This Sunday marks the start of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The eight-day festivity runs Dec. 2 to Dec. 10. Often called the Festival of Lights, it’s celebrated with the lighting of menorahs, gifts, gatherings and of course, traditional Hanukkah foods.
Want to learn a little more about what dishes you can expect for the holiday and where you can get them around Baton Rouge? Read on. Hanukkah Sameach!
Hanukkah food traditions
You will often see an abundance of fried foods during Hanukkah. Items like latkes—shredded potato pancakes—are fried in oil and used to remind those celebrating of the miracle of light, in which the Holy Temple only had enough oil to light the Menorah for one night, but it burned for eight.
There is typically a main meat dish at any Hanukkah celebration. Brisket is a popular choice because it’s a perfect hearty meat for the winter, but many other meats can be used, as well.
It is among tradition to eat dairy at some point throughout Hanukkah. This is to commemorate the Jewish heroine Judith, who defended her village against Babylonians by giving the enemy homemade cheese. Cheese trays are commonly set out well before the main meal.
Desserts also carry the tradition of being fried or cooked with oils. Some of the most popular desserts during the holiday are doughnuts or olive oil cake.
Traditional Jewish dishes like kugel, matzo ball soup and challah are all common at the Hanukkah table.
Where to get a taste of Hanukkah in Baton Rouge
Whole Foods Market for a variety of items
Whole Foods is not only offering ingredients to make dinner easy, but an entire traditional meal to simply heat and serve. Browse the holiday menu here. Currently, the Corporate Boulevard location is offering an entire Hanukkah dinner for eight, as well as an individual brisket and side dishes like potato latkes with applesauce to buy separately.
Cocha for sweet potato and beet latkes
While a traditional latke is made with regular potatoes, onions, flour and other seasonings, the downtown restaurant Cocha is changing it up with sweet potatoes and beets added right into the pancake treat. Cocha’s latkes are also topped with caramelized apple and crème fraiche for a refreshing amount of sweetness in every bite.
Milford’s on Third for matzo ball soup
The downtown deli serves up homemade matzo ball soup daily and also caters large batches of the dish for any event. Check out the delicious soup in the restaurant or explore its catering services.
CounterspaceBR for challah
The White Star Market bakery is offering challah, a braided Jewish bread that commonly graces the Hanukkah table. You can stop by to pick up a loaf, or preorder by messaging them on social media.