One of my exceptionally creative coworkers hosts a so-called "liquid seder" each year for Passover, in which he devises specialty cocktails inspired by each traditional course in the seder dinner. Over the years, most of these cocktails have been staggeringly (maybe quite literally) successful: for maror, the course that typically features horseradish to symbolize the harshness of slavery in ancient Egypt, he used horseradish-infused tequila blended with tomato and orange juice (oranges being another common seder item) for a twist on a Bloody Mary. For beitzah, the course that incorporates a hard-boiled egg to symbolize both mourning and the sacrifice made at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he made a flip with an egg white, applejack (apples, again, being common at seder), Bénédictine (made from bitter herbs and apple brandy, another perfect fit) and sugar.
It's not Passover that's right around the corner, however. It's Rosh Hashanah, one of the most important holy days on the Jewish calendar and the holiday that ushers in the first month of the Jewish New Year. One of the most common greetings you'll hear during Rosh Hashanah—which falls this year between sunset on September 13 and nightfall on September 15—is "shanah tovah," which translates roughly to "happy new year." It's also the name of the limited-edition flavor of frozen custard Honeychild's Sweet Creams is introducing for Rosh Hashanah.
Shanah Tovah is a challah bread french toast-flavored frozen custard that's inspired, like those cocktails, by traditional Jewish holiday foods. In addition to the french toast, the frozen custard is flavored with apples, honey, cinnamon, orange peel and vanilla. "We chose apples and honey as our other ingredients because it's tradition to eat these during the Jewish New Year," says Honeychild's Leigh Morgan. "We even looked into having a rabbi bless our kitchen to make the product kosher," she laughs, "but couldn't make it work under a short timeline."
What Morgan was able to do, however, was partner with Meyerland grocery store Belden's, which has long stocked the city's most extensive selection of kosher and other Jewish foodstuffs. "Darryl Ames, the store's manager, said he loves little projects like this that support local businesses," says Morgan. Belden's will officially start selling the Shanah Tovah flavor this Friday, "but it will also be sold at Urban Harvest and Galveston's Own Farmers Market," says Morgan.
Honeychild's, which can also be found in stores such as Antidote and Houston Panini & Provisions, just celebrated its one-year anniversary of making small-batch frozen custard with all-natural ingredients; as with fellow frozen dessert purveyor Fat Cat Creamery, that ingredient list is as short and sweet as possible: eggs from Kenz Henz, cream from Mill-King, cane sugar, real vanilla extract. The Heights-based operation is the brainchild of three sisters: partners Leigh and Mary Beth Morgan, who support operations, and owner/chief custard-maker Kathleen Morgan. Coincidentally, none of the three sisters routinely celebrate Rosh Hashanah. "We aren't Jewish," says Leigh, "but we have friends, family, and colleagues that were begging us to create something."
The resulting Shanah Tovah flavor has already been so well-received by those friends and family that Leigh says the sister are gearing up to offer more holiday-inspired options in the future. "We would definitely be interested in doing something for Passover too." If you're worried that the challah french toast with apples and honey will fly off the shelves at Belden's before you get there, possibly snapped up by those eager encouragers, don't fret. "As for quantity," promises Leigh, "we'll keep an eye on sales and can easily make more if needed."