Thursday, December 14, 2017
Bars & Spirits

6 kosher wines for Passover

“Why is this night different from all other nights?"

The ancient phrase is uttered on the first night of Passover, which this year falls on Friday. It leads to discussions of Jewish tradition, the ritual seder meal and, often, to kosher wines.

Kosher wines are a little complicated, but they're becoming more popular in America, even among non-Jewish wine fans.

Put simply, kosher wines (kosher means "correct" or "proper") are made much like other wines, with a few extra steps including that the process must be carried out by Sabbath-observant Jews, using only kosher ingredients.

To go beyond that to "kosher for Passover," a wine also must be fermented with yeast from fruit such as grapes, plums and such and not from grains like wheat or oats.

Finally, kosher wines may be made mevushal, which in Hebrew means "cooked," rendering them proper to be served by non-Jewish workers as in a restaurant or hotel.

In the past, mevushal wines were boiled, greatly damaging their flavors. Today they are heated only to 185 degrees, where the first tiny bubbles start to form, then quickly cooled while their flavors are intact.

In all of these cases, other requirements also apply.

One big change: For decades, most American kosher wines were sweet, in part because the Jewish population centered on the East Coast, and the kosher wines came from upstate New York. The cold weather there meant many wines were from the concord grape, a high-acid variety that turned out very tart if made dry.

Many people still prefer the sweet wines. But today, kosher wines also come dry as well, in all varieties, from dozens of countries. You can find dry kosher Bordeaux, Burgundy, chardonnay, pinot grigio, merlot and many others.

Oh, and there's an advantage to kosher wines, even to nonkosher consumers. In many nonkosher wineries, workers clarify the wines by "fining," which means dropping egg whites, gelatin or other substances through them to carry any tiny pieces of grape skins, leaves and such to the bottom. It means that while the wines might be vegetarian, they no longer are vegan.

Kosher winemakers are not permitted to fine with animal products, instead often using a finely ground sterile clay called bentonite.

It means kosher wines are vegan.

Comments
Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Take a second and try to think of a few of the world’s biggest drinking cultures. Ireland is a freebie, but then you’ll probably move onto Germany, Russia and possibly even South Korea (yep, South Korea goes hard).How about Spain? No, I’m not just ta...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Local craft beer of the week: Big Storm’s Lightning Twenty Five Craft Lager

Local craft beer of the week: Big Storm’s Lightning Twenty Five Craft Lager

The Tampa Bay Lightning is off to its best start in franchise history, racking up NHL highs in wins and points in their 25th anniversary season.That calls for a toast.And Odessa’s Big Storm Brewing has just the beer. Turns out, the brewery picked a g...
Published: 12/14/17
Why is eggnog a holiday tradition? Exploring fresh renditions of the classic drink

Why is eggnog a holiday tradition? Exploring fresh renditions of the classic drink

Eggnog dates back to medieval times when the British enjoyed a drink called "posset" that was made with hot milk, ale and spices. Later it became a drink for the wealthy who added expensive brandy or sherry. It was the alcohol that kept the milk from...
Published: 12/14/17
Wine of the week: Georges DuBoeuf 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau

Wine of the week: Georges DuBoeuf 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau

It would hardly be the holidays without Beaujolais nouveau.This French wine made with Gamay grapes appears on American shelves in mid November. It’s a vin de primeur, a wine made from the most recent harvest and fermented only a few weeks — barely gr...
Published: 12/14/17
Five trendy gift ideas for the cook in your life

Five trendy gift ideas for the cook in your life

Giving the gift of cooking isn’t really something you can mess up. Whether gifting a gadget or paying for a class, you can encourage a budding culinary enthusiast or give a seasoned veteran a new toy to play with. Here are five ideas for holiday gi...
Published: 12/13/17
Four ideas for edible gifts you can find throughout Tampa Bay

Four ideas for edible gifts you can find throughout Tampa Bay

Carlynn Crosby, Times correspondent Florida Pure Sea Salt Harvested from Tampa Bay’s waters, these handcrafted salts come in flavors like maple bacon, Sriracha, lemongrass, habanero or black truffle. They retail for $15 a jar online, at flor...
Published: 12/13/17
Six kitchen gadgets that are completely useless

Six kitchen gadgets that are completely useless

If you’re buying me a gift this year, don’t get me an Instant Pot. I’m serious. I don’t subscribe to the "you can never be too thin or too rich" school of thought, but the "you can never have too much kitchen cabinet space" is dead right in my book. ...
Published: 12/13/17
From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Sometimes, you just want a hot, crispy potato.I didn’t get home from work the other night craving a full dinner; I arrived at my house with cartoon visions of potatoes in my head, and knew I had to make it happen.I wasn’t looking for a fast food fren...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Downtown St. Pete’s 24-hour diner 2nd & Second is open

Downtown St. Pete’s 24-hour diner 2nd & Second is open

Downtown St. Petersburg’s only 24/7 restaurant has opened and doesn’t plan to close, ever. The 2nd & Second diner at the corner of Second Street and Second Avenue N will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week offering a spot f...
Published: 12/12/17
Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Noel Cruz seemed remarkably chill. As did his partner Kerem Koca. All around them in the Station House building in St. Petersburg, workers pounded the last nails, bartenders unpacked boxes of glassware and jewel-toned bottles of Amari, and the kitche...
Published: 12/12/17