The global marketplace has made many common brands of chips or candy bars pretty much available anywhere. However, some snack foods still hold on to their original identity. When was the last time you hit the “Made-In-Israel” shelves for a different snack experience? Have you ever even eaten an Israeli snack?
Whether you have or haven’t, here are nine Israeli treats to try at least once. Let us know which one is your favorite!
Bamba is Israel’s top-selling snack, accounting for close to a quarter of the snacks market, according to its manufacturer, Osem. Osem produces one million bags daily of this soft-yet-crunchy, sweet-yet-savory peanut-flavored puffed corn snack. Sounds strange, right? I agree. However, surveys show that an overwhelming 90 percent of families buy it on a regular basis. Bamba is promoted as a healthy snack as it contains 50 percent peanuts and is fortified with vitamins and minerals (A, B1, B3, B6, B12, C, E, folic acid, and iron). It’s also gluten-free. British and American studies have shown that this addictive treat plays a role in preventing peanut allergies. According to Osem, Bamba was first produced in 1964 with a cheese flavor (similar to Cheetos) and in 1966 the cheese was replaced by peanut butter.
This chocolate, marshmallow, cream-topped cookie treat is referred to as Israel’s national “winter” snack. The name means “cream in it” in Hebrew. Roughly 50 million Krembos roll off the manufacturing lines in Israel between October and February. This portable s’mores treat comes in vanilla and mocha flavors, with vanilla being the more popular by a landslide. And the treat is so well loved, it has made cultural appearances in Israeli films, television shows, and songs. In the Hebrew version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Dumbledore’s favorite treat is a Krembo. Strauss, the country’s leading Krembo producer, published a study that shows 69% of Israelis prefer to eat the treat from the top down.
Bissli are crunchy snack bits that resemble pasta. Actually, the Osem manufacturer used its pasta production expertise to create these savory treats for the snack-food market in 1970. There are six flavors (grill, barbeque, onion, pizza, falafel, and Mexican) and each one comes in a different shape. Newcomers to the snack are often put off by the brown color of these bite-size wheat snacks. But, Israelis who grew up with these salty flavored treats have no qualms and even like to use Bissli as a crunchy schnitzel coating.
The Israeli pretzel comes in sticks, figure eights, circles, and triangle-square-circle mix packs with flavors including salted, sesame seeds and salt, cream-cheese-onion, chili, cinnamon-honey, and chocolate-covered. Beigel & Beigel, founded in 1949, holds more than 60 percent of the Israeli pretzel and cracker market share. If you like pretzels, you’ve probably been eating an Israeli recipe without realizing it. Beigel & Beigel exports to more than 20 countries.
Klik chocolate snacks come in little packets with pieces of chocolate-covered cookies to cornflakes, pretzels to wafers. The personalized packets were a success from the moment they hit the market. Klik can also be found in chocolate-bar form. The product, usually connected with the youth and children’s market space, added a “fine taste” line for adults with chocolate covered hazelnuts, pecans, bittersweet chocolate, and pomegranate flavors added to the mix. The Israeli candy label is now owned by Unilever.
Milky is no ordinary chocolate pudding, but rather the most successful dairy product on the Israeli market since its debut in 1979. The pudding has a secret whipped cream topping (only five people in the world know the recipe) and is the holy grail of dessert snack foods. In 1986, the Strauss company launched its first video commercial for this product called “Battle of the Milky.” It became a huge hit, spurred two more sequels, and secured a spot in the Israeli entertainment lexicon. The women who starred in the Milky commercials (Sandi Bar, Hila Nachshon, and Bar Refaeli) are still known as the Milky Girls a la Charlie’s Angels. In 2014, the fourth installment of the Battle of the Milky kicked into gear, only this time it was not a commercial for the product, but rather a protest by young Israelis against the high cost of living in Israel with the snack serving as just one example of Israeli goods costing more in Israel than beyond its borders. Milky’s original chocolate flavor is still the most popular, but Strauss has added strawberry pudding, vanilla pudding, upside-down Milky, extra whipped cream, mini Milky, and Milky with chocolate candies on top.
Wafers are extremely popular in Israel and can be found in every Israeli supermarket and convenience store. In Hebrew, they’re called vaflim or baflim. Consumer reports say 92 percent of households consume wafers on a regular basis. A Hadassah magazine story says Israelis are “the world’s second-greatest consumers of this treat after the Austrians, from whom the manufacturing know-how came here.” Wafers are the go-to snack from kindergarten through the army, ranging in flavors from chocolate, lemon, vanilla, hazelnut, and coffee.
Israel’s version of Bugles, this crunchy corn snack is the “No. 1 entertainment snack” in Israel because of its cone shape for scooping up dips. It comes in just two flavors, plain and Italian spices. And, it’s gluten-free. Two copycat alternatives on the market include Le Nosh and Pipeto.
9. PESEK ZMAN
Pesek Zman (Time Out) is Israel’s version of the KitKat. It is manufactured by the Strauss Group under its Elite confectionery brand. This candy bar made its debut in 1982 in a flat version of a chocolate cream-filled wafer with chocolate coating. By 2008, the chocolate cream had been replaced with hazelnut cream. Today, there are mini versions, thicker candy bars, basketball-shaped bars, and tablets with cream-filled chocolate fingers. The chocolate coating comes in white, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate.
So, which one is your favorite? Or, which would you like to try the most? Let us know!
Originally posted at Israel21c.