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Mar 27, 2013

My experience with soft matza and haroset ice cream

I tried two new things this Pesach, so far:

  1. I bought Yemenite soft matza to use for the korech sandwich at the seder
  2. I bought the seasonal flavor of Ben and Jerry's Haroset ice cream
I had high expectations for the soft matza, and low ones for the ice cream. Over the yars I have heard the soft matza raved about, people talking about how much more "authentic" it is, how it is so much easier to eat than our ashkenazi hard matza, how it is much tastier. And I do not like Haroset at all. I dip my maror and korech into haroset, but I make sure most of the haroset falls off when I lift the maror out. I don't like the texture, the look, and the taste is too sweet for me, so I was skeptical, but willing to try, how that would work out when converted to an ice cream.

The soft matza was disappointing at best. The one thing that was good about it was the way it folds - used for korech as a sandwich with the maror nestled inside was great and felt the way it should. Everything else was lousy. I followed the instructions, both the ones written on the box and the ones relayed to me verbally, to a "t". I took it out of the freezer at the right time, I heated it up a bit on the blech for a short amount of time prior to eating it, and I bought a good brand that came highly recommended.

The soft matza was tasteless and difficult to eat. It was thick, not like the laffa, and after the first few bites, it became very difficult to eat. It was hard to chew. And after waiting a bit, I could not use the remainder of the matza. It got stale very quickly. During the meal I was going to eat some more, but by then it was getting hard already.

This is one thing I won't be doing again next year. I am pretty sure all the people who rave about it are people with inferiority complexes about being ashkenazi and think everything sephardi is more authentic and more jewish, because I no longer have any doubt that ashkenazi matza is much better.

Regarding the ice cream, as mentioned, I dislike haroset. I thought the haroset ice cream was great, though the resemblance it had to haroset was perhaps as a distant cousin. The ice cream was basically vanilla ice cream with walnuts inside and a tinge of cinnamon. The ice cream was great, but it was nothing like haroset. Which I guess, for me, was a good thing.

Oh, and one more thing. After davening on the first night of Pesach, there was a locust greeting us on the way out of the shul... It drew a lot of attention, but nobody ran to grab it to take home for the holiday meal...

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  1. As someone who has switched to Soft Matzah for all my halachic requirements I need to explain a few things to you.

    1. Don't put it on the blech for a few minutes. Put it in the oven for a half hour. Heat makes the bread soft, cool air makes it hard. You can reheat it as often as you like.

    2. Soft matzah is bread, cracker matzah is a cracker. Sure, you "can" treat crackers like and pretend it's a bread, but you are just pretending. Would you ever really make hamotzi on a pile of crackers no matter how many you planned to eat?

    3. Soft matzah is much easier on the stomach, though it's harder on the mouth. Yes it's more chewy, and yes it "goes stale" quickly (though you can always reheat it and it will be soft again), but your stomach will thank you for it later.

    4. The reason soft matzah goes in the freezer is because it's actual matzah, and thus like the Talmud tells us, it can get moldy quickly. So make sure you keep it frozen when you aren't using it, and keep it warm when you are.

  2. Do your "halachic requirements" recognize the concept of pas habah b'kisnin?

    Yes, crackers can be hamotzi.

  3. Sorry, but there are no more Ashkenazi Jews. The Nazis took care of that. If you live in Israel, you're Mizrachi. I don't eat Matzah, but I have eaten the soft matzot, and yes they're hideous. Maybe that's a more authentic Pesach experience?

  4. "Yes, crackers can be hamotzi."

    Ofcourse they can. But only when you are forcing it.

  5. I think I identified my mistake. from what I am told, the kzayis on the soft matza is just a very small piece, unlike what I am used to eating with the ashkenazi matza. it is possible that because I ate too much, it got too heavy and unbearable...

  6. I had a similar experience with soft matzah a few years ago. I won't be using it again (unless after Mashiach comes, he tells us that it is required).

  7. For the past few years, I've been selling shmura matzah- 3s, 1kgs, and soft. This year, I decided to not deal with the soft because of bad reviews and the logistical hassle of keeping it frozen. It's also quality control that I could not possibly guarantee and perhaps that's where you fell as well. Who knows how many times it was thawed and refrozen until it got into your hand? We know that that 'process' makes even the best pitas suck.

    As for Haroset, I think you need to try more. The past few years, I've been relegated to buying some overpriced haroset 'jam' in the supermarket, but I've had a few good experiences with homemade ones.
    Moadim l'simcha.

  8. There is a world of difference between soft matza sold fresh (or made by yourself), and soft matza mass-produced and sold frozen in supermarket. I also had the frozen soft matza for a few years and was about to give up on eating soft matza, before I consulted some sefaradi friends and they advised me to go with the fresh soft matza. I did last year and it was much more fresh and tasty! See here: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/matzah-a-softer-approach/


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