Wednesday, August 31, 2011

  • Wednesday, August 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
The following is an advertorial, written by EoZ, for Z Specialty Food.

If you are looking for a great Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot gift, you have just found it.
I am not exactly a "foodie." Don't get me wrong - I love food, but I am no aficionado. My taste buds are stuck somewhere in the fifth grade and I still get enthusiastic about eating Cocoa Puffs for breakfast.
So when Ishai Zeldner asked me to write a post about his food products I admit that I was a little nervous. I want to be honest in what I post, and I was worried that maybe some of his products would not be my style.  
Zeldner's company, Z Specialty Food, is a family-owned gourmet foods business based in California. His products are under the brand name of Moon Shine Trading Company and Cowboy Caviar. Ishai learned how to raise honey bees under the tutelage of one of Israel’s top beekeepers at a kibbutz in 1969.  Zeldner started harvesting and marketing his own honey over 30 years ago, and then added more varieties of honey to his collection. Later his company diversified, bought other small food companies and expanded, and now his whole family is involved. He is proud that his foods are all natural and that his company is environmentally friendly.
When I received a selection of products to review I gathered Mrs. Elder and Daughter of Ziyon to help me out. And the first thing we did was set up a taste test between three of his honeys and two generic honeys.
There is definitely a difference between the honeys that even I could appreciate. The gourmet honeys we tried tend to be a little lighter in color and smoother in taste than the generic brands. The California Orange Blossom Honey had a little citrus-y “kick” that I liked; the womenfolk preferred the High Plains Sweet Clover Honey and the somewhat sweeter California Yellow Star Thistle Honey; Mrs. Elder described the Yellow Star Thistle Honey as having a “perfect texture and taste.” Indeed, that was the honey that started the company.
This is only three of Z-Specialty’s honeys; they sell some 15 different varieties from various regions in the US. Z Specialty Foods is proud that they support American farmers with all of their products.

They also sell “Honey in the Straw” – thin plastic tubes of honey that you can take with you and enjoy any time. (Eating it straight from the tube feels slightly illicit.) You can put it into tea when you are traveling. It is quite good, and they even sell Rosh Hashanah cards that include honey straws!
Next we tried the California Honey Apricot spread. This is simply a mixture of apricot preserves and honey, which is a really great idea, when you think about it. I ate it for breakfast on toast and I also tried it as a substitute for syrup on waffles. It tastes as you would expect – a sweet and tart fruit spread, with the apricot flavor accentuated.  It is very tasty and a nice alternative to jelly.
 A more unusual food that we tried is called Cowboy Caviar, a savory spread, made with fresh vegetables. The one we tried is called Red Bell Pepper Tuscan Style and it is almost like a mild salsa. The company recommends it with eggs. This spread was a hit with all three of us.
The last product I sampled is the one I wanted to try the most:  Chocolate Almond Crunch, a spreadable chocolate nut cream. It is even better than I hoped it would be! You can dip cherries into it, or spread it on cookies, or pour it on ice cream, or eat it straight out of the jar (which I admit I am guilty of.) It’s great on graham crackers too. This stuff is simply awesome. (We are all sneaking tastes every time we open the refrigerator. It did not last long.)
As I said, the honeys especially would make wonderful gifts for your hosts if you are invited out for the holidays.  
If you are more ambitious, you might want to throw a Rosh Hashana honey-tasting party with all 15 varieties – along with a good supply of apples! If you want to have a sweet year, you can’t do better than to start off like that!
All food products are certified kosher by the Igud HaKashrus of Los Angeles (Heart K). (The "royal jelly" and propolis are not certified.) The chocolate and vanilla nut spreads are dairy.

You can save 15% on your order by using the discount code ELDER at checkout.

Shana tova!



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