This 2024 - Let's Win the Battle of Headlines
update deskJewish & Israeli Culture

Yom Ha’atzmaut 2023

Kosher gelateria’s ‘Halva Nagila’ flavor wins contest

The shop on Manhattan’s Upper West Side was the only kosher entrant.

A new gelato flavor, “halva nagila,” at a New York kosher dessert shop takes its name from the traditional Israeli song, “Hava Nagila.” Source: Screenshot.
A new gelato flavor, “halva nagila,” at a New York kosher dessert shop takes its name from the traditional Israeli song, “Hava Nagila.” Source: Screenshot.

When Golan Chetrit, owner of Noi Due Gelato, received an invitation to compete in the Gelato Festival World Masters, he noticed that it was being held the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.

“I said, ‘I have to make something that will connect with that,’ ” the Israeli native told JNS. “We know how to make gelato. What we decided to do was something that represents our style Italian with a Mediterranean twist.”

Chetrit’s Upper West Side Manhattan shop was the only kosher competitor in the North American semifinals on Tuesday, and it won a chance to compete in the three-day North American finals in Hollywood in September. Should it win the finals, it would represent North America in Italy in 2025 at the International Gelato Masters Competition.

The savory “halva nagila” flavor takes its name from the traditional Israeli song, “Hava Nagila.” Chetrit pointed out that it is “a celebration song, and when you taste gelato, it is a fun, celebratory experience.”

The dessert name also has a deeper meaning, he told JNS.

Black sesame seeds. Credit: Pixabay.

Chetrit combined popular Middle Eastern ingredients and flavors, including tahini, black sesame seeds and silan date syrup. Halva comes from Iran, and tahini and sesame seeds have Ethiopian and Indian origins. The tahini Chetrit uses comes from Israel and the silan from Jordan.

“The gelato base I learned in Italy,” he said. “We don’t have conflict when it comes to tahini, halva and food. I felt it’s a good story to represent Israel—where we come from and the Jewish people—because we are kosher. That’s why I used ‘halva nagila.’ ”

The judges were impressed that Chetrit and his team “were brave enough to come to the competition with something unusual, and that there was a story and something we stand for,” he told JNS.

He thinks it helped that the punny (yet serious) submission had good texture and flavor, with balance Chetrit considers excellent, he said.

“We finished it off with black sesame seeds,” he said. And although some people weren’t familiar with halva, they had a new experience.

“I feel shalom, I feel at ‘peace.’ There are so many cultures linked to that gelato flavor, and I’m very proud for our community, and for Israel on its Independence Day,” he said. “We went in with a lot of confidence, and we did everything from the heart.”

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates