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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Fall is officially here!

Once I graduated from university (and swore off any further classroom-based foolishness), I no longer had the academic school year to help me mark the start of each new season. Of course, once any one of the seasons is solidly underway I can usually identify them by their hallmarks:

Winter = Cold / Snow
Spring = Warmer / Stuff growing
Summer = Hot / Sweating like Patrick Ewing at the foul line
Fall = Cooler / My Red Sox taking their annual swan dive

But the very start of each season… that subtle segue… seems to always slip by unnoticed.

Until now, that is.

I now have the perfect way to tell that Fall has officially arrived:

© A gift from Israel

Yes folks, I just came from the grocery store and am happy to report my first Krembo sighting of the season!

What’s was that? That sound was the entirety of my non-Israeli readership clicking away en masse. Well, for the benefit of the one or two who stuck around, let me explain about Krembo.

Krembo is an Israeli confection that shows up in its colorful foil wrapping to mark the official beginning of Fall. It consists of a thin round sweet biscuit, topped by about two inches of vanilla (or one of a few other flavored) cream/ egg foam, all covered by a thin layer of chocolate.

There is nothing exactly like it in the U.S., but to give you a sense of the texture, it is something like a tall Ding Dong with extra cream and no cake filling… or perhaps something like a Scooter Pie (you southerners will remember it as a Moon Pie) without the top biscuit (I know I just dated myself). Neither of these is particularly accurate… but it give you a nudge in the right direction.

One could ask the obvious question (as I once did):

‘If they’re so good, why aren’t they available year round?'

The answer is very simple, and really very nice.

This all harks back to the socialist leanings of Israel’s founding generation. It seems that Krembo was developed (I won’t say invented because it is a shameless rip-off of similar treats found in Northern Europe and parts of Scandinavia) as a way to keep the idle ice cream factory workers busy during the cold months when ice cream consumption takes a nose dive.

You see, when you or I walk down the frozen food aisle and look at our ice cream choices, we look at brands… we look at packaging… we look at prices… but we never think about the real live people who work in the ice cream factories.

And for pure supply & demand capitalists that’s just as it should be.

When it is hot out, we want to be able to find every flavor of every ice cream available at any hour of the sweltering day or night. During the winter, we still like knowing it’s there, but it takes a significant hormonal imbalance or a pretty bad break-up to get you to put your dry, cracked hands into the freezer case.

To the early Israel socialist mindset, the waxing and waning desires of the customers were important… but no more important than the fiscal needs of the workers in the ice cream factories. And so they developed a confection that could utilize many (if not most) of the winter-idle ice cream factory lines, as well as the idle ice cream factory workers!

This was an incredible win-win situation, the likes of which Israel’s labor establishment has never come close to repeating! No threats of strikes… no finger pointing… no demonstrations. When I spotted that first Krembo this evening, it gave me renewed hope that occasionally, the Israeli system can come up with an elegant, subtle and even tasty solution to a very real labor problem.

And just in case you were wondering, even though it wasn’t on the shopping list that Zahava gave me, I bought six mocha flavored Krembos for Ariella and Gilad.

If anyone wants to chime in with their favorite Krembo story, or their views on the proper way to eat a Krembo… I’m all ears.

Posted by David Bogner on October 6, 2004 | Permalink


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I LOVE krembo! Although they do not taste as good here as they do there, you can get them at the local kosher market. The way to eat a krembo is simple. 1. open foil. 2. separate yummy marshmallow part from yummy cookie part. 3. eat cookie part in 1 bite. 4. slowly eat gooey marshmallow from the bottom up so the chocolate covered top is the last part in your mouth.

Posted by: Faye | Oct 6, 2004 12:43:12 AM

Looks like a tall, skinny mallomar. :o)

Posted by: Tanya | Oct 6, 2004 2:06:16 AM

I have no krembo stories, but it sounds delicious. And a great story of positive consumerism. Despite all that (yummy) sugar.

Posted by: Kay McCulloch | Oct 6, 2004 5:54:13 AM

A Scooter-Pie? Haven't seen one of those in a while. Didn't they stop making them in '59. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Oct 6, 2004 8:50:49 AM

What came first, the krembo or the mallomar? If you guessed the mallomar, you guessed correctly. Krembo was actually based on the mallomar. The jpost had a great story a year ago about the history of the krembo. I have to hunt that down...

In other news mallomars are now available here...kosher of course.

Posted by: harry | Oct 6, 2004 10:36:27 AM

Faye... the one's you get there are about as tasty as the two-day-old pita bread they sell in the 'Mizrachi stores'. Come back to the source!!! :-)

Tanya... As usual you are right on target (read Harry's comment)! There is something infinitely more satsifying about 'dancing with the girl that brung ya', though.

Kay... That's the thing that grabbed my heart and won me over. I love when responsible behavior has a good result for all (even the dentists).

Jack... From a zygote your age it probably seems that way! :-) Actually, I've heard rumors that Scooter/Moon Pies are still available in the southern U.S. Anyone care to confirm that for me (Bayou)?

Harry... I was unaware of which Chicken or egg came first, but try saying the word 'Mallomar' to an Israeli kid and see the complete lack of glee in his/her eyes. 'Your honor, I rest my case.' :-) In all seriousness, if you can track down that article, I'd love to find out more. Most of what I know about Krembo comes from friends and shop owners (far from unimpeachable sources).

As far Mallomars being available in Israel (kosher even), where is your loyalty??? Again I say, "Dance with the girl that brung ya!" Next thing you know you'll be suggesting that I buy regular house-slippers and forego my well worn 'Na'aleh Eichman'.

Posted by: David | Oct 6, 2004 11:13:17 AM


A few years ago when my son was in Yeshiva in EY, he was raving about Krembos. When we came to visit in January, he dragged me to the first makolet and made me try one. Sorry, maybe I'm too old but it didn't work for me at all.

I'll stick to Devil Dogs.

Posted by: MO Chassid | Oct 6, 2004 4:15:33 PM

Moon pies are very much in evidence in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, because the marshmallow has gelatin, this vegetarian cannot have them. It's enough to make a girl pout.

That there Krembo sounds most yummy. I'll have to find a kosher store and give it a try. While I'm there I'll have to pick up some kosher marshmallows because I've been told they don't have gelatin. And because I miss marshmallows.

Posted by: Carol | Oct 6, 2004 4:17:35 PM

MO... It is an emotional reaction for me more than a pure taste experience. Sort of like going to your kids piano recital or a school play. You tear up, not from the greatness of the performance but rather from the 'goodness' of the performance. Krembo is all that for me. Chag Sameach!

Carol... I will send you an e-mail in the next day or two that will have a life-changing link. It is a list of all the kosher dairy eateries in the L.A. area. You can eat everything and anything on the menu (provided you aren't a vegan)! Also, I will get you a reliable list of kosher markings for food products. Anything listed as Parve (sometimes spelled pareve) or Dairy will be assured of not having animal products in them... this is especially important with cheese (which can contain renet).

Posted by: David | Oct 6, 2004 4:30:36 PM

Hm, looks like our German "Mohrenkopf".
It is very important that you eat it together with a small baguette. Slice the baguette, put the Mohrenkopf on it, smash the other part of the baguette on the Mohrenkopf. Lots of fun try to eat the cream before it dropps on the floor.

Posted by: sandra | Oct 6, 2004 7:28:44 PM

There went my post-holiday diet...

Posted by: jennifer | Oct 6, 2004 7:35:21 PM

Fascinating, David.

And see? I didn't click away. :)

Posted by: Lachlan | Oct 7, 2004 6:16:07 AM

Ah yes, that sneaky little rennet. I despise it so. Rennet and gelatin make a vegetarian's life more difficult than it needs to be.

David, thank you for being so sweet. That list sounds positively wonderful. Ooh! New restaurants to try!

Posted by: Carol | Oct 7, 2004 8:18:46 AM

Sandra... Welcome and thanks for bringing a new word to my limited knowledge of things German. It sounds like a lot of fun to eat.

Jennifer... Just one can't hurt, can it?

Lachlan... You are indeed a good friend if you slogged through this entry with no worldly idea what a Krembo is. I'd offer to mail you a few, but I doubt they'd survive the trip. :-( Oh well.

Carol... Don't thank me... I'm a giver. :-)

Posted by: David | Oct 8, 2004 1:15:35 AM

Lets not forget that Krembo are mentioned in a Poogy song....remember my Hebrew lesson courtesy of them on our Maine trips

Posted by: Shmiel | Oct 10, 2004 1:40:45 AM

David - Ilove krembos - any way to eat them is great - like the old reese's commercial "there is no wrong way to eat a" krembo

I also love the red sox - huge fan - luck Efrex is a Mets and not a Yanks fan :)

I think they are great and hey there is always next year!

Just for the record on a totally different note I also love Billy Joel (music) and practically anything from the '80s and a lot of other ppl too like Elton John and Meatloaf and the Indigo Girls and Tori Amos (but that would not be as "left field" to post about (I know you know what I mean)

Posted by: Mrs. Efrex | Oct 10, 2004 3:53:03 AM

You're right, just one won't hurt. But when Krembo also come in boxes of 30, well, who can resist?

According to this article (Hebrew only)
50 million Krembo are sold each winter.


Posted by: jennifer | Oct 10, 2004 11:23:46 AM

Shmiel... I actually had Poogy on the old iPod while eating the first Krembo of the season!

Mrs. Efrex... I see no need to wait until next year! My beloved Red Sox are very much in it THIS YEAR!!! [pooo pooo pooo]. As far as the '80s go, I hope you and your hubby don't spend your Saturday nights dialing 867-5309 and asking for 'Jenny'. :-)

Jennifer... reading your description of the 30 Krembo box, I feel like I need to ask: What % of that 50 million are you personally responsible for? ;-)

Posted by: David | Oct 10, 2004 1:22:28 PM

The Red Sox- OOh, some of you are true masochists. They are about a week away from complete destruction again.

I am rooting for another chance to watch my Dodgers beat the Yankees in the series. Haven't had that pleasure since 1981.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 10, 2004 11:41:59 PM

Jack... I'm not normally a gambling man, but if you have a burning need to throw your money away, I'd be happy to take the other side of a friendly wager. :-)

Posted by: David | Oct 11, 2004 4:04:33 PM

RE: "The Sox": I know they are in it this year, but the last time (last year) when I got my hopes up in like the extra extra innings of it all - I needed to wait until this year - thus, I say there is always another year b/c it is the motto of The Sox fans - but poo poo poo maybe THIS YEAR too?!

no looking for Jenny at 867-5309, but you might find me at a Tommy tutone concert if he ever returns to writing music instead of being a dj (see what too much VH-1 "I love the 80's" triva can get you - and we don't own a tv even :)

Posted by: Mrs. Efrex | Oct 12, 2004 3:54:37 AM

What youo call a Krembo, we call (used to call) a 'negerzoen'.

Meaning, innocently enough, a black person's kiss (neger in Dutch does NOT have the negative connotations of it's relatives in English).

I don't know what we call them nowadays - I heard somewhere that because nasty little boys habitually called it a 'negertiet', the company changed the name.

Posted by: The Back of the Hill | Oct 13, 2006 4:08:55 AM

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