Why does the Krembo – a delicate confection of marshmallow and chocolate – remind Israelis of their childhood? And why is it only available in the winter?
Krembo means ‘cream inside’ and it is a popular treat in Israel because it is only sold in the winter. The story goes that the owners of an ice cream factory were looking for something to make in the winter months when there was no demand for ice cream. In 1966 they developed a chocolate-covered marshmallow treat on a round biscuit base, which became a big hit with children and adults alike. Today it is available in vanilla and mocha flavors, wrapped in colorful foil and sold in boxes to protect its delicate dome-shaped structure. Because it is so fragile, every individual Krembo is wrapped by hand!
The Cult of the Krembo
The appearance of the first Krembo of the winter season is cause for excitement in many households and schools, because Krembos are only sold in Israel from October to February. Manufacturers report that 50 million Krembos are sold each year which works out at an average of 9 per person in the country!!
The fact that it is difficult to eat a Krembo without getting creamy marshmallow all over your face is another of the reasons that Israelis love it. 60 years after its invention, they are still arguing about the right way to eat it!
According to research carried out Strauss, Israel’s leading Krembo producer, 69% of Israelis prefer to eat Krembos from the top down, starting with the cream, and only 10% start eating the biscuit from the bottom, 11% said that they had no preference but would be willing to try another one to check!
Krembos are unique to Israel, but they can also be found in select parts of North America under an export agreement between Strauss and Unilever that only allows them to be sold in kosher supermarkets and during the winter months. Because of their associations with childhood, Krembos are avidly sought by Israeli expatriates who are nostalgic for the winter treats of their childhood.
If you are visiting Israel between October and February, we recommend that you try a Krembo. How will you eat yours?