Dec 1, 2010

Eight days of Sufganiyot

My menorah at home
  By Laura Goldstein  

     I didn’t quite know what to expect from Chanukah in Tel Aviv, Israel. Back in the US for me is part of the holiday season, always celebrated amidst chilly weather, Christmas carols, and icicle lights on all of the houses in the neighborhood. Tonight is the first night of the holiday and the holiday cheer that I'm used to is nowhere to be found. The high today in Tel Aviv is 80° F, it has been so warm lately that some of my friends have been going to the beach. As for Christmas carols, understandably there are none being played in this Jewish city, but I was surprised to hear a Chanukah song being played in the supermarket. And you can just forget about the icicle lighting in steamy Tel Aviv.
     To celebrate Chanukah at home, we light the candles every night and  my mom makes her delicious latkes and homemade apple sauce. For our eight days of gifts my parents,always practical, usually give my brother and I sweaters, school supplies and socks. Here in Tel Aviv,  I am going to try to light every night and I am planning on making my version of my mom's latkes for my friends.

Dulce de Leche filled sufganiyot
     Lighting and latkes aside, from what I gather as I peek into the bakeries and restaurants in Tel Aviv, Chanukah here is all about the sufganiyot. The traditional sufganiya is a deep fried starchy donut filled with jelly and covered in powdered sugar.  The frying is reminder of the miracle of the oil lasting eight days in the Chanukah story.   

    In addition to the classic jelly filled donut, bakeries have gotten creative with different fillings and toppings. One of the most popular sufganiya spots, Roladin, is offering countless mouthwatering flavors such as double chocolate, halva, and pasticcio. After passing the Roladin store full of people getting their Chanukah sufganiyot I had to go in and get a taste of what all of the hubbub was about. 

Chanukah display at Roladin
    I got two of the special edition flavors, marshmallow vanilla and whiskey caramel. The whisky caramel sufganiya is topped with chocolate and filled with a sweet caramel filling with the slight kick from the whisky, but what I mostly tasted was the heavy dough. The vanilla marshmellow sufganiya is frosted with vanilla and has two strawberry flavored marshmallows on top, there is a curious pink filling that is sweet and fruity. After eating these two innocent looking little donuts I was ready to roll home.  Honestly I prefer my mom's savory latkes to the heavy, guilt inducing sufganiyot that are all over the restaurants in Tel Aviv. I am glad that I tasted them as part of the Tel Avivian experience but I believe I have filled my quota of sufganiyot for this Chanukah. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Happy Chanukah! 
!חג שמח

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