Does good Passover matzah exist?
To some, this question is an oxymoron. For these folks, edible matzah doesn’t exist; it’s a bland, stale cracker that you’re forced to eat once a year, and even then out of protest. To you I say: Matzah is awesome! No, really, I love it. I eat it all year round (but mainly the matzah that’s not kosher for Passover, which tastes even better).
Until you embark on a matzah-tasting journey, you don’t even realize the variety of kosher for Passover matzah on the market. So allow me to take you on a very savory, very crumbly journey, in which I eagerly try 15 variations, all so you don’t have to. You may be wondering: How, exactly, do you capture the essence of what makes matzah delicious? Well, great matzah isn’t just about taste, because even I will admit that matzah with nothing on it isn’t that appealing. What makes matzah delicious is what you put on it. So, in addition to tasting it plain, I also sampled these with a variety of toppings, including hummus and spreadable cheese, because I wanted to see how each piece stood the test of the topping. Did it collapse into a pile of crumbs? Hold itself together? Read on to find out.
This is the classic when I think about matzah, especially since it was the one my family consumed every year while I was growing up. It’s solid and inexpensive. It holds up well to toppings, which, as I learned this week, is important to my business attire.
Pro: What you’d know from trying so many matzah varieties in quick succession is that the consistency often differs from box to box in some brands. But not here; you can tell they have an amazing factory just shooting this stuff out.
Con: Eaten by itself, it tastes of air and nothingness.
I didn’t even realize the regular version wasn’t already “organic.” Whatever they did to make this more organic works, since it looks, feels and tastes less factory-produced.
Pro: If the pristine nature of the regular version bothers you, this is a good alternative.
Con: It’s much more delicate than the original, especially if you’re trying to spread something on it.
If you just need something that people will recognize as matzah and you don’t care about how the box looks or whether it holds up under spreading, this will certainly do. It doesn’t taste terrible, but it doesn’t bring anything to the table either. It literally is what it is.
Pro: If you’re using this matzah as the afikoman, you can hide it in multiple places because these pieces are definitely not sticking together.
Con: The terrible box design won’t close, and all the pieces come in one wrapper, so there’s no freshness guarantee here.
Osem is a new brand for me, but I like it already. It has more of a matzah smell, if that makes sense, and holds together well without feeling overly produced.
Pro: It holds up fairly well to spreading.
Con: I couldn’t open this box without tearing up the whole thing! Do they expect people to eat the entire box in one sitting? Maybe.
If you’re looking for matzah that’s not too fragile and not too over-produced, this is it. It’s not as strong as Manischewitz Matzos, but it tastes better and is stronger than its Yehuda Matzos counterpart.
Pro: It might be the most delicious of the matzot without any topping.
Con: Its stupid box! Why?! Why have you forsaken us, oh God?
Going in, this was my original favorite. It’s light, but with a stronger flavor than its plain counterpart. However, that comes at a price—not a monetary price, but the inability to hold up to any topping.
Pro: It’s a great alternative to plain.
Con: It will collapse in your hand the second you touch it.
This is disappointing. It has the lightness of egg matzah without any of the flavor, and it costs more than the brand’s plain version.
Pro: It tastes like something.
Con: It doesn’t taste like egg matzah.
This might be my new personal favorite. Osem is clearly trying to usurp my love for Manischewitz. Well played, Osem, well played. This has more egg flavor but is still pretty fragile.
Pro: It’s a good middle ground on quality versus consistency.
Con: Again, the box is terrible! Why is this so hard?!
If buying whole wheat items is your thing, this matzah will do. Although when people talk about matzah tasting like cardboard, they might be thinking of this one. From the moment you open the box, it smells like cardboard. It doesn’t actually taste that bad, but the smell is hard to get over.
Pro: Whole wheat is good for you, right? Sure, let’s go with that.
Con: It costs more than the brand’s plain version.
This has a cardboard-y smell and taste, but somehow it’s more appealing than Streit’s Whole Wheat Matzos. Also, it holds up well under spreading.
Pro: It’s not actually cardboard.
Con: It’s pricier than the brand’s plain version.
This matzah is delicious! Does it taste like matzah? Sort of. What it does taste like is a very delicious cracker. If you’re lucky enough to find it, buy it.
Pro: It’s funny that one of the gluten-free options is the most delicious. We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?
Con: It’s hard to come by. (I found a handful at Wegmans in Chestnut Hill.)
I give them credit for the name; this does feel like “matzo-style squares.” The best way to describe it? If a Pringle and a Frito had a baby, and that baby inherited the things you like least about Pringles and Fritos. It’s not that bad, but it tastes weird. And it’s quite the delicate flower.
Pro: If you have Celiac disease, here you go!
Con: It’s not as good as the Manischewitz Gluten Free Garlic and Rosemary Matzos.
This is literally what cardboard tastes like. You, Holy Land Matzo, are why people don’t like matzah. On the other hand, this is probably the closest you’ll ever get to tasting biblical matzah.
Pro: If you ever wondered what matzah from the Torah might have tasted like, you’re in luck!
Con: It’s at least $20 a box. I mean, I get it, but $20?! Also, it tastes terrible.
I’m not going to get into judging whether this matzah is truly shmura matzah or not (it’s machine-made rather than handmade), but it tastes better than Holy Land Matzos and costs a lot less. So, if you need to go shmura, go Osem!
Pro: It has all the benefits of shmura matzah without the terrible taste.
Con: You might get into an argument with a rabbi about the legitimacy of this matzah.
If you need dessert matzah and don’t want to make it yourself, this will do. It’s very delicate and falls apart quickly, but if you love chocolate you’ll love this.
Pro: It’s chocolate!
Con: For this price, you can dip your own matzah in chocolate.