After a rigorous blind taste-test and much contemplation about which triangular pastry qualifies as hamantaschen, Haaretz has put together a list of Tel Avivs best (and most surprising) Purim treats.
At Bakery, they already understand that the hamantasch is a controversial product. Therefore, they practice restraint and offer only two types of filling - poppy seed and nut and cinnamon.
It was everything we want a dough to be: crunchy and thin, but not too thin. The precise point of encounter between sweetness, saltiness and butteriness won compliments from the tasters. The filling itself is also generous, and with these hamantaschen you feel that each one of them was folded with devotion by an experienced grandmother.
Bakery, 72 Ibn Gvirol Street, 13 Yad Harutzim Street, 67 Weizmann Street, Tel Aviv
Traditionally, a moment before Purim, Bar Lehem, the northern Tel Aviv bakery, issues only one type of hand-made hamantasch, dedicated to poppy seeds. The twist – the poppy seeds are inside the dough as well as in the filling.
This year, we would like to award the medal for the most beautiful and meticulously prepared hamantaschen to Bar Lehem. While quite a few bakeries dried our throats with their many types of poppy seed filling, at Bar Lehem they served a buttery hamantasch with a very thin, soft and crunchy dough that does great honor to the controversial poppy seed.
Bar Lehem, 7 Kehilat Saloniki, Tel Aviv
This veteran Tel Aviv bakery and pastry shop presented four flavors of hamantaschen this year –chocolate, halva, dates and poppy seeds. From the excellent crunchy dough to the fillings, Zomers hamantaschen are wonderfully balanced, and had an overall light and fun feeling that differs from most tastings of this kind. A taste of orange snuck into the chocolate, taking the whole thing into the direction of cake, and was no less than perfect.
Zomer Bakery, 39 Frischman Street, Tel Aviv
The innovation in this new bakery is the crunchy dough made of almonds, with poppy seeds, nut cream and chocolate Nutella flavors. What did we think? The relatively large hamantasch looked a little frightening, but with the first taste you want to finish the whole thing, mainly thanks to the soft golden dough, which simply melts in your mouth. The chocolate and nut fillings were generous, and as opposed to the golden dough, remained juicy and creamy.
Tochka, 5 Ribal Street, Tel Aviv
The Lehamim bakery adopted a policy this year of sweet and salty hand-made hamantaschen, offering a combination of classics with both a nostalgic flavor and new flavors. The sweet hamanstaschen are made of a crunchy dough that includes fresh ground almonds with a filling of poppy seeds, Belgian chocolate, crme patissiere and pieces of chocolate, a Lubecker marzipan ball, dates and nuts, and a special edition with a caramel filling and crunchy pecans.
What did we think? Some of the crunchiest hamantaschen we came across. The marzipan is nice for lovers of the genre and the most daring were the salty hamantaschen that started an argument as to whether a salty hamantasch is still a hamantasch. Whatever the case, they received a perfect grade.
All the branches of the Lehamim bakery
Piece of Cake
The boutique Piece of Cake pastry shop chain, owned by Moshe Ahuvi, launched a collection of hamantaschen before Purim with 15 different kinds, from the traditional flavors to up-to-date and vegan hamantaschen, and even some that are an interpretation of Jaffan Arab sweets.
When it comes to such a large collection, one can easily come across several carelessly made products, but Piece of Cake surprised us with a very good and meticulously prepared collection. We found several rare jewels. What for example? The Jaffan hamantaschen were a fascinating variation on old-fashioned hamantaschen and contained a sesame tawil with a filling of pistachio, rahat locum and dates with cardamom. The chocolate Nutella was also a success, although somewhat ingratiating as only chocolate Nutella can be, but still a high-quality product. The vegan hamantaschen were also the best we tasted, and were large and generous.
Piece of Cake, 17 Yehuda Hayamit Street, Jaffa; 46 King Gorge Street, 30 Levontin Street, 54 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel Aviv
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