Happy Passover! To those of you who celebrate, you know that this Jewish holiday is filled with all kinds of special traditions, including the tradition of holding seders, a ritual meal, on the first two nights of the holiday. During the seders, we’re supposed to drink four glasses of wine! When I was growing up, those four glasses of wine were sweet, syrupy Manischewitz concord grape wine. In the last 20 or so years, Passover wine has gotten much better, making the ritual of drinking four glasses truly enjoyable. This week, we’ll talk about enjoying Passover wine.
The Dietary Laws of Passover
But before getting into Passover wine, a quick lesson on the Passover dietary rituals. On Passover, Jews eat a leaven-free diet. This is to commemorate the fact that when the Jews escaped Egypt after being enslaved for 400 years, they didn’t have time to let their bread rise before going into the desert. The leavened products that we don’t eat during Passover are called chametz. The unleavened bread that we eat is called matzo. It takes the place of chametz during Passover.
What Wines Can You Drink on Passover?
As I mentioned, there are now many great wines available for Passover. But what does it mean when I say that a wine is “available for Passover?” Why can’t any wine be drunk during Passover?
For a wine to be considered kosher (acceptable) for Passover, it needs to be certified that it hasn’t had any contact with chametz.
Molly Stone’s has a great selection of kosher for Passover wine (along with a great selection of Passover foods), including a wide assortment of wines from California, Israel and France. Do these wines taste any different from non-kosher for Passover wines? No. But are they fun to try? Yes.
Enjoying Passover Wine
What is so fun about Passover wine, besides the fact that it’s slightly different from other wines? I have to say that enjoying Passover wine goes hand in hand with enjoying Passover. Passover is an incredibly fun holiday where you spend a lot of time with family and friends eating all kinds of foods that you only eat at this time of year. Two of my favorite dishes are matzo lasagna and charoset, a yummy mix of apples, raisins, nuts, cinnamon and wine that commemorates the mortar used by the enslaved Jews to make bricks.
Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)!
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