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Jewish Food Festival at Temple B’nai Israel in Laconia. Courtesy photo.




20th annual Jewish Food Festival

Where: Temple B’nai Israel, 210 Court St., Laconia
When: Sunday, July 9, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Priced per item 
Visit: tbinh.org




Traditional tastes
Jewish Food Festival returns to Laconia

07/06/17
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the blintzes, knishes and other traditional dishes offered at the Jewish Food Festival on Sunday, July 9, hosted by Temple B’nai Israel in Laconia.  

Now in its 20th year, the festival started as a yard sale fundraiser that included a small selection of  food prepared by temple members. Over time, the word got out about how good the food was, and the yard sale evolved into a food festival serving hundreds of people each year. 
“Most of the people who come are not Jewish, so they’re either buying and eating this food for the first time or have been coming back here every year to get this food,” festival committee chair Stu Needleman said. 
People will have the option of ordering hot meals to eat on site or to go, or ordering pre-packaged frozen meals that they can reheat at home. 
The hot menu will include cheese blintzes (Jewish crepes) cooked on the spot, chopped herring and chopped liver, knishes (dumpling stuffed with meat and potato), and a sandwich station with homemade beef brisket and corned beef, pastrami and tongue from Evan’s New York Style Deli of Marblehead, Mass., plus deli barrel half sour pickles for a side. 
The frozen meals will include potato latkes (potato pancake), stuffed cabbage, kugel (noodle casserole), and matzo ball soup. 
“There are people who buy several packages and keep them in their freezer so they can eat them whenever they want,” Needleman said. “When you want it, you just heat it up in the oven, and all the oils are contained in it so it’ll crisp right up.”  
Additionally, there will be baked goods like rugelach (cookies), strudel, challah (braided bread), Jewish-style cakes and more. 
Needleman said the wide selection of authentic Jewish food offered at the festival is not something easily found at local restaurants or markets. 
“We aren’t aware of any place in New Hampshire that you can get all the food we produce here on this one day a year,” he said. “It’s a unique combination of foods.” 
The temple congregation, which consists of about 70 families, comes together each year to complete the cooking and preparations for the festival, with some menu items, such as the beef brisket and gravy, being made as early as March. 
The dishes are prepared using temple members’ recipes, most of which are traditional family recipes that go back generations. 
“These recipes are rich in heritage,” Needleman said. “They conjure up the feelings and emotions of the past and are reflective of history. They have an Old World feel and flavor to them.” 
The festival is scheduled to run for three hours, but most years the supply, particularly the frozen meals, doesn’t last longer than two hours, so be sure to arrive early. 
“It’s hard for us to judge how fast the food will go,” Needleman said, “Our advice to people is to get there earlier, because it’s not a matter of if the food will be gone, it’s a matter of when.” 





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