With or without jam inside, with chocolate or vanilla cream, fried or baked, doughnuts (sufganiyot) are one of the official -- and tastiest -- emblems of Hanukkah. Ahead of the upcoming holiday, City Mouse’s editorial staff took on the tough mission of grading the city’s best holiday doughnuts in Tel Aviv and beyond. We each put on almost 5 kg and raised our cholesterol levels by 70% -- but the results are finally in. Here are what we think are the best Hanukkah doughnuts on sale in Israel:
What we had: Classic mini-doughnuts with jam (and other extras).
Opinion: We’ll always remember the day a plate of Petit Food doughnuts landed in the City Mouse editorial office. Any word besides "perfect" cannot do justice to their dough. The varieties included four kinds of fillings, but the best one was an amazing strawberry jam-filled doughnut that tastes like an angel descended from heaven and fed it to you personally.
Price: NIS 60 for a package of 12, or NIS 5-6 per doughnut.
Petit Food catering; for deliveries across the country, call Tel: (03) 537-2202
What we had: An apple-vanilla doughnut with brandy, a plum-cinnamon doughnut, a "Skippy"-nougat doughnut, and a cronut.
Okay, Movieing's dough officially tops perfection. We declare this the winner for the best sufganiya dough of 2013. The doughnut is light and fluffy, and its medium size isn't big enough to make you feel guilty. In short, it’s a wonderful doughnut. The sweetness and consistency of most of the fillings was just right -- not sweet or gooey enough to dominate the doughnut (although the "Skippy" filling fell short). While we couldn't compare their version of the cronut (a donut-croissant hybrid) to the original New York version, Movieing's had an ideal combination of fluffiness and oiliness with a great vanilla filling. Who needs New York, after all?
Price: NIS 5 for a doughnut, NIS 15 for a cronut
Movieing Bakery, 25 Yirmiyahu Street, Tel Aviv
Chef and baker Oren Becker collaborated with the Van Gogh vodka brand for Hanukkah, producing alcohol-laced doughnuts.
What we had: Milk chocolate with caramel Van Gogh, white chocolate with double espresso Van Gogh, a children’s doughnut and a vegan doughnut.
These are the “Las Vegas” of doughnuts. They are big and glittery with shiny colors, and soaked with booze. Beyond that, they are tasty and prove that doughnuts with phosphorescent fillings and glazing can be delicious and high-quality. The glazing was a bit sticky, but that’s a small price to pay for such a delight. The children’s and vegan items were also a hit.
Price: NIS 8 for a Van Gogh doughnut, NIS 6 for a child’s doughnut and NIS 9 for a vegan one.
These can be bought at Becker’s bakery school on 30 Hanatziv Street, Tel Aviv, Tel. (076) 542-3033 or at the Oren Becker boutique on 24 David Elazar Street, Tel Aviv (in the Sarona complex), Tel. (03) 534-8305
Piece of Cake
What we had: The classic, a white-chocolate, poppy seed doughnut, a condensed-milk doughnut with caramelized peanuts and a Florentine chocolate doughnut.
The classic sufganiya was excellent, with dough as soft as a down blanket, the jam was superb, light and perfect for the holiday. The poppy seed version with white chocolate was appreciated even by those who don’t usually like poppy seeds -- already a sign of success. The condensed-milk one was nice but more appropriate for kids' palates. Finally, we like this bakery’s Florentine cookies, but putting them into a doughnut overwhelmed it with sweetness and competing flavors, detracting from both the cookie and the doughnut. Better to eat the cookies and the doughnuts separately.
Price: NIS 4 for the classic, NIS 5 for the special, NIS 8 for a baked doughnut.
Piece of Cake, 46 King George Street, Tel Aviv
17 Yehuda Hayamit Street, Jaffa
This year, Bakery focused on two kinds of doughnut, a classic one filled with jam and an avant-garde one with salted butter caramel.
What we had: The classic
The dough here, which is light and not to greasy, is accented with lemon peels, which is good up to a point. As long as the excellent strawberry jam is around all is well, as it balances out the lemony flavor. When the jam is done, the lemony taste becomes overpowering.
Price: NIS 6
Bakery, 72 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel Aviv
Can also be found at Delicatessen, 79/81 Yehuda Halevi Street, Tel Aviv
What we had: The Pavlova doughnut, the creme brulee doughnut, the marquis chocolate doughnut, and the classic version
The dough here was wonderful, light and delicately flavored. The special fillings were surprising, pleasant and not overdone. However, there was a high filling to dough ratio here, which caused some of the filling to splatter. Guess we just needed more dough.
Price: NIS 5 for the classic doughnut, NIS 8 for the specials.
Biscotti – 67 Hayarkon Street, Bnei Brak
What we had: a Sabrina strawberry doughnut, a classic strawberry doughnut, a vegan doughnut, an Alfajores doughnut, and a Nutella version
What a joy to encounter doughnuts that are not saturated in oil. All the fillings were delicately sweet and the dough was light, even though there was a little bit of an aftertaste. Overall, pretty pleasurable.
Price: NIS 8 for a chocolate doughnut, NIS 6.5 for vegan ones, and NIS 5.5-8 for the others.
Metuka branches at 14 Weizmann Street, Weizmann Center, Tel Aviv; 18 Herzl Street, Tel Aviv, Northern Mall, Kfar Sava
What we had: A doughnut filled with strawberry confiture, a doughnut filled with Belgian chocolate, a doughnut with white chocolate cream and coffee, and a doughnut filled with halvah.
These doughnuts are made of light, tasty dough, that have a slight hint of the oil they were fried in. They all had generous fillings and were good, although not memorable the next day. But we'd still eat them again the next day.
Tati Lehem, 3 Avraham Giron Street, Yehud