Tourist Tip #61 / Krembo

If you're in Israel during the cold-weather months, be sure to taste what some consider to be Israel's national treat.

Fall in Israel is marked less by piles of leaves and brisk mornings than by the appearance of a particular brand of tinfoil-covered candy in grocery stores and kiosks.

Krembo, literally meaning "cream in it," is a chocolate-covered marshmallow candy, sold only from around this time of year until the weather starts heating up in the spring. If you happen to be in Israel during this time, you'll see boxes of Krembo in nearly every grocery store and kiosk. You can buy them individually for about NIS 2 apiece or take home all 12.

Like candy canes on Christmas or candy corn on Halloween, Krembo is a seasonal treat, eagerly awaited by children and adults alike. It has a biscuit base, marshmallow center and thin chocolate shell and comes in two flavors, each with its own wrapping: blue for vanilla-flavored marshmallow and brown for mocha-flavored marshmallow. Some 50 million people buy them every year.

More than any American candy, Krembo is something of a national icon. In the Hebrew-language versions of the Harry Potter books, Krembo is Professor Dumbledore’s favorite treat (it’s sherbet lemon in the original), and in one of its songs, the famous 1970s Israeli rock bank Kavaret sings "Let me hold her Krembo" (interpret that as you will).

As with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, many people have honed their own approaches to eating Krembo. Some people start with the marshmallow, some with the biscuit and some, less conventionally, with the chocolate shell (it's a delicate process). Perhaps because it is sold during cold-weather months, some people like to heat their Krembo up before eating it. It seems like every year there's a story in the news about a hapless Israeli who put a Krembo in the microwave without removing the wrapper first. This is one approach you should probably avoid.