It's winter, so go eat a krembo!

Source: http://www.tipo.co.il/news.asp?nid=40860

Most Americans associate Israeli food with falofel or shwarma, but the Krembo is just as iconic and unique to Israel. In fact, it has its own Wikipedia page.  My husband has a theory that the Krembo grew out of the fact that Israelis traditionally do not eat ice cream in the winter-- in fact, you used to not even be able to find ice cream in grocery stores in the winter. Krembos, on the other hand, are very delicate and melt in the summer heat, so they are the Israeli winter junk food... and they're soo good.

Although I have a sweet tooth, I didn't like the American junk foods like twinkies or hostess cupcakes that are JUST sweet and fatty with no taste or texture. But Krembos taste light and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the mocha-flavored varieties are luscious. The base of a Krembo is a pretty tasteless round cookie, topped with a dollop of cream, and then covered in a thin layer of chocolate. (Here's a youtube video in Hebrew showing how they're made... they actually have to be wrapped by hand!) The "cream" isn't really cream-- my husband thinks it's made from egg whites, though it tastes something like a cross between marshmallow fluff and miracle whip. Then, of course, there's the foil wrapper, which my husband insists on smoothing out until every wrinkle is gone (another tradition from his childhood).

As the Wikipedia page attests, the most important question when you eat Krembos is whether you go from the cream side down or the cookie side up.  From the Wikipedia page:
In Israel, the krembos are a seasonal treat and the "krembo season" is very short, only four months a year, from October to February. Nevertheless, 50 million krembos are sold each year—an average of 9 per person in Israel. According to a study funded by Strauss, Israel's leading krembo producer, 69% of Israelis prefer to eat krembos from the top down (starting with the cream), and only 10% start with the biscuit at the bottom; the rest had no preference.[1]
What I find most significant about that statistic is that almost 80 % of Israelis have a clear preference... Krembos are such a ubiquitous snack that you practically aren't Israeli if you don't know how you eat your Krembo!

Personally, I'm actually an eat-in-from-the-side kind of gal. I like to have a little bit of cream, a little chocolate, and a little cookie in each bite. How about you? Have you started on your nine-Krembos-per-winter allotment yet? :)


  1. On topic of how to eat a Krembo, it's apperently a halachic question, as is mentioned in the same Wikipedia page. Pretty cool.
    But clearly the question is silly: You eat a Krembo by order of flavor. With the bland cookie first, and the last bite consisting almost entierly of chocolate. Best way. :)

  2. Krembos were invented to create year-round employment for the Israeli ice cream factory workers' union.

  3. ng, that was my husband's theory! It's cool to see it confirmed!

  4. Israelis love to claim Krembo as a unique Israeli invention, and are quick to correct any foreigner who dares to think he's seen one before. But as this Wikipedia page can attest, chocolate coated marshmallow treats are nothing new (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate-coated_marshmallow_treats), including the legendary tinfoil wrap. The iconic status Krembo has in Israeli pop culture is due to the nostalgic memories of a time of modest survival, when you either had a Krembo or nothing at all. Nowadays they'd probably be imported from Switzerland or something and marketed with a dubbed TV commerical as a special Swiss treat.

    Oh, and by the way, I love Krembos. Those foreign things are just lousy imitations.

  5. Hardly a confirmation... I made it up some years ago and started telling people, hoping it would eventually get back to me.

  6. You definitely can't compare it to any of the nasty mass-produced American stuff. But don't get me wrong, this is pretty junky as well, it's just that it doesn't scream "SUGAR" and nothing else like when you have an American treat.

  7. It seems that we have more Krembo access in South Florida than you do. I can get them year round at Victory Kosher Grocery, or other Israeli grocers. And when I'm studying hard, I eat several a day, alternating between vanilla and mocha and eating methods. Does this mean I have identity issues?

  8. Yosefa, this means that you're working EXTRA hard to prepare for your aliyah. :)

  9. I ate lots of this stuff when I was a teenager, like, uh, 30 years ago. The only difference is that is was in Spain, where I live. Yup, there were Krembos -not with that name- here then (possibly they can be still found)

  10. I'm the only one in my family who eats the biscuit first, then scoops out the cream, and eats the chocoalte last, and the only one who flattens the foil.
    I would never have even known about these if my parents hadn't talked the owner of a place that sold tons of middle-eastern stuff into getting Israeli food as well!

  11. Maya totally LOVE your blog, im getting caught up right now,

    but most importantly the best way to eat it is after 20 seconds in the microwave, its the best


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