Passover is one of those Jewish feast holidays, you know: They tried to kill us off, we survived, let’s eat!

Actually it’s a wonderful celebration of freedom and a reminder that we were once slaves in Egypt. The rituals remind us to work for a time that all people can enjoy freedom.

Charoset (pronounced in Yiddish as khah- ROH-sees) is eaten as a symbol of mortar that the Jewish slaves used in building cities in ancient Egypt. Its sweetness is a symbol of freedom. It is spread on a matzo, the bread of affliction the Jews baked in a hurry to escape the Pharaoh’s army.

A spoonful of horseradish, known as maror, is spread on top of the Charoset to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. This is known as a Hillel sandwich, (after the great rabbi Hillel), and is served as a symbol of hope.

My mom taught me to make Charoset, and it became my contribution to the Seder as a child. As an adult, the taste of the apples flavored with  Manischewitz sweet wine and the beet red maror on a piece of matzo brings back instant memories of Passovers. My sister brought a bottle of Villadodro Moscato this year instead of the Manischewitz. It made a delicious charoset.

Serves 10 guests

2 apples, grated. I used Pink Lady apples. If you don’t peel them, it adds a nice blush to the charoset

¼ cup walnut pieces

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ cup Moscato OR Manischewitz sweet Concord wine

Grate apples, then mix with cinnamon and wine. Crush walnut pieces so they are small, and mix into Charoset.


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