New York…by Tova Ross, Kosher Today Features Editor…Gift-giving has become increasingly popular on the eve of Rosh Hashanah and the lead item is honey, not only those ubiquitous cute honey bear bottles, but more sophisticated and gourmet options. Good kosher wines are also a common staple in the ever-expanding holiday gift baskets. HoneyRun Winery based in Chico CA, produces a sophisticated non-sulfited wine from fruit and honey, and is kosher-certified by the OU. Honeywine flavors include Blackberry, Cranberry, Elderberry, Cherry, and Dry Mead. Savannah Bee Company Grill Honey is a wonderful present for any chef, from the amateur or professional. Formulated specifically to bring a distinctive honey flavor to be a perfect pairing to grilled foods, this honey can serve as a marinade, basting or brush-on condiment to grilled veggies, meat, and fish to add a crisp caramelizing factor and honey flavor to barbecue favorites. The product, hand-harvested at the peak of honey season, is KSA kosher certified. Sandt’s pure buckwheat honey, Grade A natural and unfiltered, is another option. More full-bodied and dark than typical mass-produced grocery store honeys, buckwheat honey is richer in iron and several antioxidant compounds than its lighter and mass-produced counterparts. Buckwheat is the strongest and darkest of all honey varieties. WeeBee Honey, produced on a small family farm split between New York and Florida, is an unadulterated and 100 percent natural raw version of honey that results in a nutritionally beneficial product, rather than a mere sweetener. WeeBee uses bees located strictly in wild locations in both states, thus producing a wildflower honey coming from wild plants, trees and grasses. Since it is unfiltered and unstrained, the honey retains all the beneficial properties that are often missing from conventional honeys, such as pollen, propolis, and honeycomb. The crop is tested every year for pesticides with a USDA lab, ensuring a pesticide-free product. Company spokeswoman Anna Almeter said, “Being a small family farm affords us the opportunity to have quality and control over our colonies and our honey. We raise our bees organically, never using chemicals or pesticides on or near our bees. The taste and aroma is a sweet wonderful mix of wildflowers with a smooth texture.” WeeBee Honey is certified kosher by the OU. Other honey-related gifts for the yomim tovim include a large selection from innovative candy purveyors Oh, Nuts, and include a honey-filled candlestick, violin or guitar-shaped honey bottles for music lovers, Jelly Belly honey beans in an adorable honeycomb-shaped jar, and baked goods like teiglach (small pastries boiled in a honey syrup) and honey cake.
For a wider variety of delicious baked goods, Challah Connection has challahs, apple and honey cakes, and rugelach. Other Rosh Hashanah-themed treats from the company include caramel-filled chocolate “apples,” organic honey-flavored hard candies, teabags with honey stirring ticks, and apple-pie flavored protein bars. Kosher Gift Baskets offer gourmet shofar-shaped cookies dipped in dark chocolate and glazed with rock candy crystals, a sterling silver lulav set, and a cornucopia centerpiece filled with dried fruit.
Packaged Facts estimates the overall market for gift-giving in the U.S. increased 7% from $113 billion in 2007 to $121 billion in 2009. Likewise, the total market for food gift-giving in the U.S. grew from $16 billion in 2007 to $18 billion in 2009, representing a 9% increase. Packaged Facts projects that healthy growth across all food gifting channels will propel the market past $21 billion by 2014. Kosher industry sources say that gift-giving n the kosher market ahs increased by nearly 15% in the past three years.