Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Very Pomegranate Passover

A Seasonal Visit to a Kosher Supermarket in Brooklyn

I learned about Pomegranate, a kosher supermarket in Brooklyn, thanks to a tip on a message board at the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group (NYCCDMG). When I read about the many gluten-free Passover (a.k.a. Pesach) foods available in its aisles, I just had to check it out for myself.

I took the Q train to Avenue M and then proceeded northwest to Pomegranate, which is at 1507 Coney Island Avenue just north of Avenue L. Sure enough, I found many gluten-free items as I prowled the Pesach aisles established at this time of year.

If you're accustomed to shopping in the same places and seeing the same products over and over again, there's something surreal about going into a supermarket that's well stocked with gluten-free Passover products. It's almost like being in a Bizarro universe where the shelves of gluten-free cereals look strangely familiar...yet different.

I recognized many products and brands from my visits to the Shoprite at Morton Village in Plainview on Long Island: Klein's Hoo-Lachmu Passover Flats, Kedem's Passover Style Gefilte Fish, Frankel's blintzes and knishes, Shabtai Gourmet baked goods (including Chocolaty Coated Coconut Macaroons), and Oberlander's baked goods (including cupcakes), just to reel off a bunch of examples.

I happened upon three types of faux matzoh ball mixes—not just Lieber's Knaidel Mix and Gefen's Kneidel Mix but also the boldly named Paskesz Matzo Ball Mix (above). I call it "boldly named" because it doesn't contain matzo, which traditionally contains gluten—although Pomegranate does carry at least one brand of newfangled (and expensive) gluten-free oat matzo. (See Gluten-Free Bay about shopping for oat matzo; see I Am Gluten Free for some cooking ideas.

But there were also some foods that were new to me, including chow mein noodles from Paskesz (right) and many types of break crumbs and coatings. Paskaez also makes Ultra Crispy Potato Thins (that, oddly enough, remind me of shrimp chips but with potato instead of shrimp—so they might go well with fish such as salmon) as well as junk foods called Nibblers and Diddles (shown on display below).

If that isn't enough chazarai (junk food) for you, there's also gluten-free cotton candy-in-a-bag from Smunchies Inc. of Spring Valley.

For many people a visit to Pomegranate may offer an unusual glimpse of Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish and Chasidic cultures. It is open until at least 9pm most evenings, but don't even think of going on Friday evenings and Saturdays, when it is closed for Sabbath. (Call 718-951-7112 to confirm that the supermarket will be open when you want to go there.)

Passover 2009 starts on the evening of Wednesday, April 8, so go before then to see the most goods for sale. Discounts might or might not be available after the holiday.

Shelf photos by David Marc Fischer


ha said...

Hello David.
I enjoyed your postings for quiet some time, did you hear about "FalafaPita"?
new product, falafel mix fresh frozen, gluten free, i know they sell to restaurants for some time now, but not sure if they are public or not

PDXgal said...

On the west coast there is a fabulous Matzo Ball mix, Eena Kadeena's Mock-Zah Ball Mix. Soooo yummy.

BethProverbs31 said...

Hi David, can you post links for where to buy some of the items you mentioned directly from the manufacturers? I live near Pittsburgh, PA and am in need of kosher GF items and will need some for Pesach this next year as well. TYVM!

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