentic Roman pastries. This fills a void left when a previous pasticceria, Delizie, regrettably closed.
The delivery/takeaway menu is in Hebrew only, but so lavishly illustrated that the language hardly matters. The navigation bar on the right allows you to filter your choices by menu sections: pizzas, appetizers (only arancini), miscellaneous (only two spaghetti dishes, and limoncello) and desserts. However, since the menu is not large (and still growing), it is easiest simply to choose from the “Everything” page.
What is special about the pizzas here is the choice between two different kinds: Roman (square, with a thick crust) or Neapolitan (round with a thin crust). Each kind comes in three sizes: small (NIS 44), medium (NIS 79) and large (NIS 99). The six varieties of Roman pizza, with each featuring its own separate topping (viz., olives or eggplant), are pictured separately (except the pepperoni, which is still unlisted). In addition, there are rotating daily specialty items (unlisted), such as calzone, lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, and more.
Recommended dishes include: Arancini, fried rice balls with a delicious filling (NIS 8); Roman pizza with pepperoni (still unpictured), featuring imported Italian sausage that’s the best I have tasted in Israel (NIS 49/89/114); the Napoli pizza (not necessarily with Neapolitan crust) – savory tomato sauce and anchovies, without cheese; calzone, stuffed with ricotta cheese and pistachio; and the Sweet Mix Box (NIS 90), packed full of nine assorted pastries, the highlights of which are the crostatine (fruit tarts), limoncello balls, and the outstanding sfogliatelle – flaky pastry stuffed with ricotta and citrus.
The mobile phone number listed for the pizzeria/bakery is owner Enzo’s personal phone. He will be happy to get your call and answer any questions, explain exactly what is available that day and hear any special requests.
Pizza Shuk. Not kosher. 2 Yihye Kapah Street, Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 517-2273; (052) 391-3233. Delivery menus: https://www.pizzashuk.com/online-ordering or https://www.pizzashuk.com/shop
The writer was a guest of the restaurants/establishments.