For many New Orleanians, the best source for Jewish holiday cooking is their own kitchen. For Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, however, there are a growing number of stores and restaurants offering kugel, honey cake and other holiday standards. Rosh Hashana, a new year's observation, begins on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 29, and Yom Kippur, a day of atonement, begins on the evening of Oct. 8.
One traditional holiday item is challah bread made in a round shape, instead of the standard oblong braid. For the holidays, the loaves often are studded with raisins, the circle signifying the continuous cycle of life, or as some believe, a year of blessings.
Several local groceries offer round challahs during the holidays, including Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Robert Fresh Market and, by special order, Dorignac’s Food Center.
Maple Street Patisserie (7638 Maple St., 504-304-1526) will offer round challahs as well as honey bread and assorted rugelach. Bywater Bakery (3624 Dauphine St., 504-336-3336) will offer Rams Horn challah for Rosh Hashanah from Friday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 30 in plain, apple and raisin flavors.
Gracious Bakery and Cafe (various locations) is baking walnut-apricot rugelach, honey-lavender brioche and brown butter honey tea cakes as well as round challahs. Stein’s Market & Deli (2207 Magazine St., 504-527-0771) also makes round challahs in plain and raisin flavors but requires advance orders. La Boulangerie (4600 Magazine St., 504-269-3777) is offering round challah by advanced order.
Saba (5757 Magazine St., 504-324-7770) is offering a Rosh Hashanah board that features a round braided challah with nigella, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds and pumpkin seeds, braised lamb shoulder with pomegranate molasses, pumpkin tershi with paprika and fenugreek, labneh with Louisiana honey, date butter with urfa, and a wood-roasted apple with a honey-tahini dressing and pumpkin seeds.
In Metairie, Kosher Cajun New York Deli & Grocery (3519 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-888-2010) carries a range of traditional foods from brisket to matzo ball soup as well as challahs in a variety of sizes and with toppings, including poppy and sesame. Casablanca Restaurant (3030 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-888-2209) offers a full menu of kosher holiday specialties as does Dvash Kosher Catering.
Apples and honey, Rosh Hashana staples eaten in anticipation of a good year to come, don’t require special sourcing.