Keeping kosher isn’t easy. The Torah is full of laws, or mitzvot, about the proper way to eat, and this dietary regimen becomes especially important around Jewish holidays. Some rules are strict (who can pick your grapes) and some rules may seem arbitrary (eating leavened bread around Passover), but there’s good news: Kosher diets are generally good for you, no matter what your religious persuasion. After all, what doctor wants you to guzzle milk with your pulled-pork sandwich?
There are lots of restaurants in the state that serve kosher meals, but what about making it yourself? Where do you find the ingredients for bubbie to assemble the perfect Hanukkah meal? Rhode Island is no Brooklyn, but we do have a handful of skilled kosher purveyors.
If this ancient biblical diet sounds like it’s for you, consider a chat with Rhode Island Kosher (RIKosher.org), a Providence-based organization that offers free consultations for the kashrut-curious. RIK not only explains the nutritional benefits of keeping kosher, but consultants offer a step-by-step guide to finding local products that even King David would approve of.
Rhode Island is overflowing with caterers, but only one of them specializes in sweet potato latkes and challah bread. Ahava Catering serves all of Southern New England, and Chef Freda Baer is especially keen on Jewish celebrations – Bar Mitzvahs, high holy days, and even shabbat specials.
Bottles Fine Wine
Bottles sells just about everything, from local craft beer to obscure brands of cognac, so it should be no surprise that the Providence liquor store also sells a nice selection of kosher wines. And this isn’t just the usual Manischewitz; you can find Mademoiselle rosé, crafted in Israel, and the Sparkling Muscat, made by The Butcher’s Daughter of France, among others. 141 Pitman Street, Providence.
Davis Dairy Products
It doesn’t get more authentic than this: a corner shop on Hope Street, with a little awning that reads “Davis.” The store sells kosher dairy products, but you can also find jars of gefilte fish, slices of corned beef, and piles of cured lox. 721 Hope Street, Providence.
To be fair, most major supermarkets have their share of kosher products, usually stocked in the ambiguous “ethnic foods” aisle. But Eastside Marketplace has its own kosher butcher, who spends Monday and Thursday mornings carving hunks of meat and fish, all under the supervision of an official mashgiach. 165 Pitman Street, Providence.
Rhody Fresh is best known as a hyper-local dairy, producing butter, cheese, and ice cream from the udders of Rhode Island cows. (They also abstain from artificial growth hormones). But the best news is that every single product at Rhody Fresh is kosher-certified – and it even tastes divine. Available in a variety of grocery stores.