Yes, I created and make Gelt For Grown-Ups®. I make a lot of them. And, just to put it out there, if you’re a Jewish grandmother looking to marry off a son or a nephew: sorry. I’m taken. Seriously, ever since I created my own brand of gourmet Hanukkah coins, I’ve received more than a few of those matchmaking calls. I think it’s safe to say, Jewish moms really enjoy my gelt.
How did it all get started? I’ve got a thing with nostalgia. It flows through me. Holidays make it well up in a serious way. What Jewish child doesn’t sense magic in the foil-wrapped coins that automatically surface during Hanukkah? But, kids grow up. They develop higher standards for what they eat and suddenly, no matter the time of year, cheap chocolate is, well, cheap chocolate.
So, I developed a new kind of gelt for sophisticated tastes, molded to replicate an actual Judean coin dating back to the fourth decade BCE, and authentic all the way: we selected a coin from the line of kings that began with Judah Maccabee’s brother, Simon. The coins are made in three flavors: dark chocolate (64%) with sea salt, dark chocolate (64%) with cocoa nibs, and milk chocolate. Then, possibly because I have a serious thing for jewelry, I airbrush them in edible gold and silver.
I first thought up and produced Gelt For Grown-Ups® in 2012 and didn’t realize how quickly they’d catch on. I was ready to sell 400 boxes, then the venerable Florence Fabricant wrote about them in The New York Times and I got more than 1,000 orders the next day. It was a thrilling challenge to say the least. So, I did what has been happening for ages: I recruited the Bubbes and assembled a line of Jewish grandmothers to help package and ship the gelt that year.
The rest, as they say, is history. These days, I mint enough chocolate coins to confidently say I’ve created my own chocolate currency. What else can I say but ‘Pass the gelt and Happy Hanukkah!’?
Quick Note: Gelt For Grown-Ups® are certified kosher dairy by the Chicago Rabbinical Council.