Every year, Roladin Bakery is putting out their new sufganiyot collection.
Let me just say this up front – I don't work for them or anything; I'm just crazy about their sufganiyot. I wait all year for this, it's like nothing else.
Yes, there are other bakeries; good ones, too, and my landlady shared with me her homemade recipe, perfected over years of practice. It's just that Roladin have elevated theirs to an art form.
For the past couple of years they started making them about a month ahead of Hanukah. Now that the candles are lit, the waiting line for a box of doughnuts goes around the block.
I go to the sufganiyot stand that they put up especially each Hanukah at the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv. I always expect mayhem, people pushing and shouting and trying to cut the line like any self-respecting Israeli would do, but it's not like that at all!
People stand patiently, engrossed in their smartphones, taking orders from family and friends on WhatsApp:
One Green Queen, two whipped cream and Belgian chocolate, one coffee crust, two red kisses and a Shoko Party.
How they are going to keep them safe on the crowded train on the way home I'm not sure.
A woman passes by, saying to her friend - It's insane to wait an hour in line for a sufganiya. I want to grab her by the shoulders and shout – They're AMAZING!
Kids (and me) stand by the glass pane watching the doughnuts fry. I'm not sure 'doughnuts' is a right translation. These are nothing like the American doughnuts cops eat in movies. They're smaller, airy and not all that sweet by themselves. It's the mind-blowing fillings and decoration that make people stand and look and wait and salivate.
The guy behind the glass topples a new tray of dough balls into the fryer. They go so fast, it's hard work keeping up with the demand. Practiced staffers do the elaborate decorating, pumping the sufganiyot with white patisserie cream and red strawberry jam and chocolate with rum and coffee. They won't need to go to the gym this week.
The manager shouts over the din into his cellphone – "Chocolate! We need more chocolate!" He is covered with flour from head to toe and looks positively ecstatic.
The happy Israelites that made it to the top of the line point at the different colored sufganiyot and ask – What's this one? And this? Ok give me some of those too! No no, just fill up the box!
The young woman behind the counter holds a large cardboard box and gently picks up the elaborate creations, placing them in rows inside the carton, while giving instructions on how to keep them safe till you get home:
"Don’t put anything on top of the box, and keep it as level as you can," she says. Another of the staffers brings a fresh tray of sufganiyot decorated in gold leaf.
I'd take this as the Jewish version of Christmas decoration.
It's just pure joy.
I ate one.
Well, I ate one at a time, LOL!
I got to be careful, because these are waistline expanders.
I got ahead of the crowd and started early, before Hanukah, because I knew the hordes will descend once the holiday started.
I went for the whipped cream with Belgian chocolate. Fresh from the pan, ate it right there. GOD this is delicious. I love the coffee ones too, with amaretto and almond flakes. I could eat all of them. The Halva filling is probably the most "Israeli", the meringue CheeseCake more American.
I think this year the pistachio Green Queen takes the cake. Or crown. Or whatever prize there is for sufganiyot. It's beautiful.
I've looked around Roladin's website. It's in Hebrew only, but you can enjoy the food-porn here: http://hanukkah2017.roladin.co.il/
Scroll down the page to see the full menu.
They're available only around December. If you're in the Holy Land for the holidays, any holiday, any reason at all – you absolutely have to try one.
Home > Israeli Food
You'll need some fiber to go after all that dough :-)
How about a good Israeli Salad for dessert?