Matzo, variously translated from Hebrew as matzoh, matza, matzah, matztzah and other spellings, is a 3,000-year-old accidental recipe.
As anyone who knows the story of Exodus will remember, in the time of Moses, Egypt’s pharaoh* finally agreed after much appealing, and then the 10 plagues, to let the enslaved children of Israel go.
The Israelites left their homes so quickly that that they didn’t have time to bake bread for the journey. Instead of waiting hours for dough to rise, they made an unleavened mixture of flour and water that baked up flat.
Later, as they celebrated Passover, the commemoration of the Exodus, unleavened matzo was designated the only bread permitted during the eight-day observance.
The dry, flavorless quality bothers some observant Jews, then and now. Passover matzo is just flour and water, no salt. (That said, matzo tastes similar to Carr’s water crackers, a popular specialty cracker.)
It’s no surprise that the Hebrew word matztzah (plural matztzoth), literally means “juiceless.”
We are one of the group of eaters who loves matzo, and eats it year-round (in addition to other crunchy flatbreads like lavash and Swedish crispbread).
One can now find year-round options from companies like Manischewitz, Streit’s and Yehuda include ancient grains, egg and onion, gluten-free, lightly salted, toasted onion and whole wheat (and yes, salt free).
They’re a step up from saltless matzo, but a great leap forward has been made by The Matzo Project, a line of delightfully flavorful matzos.
The Matzo Project was conceived by a woman who had been contemplating improving the flavor of matzo for nearly 20 years. She casually mentioned it to a friend one day and boom! The duo set out to improve “the culturally beloved, but traditionally flavorless box of matzo.”
They have succeeded grandly, producing super-crunchy, extra-sturdy, very flavorful matzo boards and crackers in:
The line is certified OU kosher, and has a spokesbubbe (grandma spokeswoman), whose presence and advice enliven every package. Here’s ours:
You don’t have to be Jewish to love The Matzo Project. You just have to love a crunchy, yummy cracker.
Don’t wait until Passover to buy them or give them as fun gifts. Remember, only that flavorless, unsalted matzo can be made kosher for Passover.
SERVING UP THE MATZO PROJECT
The flavors work as everyday crackers, with cinnamon sugar substituting for a cookie with a cup of coffee or tea.
Cinnamon Sugared also is delicious for a cheese dessert with goat cheese. And Everything goes with…just about everything.
All the flavors can be eaten straight from the bag as simple snacks, or served with ingredients both humble (hummus) and luxurious (canapés, smoked salmon).
*The Bible does not name the pharaoh, but scholars place Thutmose II as the pharaoh at the time of the Exodus.
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