One year ago, I wrote a post about my first experience at Kosherfest 2011. I had started my cooking blog 9 months earlier, didn’t really know anyone in the kosher food industry and was just there to sample all of the new products I could eat before I was too full to move. I paced myself, I wore comfortable shoes, I ate dairy all morning then switched to meat at lunch time and I tried my best to talk about Kitchen Tested as much as possible. While snacking on some Jack’s Gourmet products and talking to co-owner Alan Broner, I ran in to Chanie from Busy in Brooklyn, who actually started her blog just a few weeks before me. My first food blogger sighting of the day! Together, we found our way to a food blogger room that was set up for bloggers to have a quiet space to do some much-needed social networking. I met Leah Schapira from Cook Kosher, Mara Strom from Kosher on a Budget and nutritionist and writer Tovah Gidseg. For me, everything changed from there! Suddenly, I knew other kosher food bloggers and realized that I could do more than just write recipes on my own blog. I started writing guest blog posts, communicating with other food bloggers on Facebook and Twitter and began building a community of friends with the same passion for food that I have! In fact, the day before Kosherfest, I co-hosted the Kosher Food Bloggers Conference (with Shelley Serber from The Kosher Home) to create a strong community of kosher food bloggers, brands, and foodies that want to grow together and enhance the value of our blogs and overall brands. The event was a great success and I will be posting pictures and video from the event soon!

So now we’ve come to Kosherfest 2012. One year later and a completely different experience!  Let’s start with the fact that I was only able to attend for a few hours since I had to pick up my kids from school. So I had a goal to see as many new products as possible but spend some time socializing with my fellow food bloggers and friends. This year, instead of seeking out other bloggers to start building my community, every turn lead to new and old friends. I wandered the aisles with Jamie Geller and Tamar Genger from Joy of Kosher, Sarah Klinkowitz from Food, Words & Photos, and Hadassah Sabo Milner. I’ve been talking to Hadassah for over a year on Facebook and finally got to see her in person. That’s what I love about these events!

                                        

So now on to my favorite new products from Kosherfest 2012:

1. Jack’s Gourmet Facon: You’ve seen me post about this fake bacon many times on Kitchen Tested and it’s finally coming out on store shelves!!! Congrats on their win in the Best New Meat, Seafood or Poultry Product category at Kosherfest this year.

Everyone, say hi to my friend Chef Zissie! Zissie was cooking the facon all day at Kosherfest and I’m sure she went home smelling like facon as well. Lucky girl!

2. Foodman’s Matzolah:  I never thought I would be eating matzoh for breakfast, especially when it isn’t Passover! But this matzoh granola is Just. That. Good.

3. Manischewitz has come out with so many new products this year but there are few that really stood out to me.

Manischewitz Chocolate Hazelnut Spread: this stuff is insanely delicious! You will definitely see me using it on Kitchen Tested in the near future. I still can’t believe it’s not dairy.

Manischewitz Vanilla Cookie Decorating Kit (great for my kids) and the Chanukah cookie house kit: I’m going to have SO MUCH FUN with that cookie house. I might not even let my kids play with it. Mommy needs to build a house made of food right now.

Don’t forget to enter Chanukah House Decorating Contest! Grand prize is $500 cash, second place $200 cash, voters choice $150 in Manischewitz product and one lucky fan will win $100 in Manischewitz products just for voting.

4. Food distributors GIT USA Inc. had a wonderful display of gourmet and health foods and the Greek Cookies from Taste of Crete and Fig Bars from Nature’s Bakery seriously caught my attention! That fig bar puts all other fig cookies on the market to shame!

There were so many other incredible products that I didn’t get a chance to look at during my 2 hours at Kosherfest! I will definitely be getting a babysitter next year so I can stay the whole day. I had to skip the exotic cheeses, non-dairy gelato, and lots of wine! Okay, maybe I’ll have to bring a friend with me next year so I can drink too.

See you next year at Kosherfest 2013!