Let's Eat

A new look for Pesach menu classics

Steve K. Walz takes a peek at hotel menus for Pesach 2016


While Israeli hotels are always looking for new ways to pamper their Passover visitors, they have discovered that guests actually prefer traditional festival cuisine, albeit with a modern interpretation.

"One reason why Anglos come to Israel is not to be impressed by the new wave of culinary offerings but rather with the old ones; the Pesach dishes their grandmothers used to make, with a modern approach," says Haim Spiegel, director of the food and beverage division for the Dan Hotel chain. "They are just as avid about eating matzah brei, gefilte fish, beef and duck as their parents and grandparents."

The updating of Passover food has been subtle, says Spiegel - it's about the quality of the ingredients and the way they are presented to guests, who expect enticing colours and flair.

"Today, you are able to serve chopped liver that looks more like a fancy pâté; gefilte fish with chrain (spicy horseradish) that reflects a more Mediterranean or Sephardi flavour and delicious beef with less fat," he says.

"The way we present many of these traditional Pesach foods has changed over the past few years. We now serve smaller portions of each of these traditional items, in more of a tapas style."

Typical Dan Accadia Seder dinner menu


Mediterranean sea bass fillet Swiss chard, beetroot and olive oil

Beef consomméSwiss chard, beetroot and olive oil

Beef consommé Matzah balls

Beef tenderloin Celeriac and glazed onions Spring vegetables

Salad greens with “Champagne” vinaigrette

Passion fruit cream Tropical fruits, soft meringue

Petits fours


Wines Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay ‘King David’ 2013, Binyamina Winery Cabernet Sauvignon ‘King David’ 2011, Binyamina Winery

Charlie Fadida, award-winning executive chef at the Sheraton Tel Aviv, says: "Every dish I prepare, even if it is traditional, I try to give it a new twist. For instance, for 2016, I am taking gefilte fish and changing it to 'trio fish'. To the gefilte I will add Israeli trout from the Dan River and home-smoked salmon, which I prepare freshly just before Erev Pesach.

"With the chopped chicken liver, I will be adding jelly prepared from white wine and caramelised brown sugar and seasonal fruit. The festive main dish will be slow-cooked roasted veal shoulder, served with roasted vegetables and seared potato rosette."

At the nearby David Intercontinental, executive chef Alfred Jevnisek will feature a Health and Harmony theme. "The holidays are a time to celebrate. However, this doesn't have to mean over-indulgence - you can enjoy the festivities while choosing to stay healthy. Our Health and Harmony options, which will incorporate superfoods (nutritious and featuring fewer calories) will help our guests discover the true bounty of a supercharged life. In addition, we will have a large variety of kosher-for-Passover breads during breakfast, including pitta, bagels and focaccia."

Jerusalem's Inbal Hotel is internationally renowned not just for its plush accommodation but also for the cuisine, under chef Nir Elkayam, who last year starred in a pre-Pesach Livestream broadcast from the hotel's kitchen.

Alex Herman, vice-president of sales and marketing, says: "Traditional food is what guests crave but they want it with a gourmet twist. So to improve our menus for the holiday, we hired a Jewish food expert, who will not only advise on what to serve but also how to serve the meals with style and flair." Among dishes introduced by Chef Elkayam last year were Passover adaptations of salt beef sandwiches, spicy Moroccan soup and sweet chocolate soup.

One thing is for sure. No one will return back to the UK after the holidays feeling famished.

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