It is the 7th year for the Richmond Jewish Food Festival… and it gets better every year.
The festival had it’s beginnings in the Kiniseth Beth Israel Temple… after 5 years, it got crowded and moved to The Weinstein Jewish Community Center. I had never been to this festival before and was expecting long lines to get the food. The line was long, but it went by swiftly.
As for food, they of course served traditional Jewish food of Eastern European origin, but also offered some Israeli food, which is more Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern in flavor. I opted for the traditional food: Brisket Dinner which was Brisket and 2 sides (a steal at $15!):
On the left is Cholent, which is a traditional Jewish stew made as an end-around of not being able to cook on the Sabbath since this stew could feed everyone for the whole day. It’s ingredients are as varied as the people who make it and can include, lentils, beans, rice, various meats (not pork, of course), rice, barley, oats, etc.
On the right is a Knish which is a filling inside of some dough that is either baked or fried. Mine was filled with what looked like Potato, but I guess it can contain everything from rice, to meat, to veggies.
There is of course the brisket, which is smoked beef.
The other sides that I got were the Cabbage Roll…. a ground beef, tomato, rice mixtures stuffed inside of cabbage which has become to underdog hit of the Jewish Food Festival over the years.
Also, no Jewish food festival is complete without Latke’s, the famous and delicious potato pancake.
We also got the Israeli sampler which was Shwarma (meat grilled on a rotating stick and shaved off and stuffed into a tortilla type thing) and Falafel (Mashed, fried Chickpeas). All with a bit of Hummus.
Entry to the event is free and the total for all of this food (and it was A LOT of food) plus two beers was $47. The Brisket Plate with 2 sides is only $13. A steal.
Bubbie’s Bakery provided lots of sweets and treats. Personally, I can’t go without some Baklava and a couple Macaroons.
What really struck me was how organized the whole thing was. There was a really long line that moved very fast. Once you got to the front, you were sent to a certain numbered booth (all of the booths sold the same thing) with your group to get your food, then there were 6 or 7 registers set up to take payments. It was all very streamlined which I’m sure was developed over several years of trial and error.
There was also several vendors selling various items, Jewish music, and some information on the Jewish culture.
Richmond actually has a long history of a Jewish population, but that’s another story for another post….
If you’re a local, or you are visiting Richmond, it’s definitely worth checking this delicious food festival out. You will not find good, homemade Jewish food like this anywhere else in Richmond.
And if you do… tell me where! at Matthew@richmondtourguys.com