April 4, 2009

Kosher choices for Passover widen

A Jewish culinary expert says people who keep kosher in the United States are enjoying a renaissance of upscale wine and spirits.

Jews now can follow strict dietary laws and drink a premium vodka, a $200 Cabernet Sauvignon and a pure agave tequila, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Upscale drinks have a place at a table where you are serving lamb shanks and osso buco instead of the traditional brisket smothered in onions and cabbage, said Susie Fishbein, author of Kosher by Design.

The choices have moved far beyond the syrupy sweet wine that was a staple of the Passover Seder, the ritual meal celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, Fishbein said.

Sales of kosher products in the United States rose 41 percent from 2003 to 2008 to $12.5 billion, driven by observant Jews and by gentiles who perceive the kosher designation to be a sign of quality, the Times reported.

Passover begins at sundown April 8 and continues until nightfall April 16.