Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BEFORE YOU LIFT YOUR GLASS: FACTS & FACTOIDS ABOUT KOSHER WINE

L’chaim! You're about to toast your favorite couple on their newfound marriage. You know that the wine in your glass is kosher, but what does that mean?

• To be considered kosher, a Sabbath-observant Jew must be involved in the entire wine-making process, from the time of harvest to the actual bottling. Then, there is kosher wine and kosher Mevushal wine…. Wine that is Mevushal (goes through a heating process) can be poured by a non-observant Jew and still remain kosher. That’s why most restaurants and caterers serve only wine that is Kosher Mevushal.

• Only certified Kosher products such as yeast and filtering agents can be used during the preparation of the wine

• Kosher law does not prohibit the use of specific wine styles, grape varieties or origin

• No animal products may be used during the production of the wine.

• Grapes that come from brand new vines cannot be used when the wine is being made. After the fourth year they become eligible to use; however, every seventh year the fields must be fallow.

• Champagne refers only to wine bottled in the Champagne region of France – and while there are several Kosher Mevushal Champagnes, they do tend to be rather expensive. No worries – plenty of Sparkling Wine (the terminology for all bubbly wine produced outside of Champagne) absolutely fit for a l’Chaim.

• On Shabbat, obligatory blessings called Kiddush are required over cups of kosher wine or grape juice.

• Juice from approximately 600 grapes is required to make a single bottle of wine!

Now you know a little bit more about the wine with which you’re about to toast, stand up, say a few nice words about your loved ones and enjoy a sip!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where To Celebrate?

Selecting the venue for your celebration is so important – first and foremost, your venue creates an atmosphere for your wedding – a modern loft, a historical hall, an elegant hotel, a warm synagogue….

Then there are all the logistics…. Below are some tips and tricks to help assist you in finding the perfect kosher venue for your big day.

Catering

Catering is a very visible component of your event, comprising both the food and service that will greet your guests. Some venues will have an exclusive kosher caterer and many offer a panel of approved kosher caterers. If you already have selected a caterer, you will need to make sure they can work at your venue. Since each venue has its own regulations and “quirks,” selecting a caterer who has prior experience in the venue, is a definite plus!

What kitchen facility is available? Is there sufficient refrigeration for an outside kosher caterer to use? Will the venue permit the kosher caterer to kasher the ovens?

As an upscale kosher catering company, Esprit is constantly expanding our relationship with a variety of venues – different styles, different price points, different locations – so that we can assist our clients in finding the perfect locale!

Capacity

Naturally weddings range in sizes from small intimate parties to large grandiose events. Make sure that the venue has sufficient capacity to accommodate the type of service you are envisioning. For example, is there a separate area for the Chuppah and the Cocktail? Is the dining room large enough to comfortably seat all your guests and allow dancing?

Cost

The cost of wedding venues varies depending on the specifications of your event and on the venue’s going rate. Before choosing your venue it is important that you work out the details of your wedding budget and narrow down what price range you are looking for.

Some venues will provide the bar (make sure it’s kosher!) and all your waiters, bartenders and Maitre d’. If you’re paying the venue for these services, you can deduct them from the catering bill!

Also, January through March are slower months and mid-week celebrations may also result in more favorable pricing. Never be afraid to ask for a better rate!

Appearance

Of course the venue’s appearance will play a big part in your final decision - take into consideration the venue’s d├ęcor, lighting and overall structure. You want those photographs to turn out well! Check out the acoustics if music is key to your celebration. Remember to also check the restroom facilities, as these will be used by your guests.

Parking

Is parking available? Does the venue offer valet service? Can your guests easily use public transport?

Overall, these tips are fairly straight forward but can be a lifesaver during the hectic wedding planning season. We want to ensure that your event goes as smoothly as possible! Also remember to look up reviews, ask for recommendations and determine whether or not the venue has hosted kosher weddings before. Mazel tov!