FOOD

Wednesday, April 9, 2003 Page F3

 

 

 

COUNTER INTELLIGENCE

 

 

In granola,

matzo rises to the occasion

 

By

Andrea Pyenson

 


Imagine dry matzo broken into little pieces, double-baked with slivered almonds, coconut, honey, brown sugar, and margarine. It's entirely different from the usual flat, unleavened boards, and it might change Passover breakfasts forever.

Debra Offenhartz, a social worker who lives in Swampscott, has been making granola for years. Her Savta's Pesach Granola is now widely available for the eight days of Passover - and then some.

The recipe for Savta's granola was passed down to Offenhartz by Ruth Eulau of Lynn, Offenhartz's mother-in-law, who is known as "Savta." (This is what her six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren call her.)

Two years ago, Offenhartz took what she describes as a big chance. She made an extra-large batch of granola, put it in lots of small bags, and brought it to sell at her daughter's school during Passover. It was a huge hit.

Last year, helped by a crew of "highly educated, overqualified" family members and friends, Offenhartz made 8,000 pounds of granola in the kitchen of her in-laws' Orthodox synagogue in Lynn. Selling through a limited number of stores and over the Internet, they filled orders from all over the world.

Today the granola is prepared at Hirsch's Passover Bakery in Brooklyn, N.Y. It is still made by hand, one batch at a time, using Savta's recipe. It has been certified kosher for Passover, and it is so good that demand has exceeded Offenhartz's - and Savta's - wildest dreams. Offenhartz is currently working on four new varieties, which should be available next year.

Last year during Passover, working through the Jewish Welfare Board in New York, Offenhartz distributed cases of granola to Jewish men and women in the Armed Forces in this country. This year she has donated 10 cases, to go to Jewish soldiers who are fighting in Iraq. "Imagine what it will feel like to them," she says, "eating matzo in the desert."

Savta's Pesach Granola is available at The Butcherie, 428 Harvard St., Brookline (617-731-9888); Shubie's Liquors & Marketplace, 32 Atlantic Ave., Marblehead (781-631-0149); Levine's Kosher Meat Market, 474 Lowell St., Peabody (978-535-6449); or at www.savtas.com.


 

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