Head-spinning treats in store for Hanukkah this year

The holy holiday of Hanukkah is being celebrated by the Jewish community around the globe this week. Also known as the Festival of Lights, the holiday features its own special treats, some with a new smashing flavor.

For generations Jews have observed the festival of Hanukkah by downing doughnuts. But now a chef-come-bartender has cooked up a novel idea – to soak the sweet pastries in vodka.

“I woke up in the middle of the night and I screamed ‘Eureka! I’ve got it! I have a new flavor for Hannukah – vodka melon,” says head chief of the Roladin Bakery in Tel Aviv, Ido Rotman. “The process is very simple: we take white chocolate and mix it with the vodka and the heavy cream and with the melon – mix it all together and then we have the ganache of the vodka melon and white chocolate."

The vodka-dunked doughnuts are being chewed – or rather swallowed – with glee. But only those showing ID can buy them. Each doughnut has the same alcohol content as a bottle of beer, which means that those with the munchies will probably be drunk long before their stomachs are full.

“We are going to have a doughnut vodka party, that’s it, but we will have the vodka separate,” one of the consumers in the bakery shared his planes for the holiday.

By the time the Jewish festival of Hanukkah is over, Israeli Jews will have consumed some 20 million doughnuts, according to the latest poll. The country’s single largest customer, believe it or not, is the Israeli army, whose spokesperson says the delicious delicatessen is good for morale.

But on a more sober note, and not to be outdone, religious Jews in the West Bank are cooking up a storm all of their own: fruitcakes that their Christian friends can enjoy over Christmas.

“The idea for the fruitcake for the Holy land came about from Christians who love Israel, who care about Israel, and came to us and said, ‘You know what? What if you could come up with a fruitcake which is something that everyone is eating, especially around this time for Christmas, and it’s coming from the land of Israel – that would be perfect’,” says Shmuel Bowman, founder of Genesis Foods.

Another, perhaps unlikely, source of Christmas cake is a bakery 4 kilometers away from the Israeli-Lebanese border, often in the line of fire of Hezbollah rockets.

“We took part in a competition in one of the American states from the south, together with traditional American producers that had been producing Christmas cakes for the last 100 years, and we took first place, and from then on we were contacted and asked to produce this product, Holy Land Fruitcake,” says Michael Aaronson, managing director of the Lachmi Bakery.

The ingredients are local, but the recipe is secret, with the cakes being sold mostly in the United States and Europe. So as the Holiday Season gets into full gear, from the Holy Land, a vodka-infused Chag Sameach – and Merry Christmas!