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Monday, March 29, 2010

Why Is There No Local Matzoh?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Shmurah matzoh.
  • Shmurah matzoh.
As SF Weekly's Joe Eskenazi wrote a couple years ago, matzoh drama has become endemic in the Bay Area. Price hikes, gluts, shortages, frantic shopping marathons. Why is this night not like any other night? Because Mommy spent six hours looking for bread, dearie.

Not to add to the frustration, but why doesn't the Bay Area, a locavore's paradise, have any local matzoh producers? A few days ago, SFoodie called the Jewish Community Information & Referral Services to ask if they'd heard of anyone. JCIRS's Sophia Cohn called all over on our behalf ― stores, rabbinical councils, bakeries ― and everyone she talked to imports their matzoh from Israel or New Jersey. Think of the food miles!

We also called Oakland's Grand Bakery, the only strictly kosher

bakery in the Bay Area, to ask the same question. Catching owner Bob Jaffe on

his way out the door ― understandably, Passover means he can take a

much-needed vacation ― he confirmed Cohn's research. No local matzoh

to be found anywhere.

Why doesn't he jump into the business? we asked him. Never considered it, he replied: "I'd need a different oven setup. I 

think it takes up a big capital expese, with only a one-week demand life. The thing

that [the Bay Area] needs more is a good pita bread bakery to supply the rise of the falafel shops."

We're with Jaffe on the pita thing. Besides, though we love the look of

artisanally produced shmurah matzoh, which you can ask Chabad to send you, sister paper

Village Voice just conducted a matzoh taste test and found that shmurah matzoh was nowhere near as good as Streit's.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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