Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar. The holiday has biblical origins, commemorating Queen Ester’s heroic acts in saving the Jews from persecution from the Persian vizier Haman. However, Purim is more of a celebration than a day of religious observance. The common saying for the day is “drink until you cannot tell the difference between cursed Haman and blessed Mordechai.” So be ready to enjoy some festive Purim foods and drinks!
It would be wrong to list any other food before hamentashen. These sweets are stuffed triangular cookies, which are often filled with poppy seeds, apricot, walnuts, chocolate, or any other sugary filling imaginable. While you can find them any time of year in many New York bakeries, these cookies are specially made for Purim.
TAKEAWAY: While the actual cause behind their triangular shape is up for debate, some common reasons are to mimic Haman’s three-pointed hat or his ears. Read more about this contested attribute on this history of Hamentashen.
Regardless of whether they are ears or hats, be sure to eat as many as you can. It’s all part of the celebration. Just be sure to try the poppy seeds ones; they are the most traditional.
A new and true Israeli alcohol, Tubi 60 comes from the Northern city of Haifa. It is a unique blend of fruits, spices, and herbs from the region. The founders claim this combination of flavors is not only delicious but also useful. Rumor has it that you can’t get hungover drinking Tubi 60. Nonetheless, adding sugary mixers or other alcohols takes away this advantage. For that reason, it is hard to find cocktails with Tubi 60. Instead, you shoot it, drink it with soda, or on the rocks. Don’t worry if straight drinks normally scare you; Tubi 60 is very aromatic and easy to drink.
A special oversized version of this traditional Jewish bread is sometimes eaten on Purim. For this festivity, the dough is braided as to resemble the rope used to hang Haman. Normally, the challah is shaped into a crown to wish for prosperity; but Moroccan Jews usually place two boiled eggs inside the bread to symbolize Haman’s eyes.
Halva may not be a Purim specific snack, but Israel offers such great variety that it’s worth trying anyway. Many markets sell slices of giant wheels of the sweet. In Israel, most Halva is made out of sesame seeds. Try it topped with pistachios, marbled with chocolate, or covered in coffee beans to start your night off with a jolt of caffeine and sugar.
Gold Star is the go-to beer in Israel. It is sold at almost every bar in Tel Aviv and throughout the rest of the country. If you are dead-set on fulfilling the command to drink until confused, Gold Star has your back since they offer a 10% version. So buyer beware, or you may end up with a much stronger beer than expected.
Purim Sameach! Happy Purim! Regardless of what you eat or drink during the holiday, be sure to enjoy every bite. Just remember that this year Purim will start at sundown on February 28 and end on March 1st. Except in Jerusalem and other walled cities which will celebrate a day later. Don’t wait any longer and start preparing for all the delicious Purim foods and drinks this holiday can delight you with. If you are in need of some new food ideas, take a look at these Israeli treats that you can buy in a local market.