After 46 years of offering a yearly festival of Jewish food and culture, Modesto’s Congregation Beth Shalom is adding a new flavor to the mix this year.
Sunday’s Cafe Shalom will feature Ladino food for the first time, representing the ancient Jewish heritage of Spain. Also new will be an Israeli wine tasting. As always, the event is open to the public.
Instead of the sweet, puddinglike kugel normally prepared for the event, this year’s will be a Ladino version – noodles fried with eggs, caramelized onions and other savory flavors, according to Joyce Gandelman, an event organizer.
In addition, there will be a frittata-type dish served, “like a little pancake made from eggplant,” she said, “and it’s just out of this world.”
The new fare comes as organizers continue to update the event. “We always are looking for new ideas, and there has been such an influx of Spanish and Latino people in our congregation, we thought it would be a really nice thing to have,” Gandelman said.
CBS Rabbi Shalom Bochner said in an email that “Jewish food is literally international food. While Jews are indigenous to the land of Israel, for more than 2,000 years we have lived all over the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Spain and Portugal.”
A separate room will be set up for the Israeli wine tasting, $10 for a flight or $5 for a glass of wine. And there will be a bar with mixed drinks available.
Cafe Shalom also features a bake shop with several favorite Jewish sweets and breads. There will be live music and arts and crafts vendors during the festival, which is a fundraiser for CBS’ religious school.
“Cafe Shalom is a celebration of Jewish culture and cuisine,” Bochner said. “Everyone seems to love lox and bagels and challah bread.”
WHEN: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, May 7
WHERE: Congregation Beth Shalom, 1705 Sherwood Ave., Modesto
TICKETS: $18 in advance, $20 at the door; $10 age 5-12, free under age 5