Everything old is new again. I’d be hard-pressed to name a traditional food that hasn’t been given the hipster spit-and-polish over the last decade. From poutine to pierogies, anchovies to apple cider, few stones have been left unturned in the quest to appropriate our edible heirlooms. Some of these things warranted improvement, while others were just fine as-is. But among these myriad items, I doubt many would argue that typical matzo crackers were already perfect.
Enter the “surprisingly delicious” Matzo Project, brainchild of Kevin Rodriguez and his friend Ashley Albert (owner of Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club and former frontman of kids’ band The Jimmies). With savvy marketing and a blitz of media attention, Matzo Project is upending Seders all over New York City. To my mind, the fledgling start-up’s success has as much to do with cutesy branding as it does with a truly superior product.
Before Matzo Project hit shelves (available in cinnamon sugar, salted and Russ & Daughters-inspired “everything”), Albert and company did extensive taste-testing and recipe tweaking. The end result is light and airy, flavorful and crisp. You would never refer to this as “edible cardboard,” or any of the other mean epithets that poor, beleaguered matzo has earned over the years.
The ultimate test: this morning I attended a Seder and ate a bit of the traditional supermarket-quality flatbread. It was as blandly neutral as I remember, eaten for ceremonial purposes—certainly not gustatory pleasure. And now, as I write this post, I’m nibbling on some of Matzo Project’s salted crisps as a snack. Conclusion: eminently tasty. I would eat this matzo by choice, something I’ve never said before. Get it!