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TIP OF THE DAY: Teas For Sushi & Sashimi

Japanese Green Tea & Pot

Cups of Green Tea

Sushi Plate

Sashimi

Genmaicha Tea

[1] Green tea and a conventional iron pot, called a tetsubin (photo courtesy Japanese Green Tea Online). [2] Green tea isn’t necessarily green. It depends on where the tea was grown and production factors (photo courtesy Coffemania | NYC). [3] A conventional sushi plate of nigiri and maki (photo courtesy Takibun). [4] Sashimi (photo Direct Photo). [5] Genmaicha, with toast rice: our favorite (photo courtesy Sugarbird Sweets).

 

Sushi and sashimi are among our favorite foods, and we down cups of green tea with each plate.

Most of the complimentary green tea served at Japanese restaurants is, not surprisingly, average quality. Even if it’s good tea to start with, it can grow pretty weak due to infusing the same leaves one time to many.

In Japan as well as the U.S., the tea used is often sencha, a basic green tea (approximately 80% of the tea produced in Japan is sencha). It may also be bancha, the second-most-widely-produced tea, more robust and astringent than sencha.

If you want to train your palate to the differences, ask your server to tell you which type it is.

In Japan, the lower down the line the sushi bar is (such as a takeout place), the more likely it is that the tea is agari, a low-quality, powdery tea—which should never be confused with to the pricey powdered matcha, to which it has zero relation.

The variety, known as konacha or kona-cha, is a mix of the residual dust, fannings, leaf particles, and bits of stem broken off during the processing of quality teas, like gyokuro or sencha (paradoxically, it’s low-quality tea from high-quality leaves). Konacha has a bitter taste, said to complement the flavor components of of sushi very well.
 
ENJOYING GREEN TEA WITH YOUR SUSHI OR SASHIMI

If you don’t like the green tea that is served with your raw fish, consider that it may be the particular green tea, and not an indictment of the entire green tea category. As with any product, those at the top end can be glorious. They just may not be available where you eat your sushi.

In New York City, where we enjoy thrice-weekly sushi meals, it’s very rare that we get anything resembling a satisfactory (much less a good) cup of tea unless we’re at a very high-end restaurant. While our everyday sushi is excellent quality, the tea quality never measures up to the fish. We wish we could pay for better tea, but it’s not the Japanese way.

That being said, any green tea served, no matter how bland, goes well with the raw fish.
 
Trending At Asian Fusion Restaurants

Some Asian-fusion restaurants we patronize don’t give any tea away, but will sell you pots of tea.

We respect that: Profit margins in restaurants are notoriously low, and since we’d rather have tea with our sushi than [higher profit] beer, we have no problem paying for it. You’ll get higher quality than with freebie tea, abut it still may not be sublime, depending on available varieties and your palate.

Only once in a blue moon do we find our favorite green tea to pair with sushi and sashimi, genmaicha (photo #5), at a restaurant. This lively green tea, a base of sencha, bancha or a combination of both, is blended with earthy roasted rice or popcorn. You either love it or not; but for us, it’s green tea happiness.
 
Should You Pay For Tea?

Our tip of the day is: If your restaurant offers a cup of better tea at a price, don’t hesitate to try it. It’s a modest sum compared to the price of the sushi (or a beer). It could be good and worth it; or you don’t have to order it again.

We’ve been to chic restaurants (Asian and Western) that have a tea menu. Ideally, this should be top-quality loose tea. Some even bring out a fancy wood box that holds different bags* from which you choose.

It’s a step in the right direction, but we often find that these teas—which are from specialty American purveyors—are not assertive (flavorful enough). While some people may like that milder style, we want full-flavor tea.

Don’t let the box, or silky tea bags, convince you that this is top green tea; or think that the tetsubin, the traditional small, cast iron tea pot, makes the tea any better (more aesthetic, yes; better-tasting, no).

Again, you don’t know until you try.

If you’re a tea fan as well as a sushi fan, what can you do to ensure that the tea is at the level as the sushi?

In foodie desperation (and not wanting to insult the restaurant), we thought to sneak good green tea into our local restaurant, to augment the tea we purchased. Then, fearing that we would, in fact, insult them if discovered, we asked if they would mind if we added some of our own tea to theirs—or if they wished, take our tea, add hot water, and charge us the same as their tea.

This was not a difficult ask, as we brought genmaicha, green tea blended with toasted rice or popcorn (photo #5). It’s an easy excuse to claim one’s love of genmaicha with sushi.

The other option was ordering in (i.e. delivery)—a less aesthetic experience, but one which guaranteed our choice of tea.
 
AN OFT-ASKED QUESTION ABOUT RESTAURANT GREEN TEA

Why is the tea served in sushi restaurants so hot?

It’s often so hot that we can’t pick up the cup without using a napkin to protect our fingers. We laud the servers who bring it to us with no such protection.

The answer:

The very hot water and green tea both work to cleanse the palate and remove the natural oil reside that can be left behind by the fish. You may not notice them in your sushi or sashimi, but they’re there.

Green tea, which is the norm in Japan, has more astringency than other tea types (black, oolong, white). This makes it even more effective to cleanse the palate.

 
Here’s more on palate cleansing:

As one navigates through an assorted plate of sushi or sashimi, the subtle flavors of each type deserve appreciation.

  • Each type of raw fish has a very distinct but delicate taste. It is also desirable to cleanse the palate to fully appreciate the flavor of each piece.
  • Marinated slices of ginger, called gari, also serve to refresh the taste buds between pieces.
  •  
    IF YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR TEA, WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

    The tea should not be overpowering or have a flavor/aroma that could dominate the fish: never a flavored tea! Much as we like jasmine tea, the floral aroma and flavor detract from the delicate raw fish.

    We would pair what the restaurants serve, but the best quality we can get:

  • Bancha: A widely used restaurant and household tea; “the peoples’ tea”; a refreshing, lightly sweet flavor.
  • Sencha: Juicy sweet flavor, deep umami, and crisp, refreshing finish.
  • Genmaicha: This can be sencha, bancha or a blend, combined with roasted rice. The rice acts as a starchy sponge, aiding in the absorption of oils and flavors in the mouth. It’s one of our favorite green teas for any tea-drinking occasion.
  •  
    For more robust, richer, cooked foods in Japanese restaurants, such as teriyaki, shabu shabu, negimaki and yakisoba, go for a more robust tea.

    A popular pick is houjicha, bancha leaves and stems that have been roasted. It’s smooth, with hints of coffee and roasted barley.

    Tea and sushi lovers: Go forth and conquer.
     
     
    DISCOVER LOTS MORE IN OUR:

    SUSHI GLOSSARY

    TEA GLOSSARY

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Iced Coffee, Drink Or Cocktail

    Black Iced Coffee

    Light Iced Coffee

    Iced Coffee

    Iced Coffee

    russian-iced-coffee-delonghi-230

    [1] Black iced coffee (photo courtesy Nescafe). [2] Iced coffee, light (photo courtesy Peets). [3] With half-and-half (photo courtesy Coffeemania). [4] Thai iced coffee (photo courrtesy Peets). [5] White Russian (photo courtesy DeLonghi).

     

    Many people can’t live without iced coffee. We see them walking around on the coldest winter days, sipping from jumbo cups of it.

    For more celebratory occasions, how about spiked iced coffee?

    It’s as simple as adding liqueur or a shot of your favorite spirit to a basic iced coffee.

    You can turn it into a party experience, too.

    PREPARATION TIPS

  • Keep the coffee in the fridge until you need to pour it. You’ll need fewer ice cubes, which dilute the drink. Or…
  • Make coffee ice cubes. We do this with whatever leftover coffee is in the pot; or you can make it from scratch. Just pour into an ice cube tray, freeze, and move the frozen cubes to a storage bag or container, freeing the ice cube for more cubes. Plan ahead and you’ll have enough for a party.
  •  
    If you’re having guests:

  • Make regular and decaf coffee. If you’re an uber*-host, make iced espresso as well.
  • Provide different sweeteners: non-caloric, superfine sugar and agave or simple syrup. Agave has a lower glycemic index, but as twice as sweet as sugar, so you use half the amount.
  • Have an assortment of milks, from fat-free to regular to half-and-half, plus a non-dairy milk.
  • Have cans of Reddi-Wip at hand so guests can have fun garnishing their own. Bonus points: provide both Original and Chocolate Reddi-Wip.
  •  
    Consider a DIY bar with different flavor additions.

  • Extracts: almond, anise, vanilla or other extract.
  • Flavored syrups: chocolate, hazelnut, vanilla.
  • Liquers: Bailey’s/Carolan’s Irish Cream, Magnum Scotch Cream Liqueur, Cointreau/Grand Marnier, Creme de Cacao/Godiva, Kahlúa, or other favorite. Note that liqueurs add sweetness. Taste first, then sweeten.
  • Spirits: Rum, tequila, vodka.
  • Spices: ground cayenne, chile, cinnamon, nutmeg.
  • ________________
    *For a millennia before it was a car service, it was an adjective. It still is.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: KAHLÚA ICED COFFEE

    Just add Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur to iced coffee, black or with milk.

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 part Kahlúa
  • 2 parts iced coffee
  • Ice
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream, rough-ground coffee beans
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL the glass (or pitcher) with ice and iced coffee.

    2. ADD the Kahlúa, stir, and garnish as desired.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: THAI ICED COFFEE

    Thai iced coffee uses strong, bitter coffee—such as espresso, French roast or Italian roast—which acts as a counterpoint to the rich cream and the sweetened condensed milk. This is a sweet drink: There are no sugar-free versions.

    You can even use leftover coffee. While coffee purists may shudder at the thought, the sweetened condensed milk masks any notes they might have detected. Similarly, you can use strong instant coffee.

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 8 ounces of strongly brewed coffee
  • 2-4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (the more you use, the sweeter the drink)
  • 1/4 cup cream, half and half or evaporated milk
  • Optional: dash of ground cardamom, cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR coffee into a mixing container (we use a repurposed glass orange juice bottle).

    2. ADD 4-6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk and optional spices; stir well until dissolved. Refrigerate for one hour or longer to chill.

    3. ADD a few ice cubes to two tall glasses and fill with the cold coffee mixture. Top off with the cream. As the cream sinks, it makes an attractive swirl.

    After you make the first batch, taste it and adjust the recipe. Add more sweetened condensed milk if you want a sweeter drink, or more cream if you want a richer drink or if the coffee is too strong.
     
    Dessert Variation

    Add a scoop of coffee or vanilla ice cream; garnish with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes.

     
    RECIPE #3: WHITE RUSSIAN ICED COFFEE

    Iced coffee with a shot of vodka: Now there’s an idea for chillaxing on a summer day. If you want a serious cocktail, you can make an old-school Black Russian or a White Russian with these (recipes).

    You can make a White Mexican with tequila or a White Caribbean with rum.

    If you don’t normally sweeten your iced coffee, leave out the sugar. Adjust the ingredients proportions based on the size of the glass you are using.

    RECIPE: RUSSIAN ICED COFFEE

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • Chilled or room temperature espresso
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • Light cream or half and half to taste
  • Crushed ice
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BREW the espresso coffee. Let cool. Add the sugar and the vodka.

    2. POUR into a glass and top with cream. Add crushed ice, stir and serve.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Garnishing With Lilacs

    White Wine With Lilacs

    Cake With  Fresh Lilac Garnish

    [1] White wine with a scattering of lilac blossoms (photo courtesy Tay Tea). [2] Decorate desserts and other foods. Check out these recipes from Brit.co.

     

    We received the top photo from Tay Tea, a lovely tea salon in Delhi, New York, some three hours northwest of New York City. The proprietor spent years as a blender of premium teas, and departed from owning tea salons in New York City to the country.

    Fortunately for her fans, she sells her teas online. The blends are beautiful to look at, and you can’t make a wrong choice.

    Back to the lilacs:

    Lilac blossoms are edible, though they smell better than they taste, so are best used in small amounts as a garnish (only use those that have not been sprayed with pesticides). They typically blossom in April and May.

    According to an article on Care2.com, you can “drink in the beauty and aroma” by making a cold-water infusion.

  • Add washed lilac blossoms to a pitcher and fill to the top with spring water. Steep for an hour or more.
  • Strain, chill and serve.
  • You can make multi-note flavors by adding citrus slices, strawberries, herbs, etc.
  •  
    MORE WAYS TO CONSUME LILACS
    You can also:

  • Garnish wine and cocktails, iced tea or other nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Scatter atop green salads, crêpes, desserts, etc.
  • Candy to preserve as decorations for cakes and cupcakes (also called crystallized or sugared flowers; here’s a recipe).
  • More uses for edible flowers.
  •  
    Check out these nine lilac recipes, from cocktails to desserts.
     
    THE MYTH OF THE LILAC

    The common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), one of 12 species of lilac, is a member of the Oleaceae family, commonly called the olive family.

    The family comprises flowering aromatic woody plants that includes, among others, ash, forsythia, jasmine and privet. Lilac is native to Eurasia.

    And it has a legend.

     
    In Greek mythology, a beautiful nymph named Syringa had caught the eye of Pan, the god of the forests and fields. He chased her through the forest; but she eluded him by turning herself into a lilac bush. Pan found himself holding hollow reeds instead of Syringa.

    (Note that in real life, lilac twigs are not hollow. They can, however, be easily drilled out.)

    Pan’s sighs, combined with the wind and the reeds, made harmonious sounds. Hermes, the fleet-footed messenger and god of boundaries and transitions, suggested that seven reeds of different lengths, bound together, could make what we now call pan pipes, an early flute. The flute was called Syrinx in honor of the nymph.

    Did Syringa spend the rest of her life as a lilac bush, to avoid Pan? The record is silent; but we thank her for inspiring the flute and other hollow tubes, such as sryinges for medicine and mechanical uses.

     
      

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    PRODUCTS: 5 Beverage Favorites

    1. ANGRY ORCHARD: ORCHARD’S EDGE KNOTTY PEAR

    Hard apple cider is hot, but what about perry?

    Pears are also turned into hard cider, called perry in the U.K.; but perry is not as well known in the U.S.

    American cider makers tend to label their perries as pear cider. And there are far fewer of them.

    We’ve had all of Angry Orchard’s 13 apple ciders, but these days it’s their one perry—a.k.a. Orchard’s Edge Knotty Pear—that has our attention.

    It’s available nationwide, and will open your eyes to the joys of pear hard cider. We need for more American cider lovers to try it and convince Angry Orchard that there is a market for more perry.

    The term perry comes from the Old French word for pear, peré (PEH-ray), from the Latin word for pear, pirum.

    As with apples, the pear varieties used to make cider tend to be sour, and aren’t pleasant eating.

    Next step: Look for Knotty Pear cider and buy it. If you find several brands, buy them all and have a perry tasting.

    Discover more about Angry Orchard ciders.
     
     
    2. COFFIG: ROASTED FIG COFFEE SUBSTITUTE

    We’ve tried caffeine-free coffee substitutes: Thanks but no thanks. But Coffig has succeeded in making a natural coffee alternative from roasted figs.

    We didn’t believe it until we tried it. It really does substitute for coffee, hot or iced. If you’re looking for an alternative, try it.

    We think you’ll like it. And there’s a 100% Money Back Customer Satisfaction Guarantee if you don’t.

    Coffig comes in convenient, individually wrapped “tea bags” for single cups; as well as in pouches of powder for making larger batches. The product is 100% roasted black figs.

    You can buy them on the website: Coffig.com, and on Amazon.
     
     
    3. SAMUEL ADAMS: GRAPEFRUIT REBEL IPA

    In 2014, Samuel Adams introduced Rebel IPA, their take on a West Coast IPA (India Pale Ale).

    West Coast-style IPAs use hops from the Pacific Northwest, which have different flavors than European hops, and generally have more hop intensity.

    We liked Rebel IPA. So did a lot of other people. It did so well in these IPA-happy times that siblings began to arrive: Rebel Rouser Double IPA, Rebel Rider Session IPA, Rebel Juiced IPA, Rebel White Citra IPA and our favorite, Rebel Grapefruit IPA.

    We are fans of wines with grapefruit notes, like French Sauvignon Blancs, and love it in beer, too. Rebel Grapefruit IPA is brewed with real grapefruit in the mash, for a prominence of flavor that complements the citrus of the hops.

    See it, try it. Find details at SamuelAdams.com.

    Find more beer types and terms in our Beer Glossary.

     
     
    4. SEALAND BIRK: ORGANIC BIRCH WATER

    First came coconut water, then maple water, and now birch water.

    The producer, Sealand Birk (birk is Danish for birch), advises: Drink your water from a tree—just like the Vikings used to…the people of the Nordic regions rejuvenate their body and soul after long, harsh winters with the uplifting spring tonic of birch tree water.

    Birch water has become “the detox ingredient de jour” thanks to its antioxidant- and mineral-rich nutrient profile. It won the drink category of the 2016 Nature & Health Natural Food Awards.

    We had the opportunity to drink the line at a trade show, and proclaimed every flavor (blueberry, cranberry, elderflower, gooseberry, mango, raspberry rhubarb) and the unflavored original winners.

    So where can you buy it? Write to info@sealandbirk.com with your zip code.

     

    Angry Orchard Knotty Pear

    Coffig

    Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA

    Birch Water, Blueberry Flavor

    Sprite Cherry Cola

    [1] Knotty Pear from Angry Orchard is a perry: pear cider (photo courtesy Angry Orchard). [2] Coffig is a coffee substitute made from figs (photo Pinterest). [3] Our new favorite beer from Samuel Adams: Rebel Grapefruit IPA (photo Boston Brewery). [4] Refreshing, nutritious water tapped from birch trees, available plain or flavored (photo Sealand Birk). [5] Sprite’s first new entry in 56 years: Cherry Sprite (photo Coca-Cola).

     
    Amazon lists three flavors (original, blueberry, raspberry) but they are “currently unavailable.”

    Hopefully they’re coming soon. You can ask to be emailed when they arrive.

    The company’s main website is based in Australia, and has e-commerce; but the U.S. website currently does not.

    Otherwise, you may just have to tap a birch tree.

    One could do worse than be a tapper of birches.
     
     
    5. SPRITE: CHERRY SPRITE & CHERRY SPRITE ZERO

    Lemon-lime Sprite was introduced to the U.S. in 1961 as a competitor to 7 Up. Why has it taken this long to come up with a line extension, Cherry Sprite?

    The answer is vending machine technology; specifically, Coca-Cola Freestyle, the touch screen soda fountain that has changed drink dispensing in movie theaters and other soda-thirsty locations.

    The machine features 165 different variations of Coca-Cola products: Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite and the company’s other brands. Consumers can add flavors to their base drink of choice.

    Upon review of purchase data, cherry was the number-one flavor added to Sprite. Thus, you can now buy Sprite Cherry and Sprite Cherry Zero in 20-ounce bottles in stores nationwide. The new flavor was a long time coming, but worth the wait.

    Theatre fans note: Formulations for the Freestyle dispenser and the bottled versions of Sprite Cherry and Sprite Cherry Zero vary a bit. The most obvious difference is that Sprite with added cherry flavor from the Freestyle produces a red-tinted drink, whereas bottled Sprite Cherry and Sprite Cherry Zero is clear.

    And LeBron James drinks it. See him at Sprite.com.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Seed & Mill Halva Is Halva Heaven

    Seed + Mill Halva

    Seed + Mill Halva

    Seed + Mill Halva

    Seed + Mill Halva

    Halva With Ground Coffee Beans

    Halva With Pop Rocks

    Halva Dessert Plate

    Halva Dessert Plate

    Halva Cake

    [1] Clockwise from top: rose, cinnamon, pistachio and coffee. [2] Chocolate chile halva. [3] Lavender halva. [4] From the front: chocolate orange, date, lemongrass and marble. [5] Caffeinated, with ground coffee beans. [6] Vanilla topped with Pop Rocks. [7] A halva dessert plate: mixed flavors and fruits. [8] Dessert plate of halva with dried fruit. [9] For a special occasion cake, just add a candle. All photos courtesy Seed + Mill.

     

    Halva versus halvah? Who cares how to spell it*, when it tastes this good.

    The sweet confection’s name derives from the Arabic word halwa, which means…sweet confection.

    The best halva we can imagine comes from a relatively new company, Seed + Mill, founded by three friends in New York City, one of whom grew up in Israel.

    The company was born when the latter friend couldn’t find quality tahini in the U.S., and decided to grind her own. Fresh tahini is ground on-site at their store in Chelsea Market, New York City, and sold along with other sesame-based products.

    The company says that theirs is the only store in the U.S. that solely purveys sesame seed products (although we noted a frozen yogurt machine with goat’s milk yogurt).

    While all products are excellent, our food-life-changing experience was engendered by the sesame-based confection, halva(h). Seed + Mill makes the most ethereal, exquisite halva we can imagine—and we have been halva-deprived, for reasons we’ll explain in a bit.
     
    ARTISAN HALVA

    Seed + Mill distinguishes its products using white sesame seeds from Ethiopia, considered the world’s best. Known for their richness of flavor, they are grown in the area of Humera, a city in the northwest corner of Ethiopia, at the borders of Sudan and Eritrea.

    Most of the sesame used for halva and tahini sold in the U.S. is made from seeds from India and Mexico, and are not as flavorful. Hence, our disappointment with the halva available to us.

    Seed + Mill’s sesame seeds are shipped from Humera to Israel, where they are roasted. Some stay in for a bit in Israel, to be ground in small batches and turned into halva. Whole roasted seeds are shipped to New York, to be ground into tahini.

    The halva is made by small Israeli producers to the company’s specifications. The producers use ancient artisan technique—no machines, but caldrons, paddles and troughs. The sugar is boiled and whipped into a foam that produces the melting lightness of the confection. Vigorous hand-kneading produces the finest, fluffiest halvah.

    Although halva is approximately half sesame paste and half sugar, you can assuage some of the guilt with sesame’s enviable nutrition† and heart healthy fats.

    The confection is only mildly sweet, the opposite of fudge and American candy bars.

    And let us add: Seed + Mill has as much in common with halva brands like Joyva as McDonald’s has with Per Se.

    Even the large halva cakes sold at Zabar’s and shops on the Lower East Side have become so mediocre through the use of cheaper ingredients, that we gave up eating halvah several years ago.
     
    THE HISTORY OF HALVA

  • Some scholars suggest that an early form of halva originated before the 12th century in Byzantium, the ancient Greek colony that later became Constantinople, and now Istanbul.
  • Evidence exists that the original was a somewhat gelatinous, grain-based dessert made with oil, flour and sugar.
  • The first written halvah recipe appeared in the early 13th century, and included seven variations.
  • In the same period, a cookbook from Moorish Spain describes rolling out a sheet of candy made of boiled sugar, honey, sesame oil and flour; sprinkling it with rose water, sugar and ground pistachios; and covering it with a second layer of candy before cutting it into triangles.
  • Halva spread across the Middle East to the Mediterranean, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In each locale, its name and ingredients changed slightly to include regional products.
  • Depending on local preferences, different recipes ground different seeds or nuts to make the halva. For example, Egyptians added pistachios, almonds or pine nuts. Indians flavored their halva with ghee, coconuts and dates.
  • Flour and oil disappeared from the recipe.
  • One recipe, made with sesame tahini, was favored by the Ottoman-ruled Romanians. Their Jewish population passed it on to Ashkenazi Jews throughout Europe. It was this sesame halva recipe that was brought to the U.S. in the early 20th century by Jewish immigrants.
  •  
    Here’s more halvah history.
     
     
    SEED & MILL’S MOST HEAVENLY HALVA

    Halva is made when tahini (ground sesame paste) is blended with sugar at a high temperature, and then hand-stirred.

    The company boasts 27 flavors, including two sugar-free varieties. They’re all available online, and the retail shop in Chelsea carries about ten them at a time. Some are seasonal; for example, expect cranberry in the fall and lavender in the summer.

    Wile many Seed + Mill flavors are vegan, about half of the flavors do include a bit of butter, which makes the halvah even lighter and melt-in-your-mouth. These are noted on the website.

    The non-butter flavors meet dietary preferences including dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo and vegan.

    If this seems like a lot of flavors, note that Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566), the Ottoman Empire’s longest-reigning sultan, had a special kitchen built next to his palace that was dubbed the helvahane, house of halva. It produced some 30 varieties of the confection.

    At Seed + Mill, you’ll find traditional and modern flavors:

  • Cardamom Halva
  • Chia Halva
  • Chili Chocolate Halva
  • Chocolate & Orange Halva
  • Chocolate Pistachio Halva
  • Cinnamon Halva
  • Coconut Dark Chocolate Halva
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter Halva
  • Dates Halva
  • Dulce de Leche Halva
  • Ginger Halva
  • Goji Berry Halva
  • Lemongrass Halva
  • Marble Halva
  • Mixed Chocolate Halva (dark, milk and white chocolate)
  • Nutella & Hazelnuts Halva
  • Pistachio Halva
  • Rose Oil Halva
  • Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Halva
  • Sweet Pecans Halva
  • Vanilla Halva
  • Whiskey Halva
  • White Chocolate & Lemon Halva
  • White Chocolate Raspberry Halva
  • Yummy Flaky Halva (for garnish)
  •  
    Sugar-Free Flavors

  • Sugar Free Coffee Halva
  • Sugar Free Pistachio Halva
  •  
    Seed + Mill is certified by United Kosher Supervision. You can purchase a piece as small as a quarter-pound, or order an entire halva cake.

    While you’re at it, treat yourself to a jar of the company’s rich, silky tahini in herb, organic and organic whole seed; and two sesame spices, mixes of sesame with salt or za’atar.

     

    RECIPE: HALVA ICED COFFEE

    Seed + Mill adapted this recipe from Ben of Havoc In The Kitchen. He found it in a Russian food magazine, where it was originally made with peanut halva.

    The shake-like drink does nicely as a snack, a dessert or, with the whiskey, an after-dinner drink.

    Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

  • 2 cups strong brewed coffee, chilled
  • 1/3 cup peanut or sesame halva
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • Optional: 2-3 tablespoons whiskey (or to taste)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the coffee, halva, ice cubes and ice cream in a blender. Process for 5 minutes or until smooth and foamy.

    2. STRAIN and discard the tiny pieces of halva and the coffee will be silky and smooth.

     

    Halva Iced Coffee

    [105] Serve halva iced coffee with alone or with halva dessert plate.

     
    3. RINSE the bowl of the blender, return the strained coffee and blend for another 2 minutes and to foam.
     
    ________________

    *The word is transliterated from Arabic, so either halva or halvah is correct.

    †Sesame seeds are one of the world’s healthiest foods. Here’s a nutrition profile.

      

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