A friend of mine described tasting some chocolate as "more" - as in, each bite makes him want more chocolate. That's how I like to think about Hanukkah: It creates more opportunities for chocolate! Here are eight ideas to add more chocolate to each night's celebration of Hanukkah.
1. On the first night, sing Woody Guthrie's "Hanukah Gelt" song.
Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics for a number of celebratory Hanukkah songs collected as "Happy Joyous Hannukah" by the Klezmatics in 2006. Guthrie came to know Coney Island's Jewish Community through his mother-in-law, the Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt, when he moved to Brooklyn in 1942.
These songs were discovered in 1998 by his daughter, Nora Guthrie, who then requested that the Klezmatics record them. Check out Woody Guthrie's freilach "Hanukkah Gelt" (and, if you'd like, read the lyrics).
2. On the second night, bake peanut butter Hanukkah gelt cookies.
Meld Thanksgiving with Hanukkah's second night by enjoying two native American foods, peanuts and chocolate, in these Peanut Butter Hanukkah Gelt Cookies. This easy treat maintains the shape of the chocolate gelt on top of the peanut butter cookie.
3. On the third night, compare gelt samples.
Run a taste-test of several different chocolate gelt options. Rate the quality of the taste, the crunch, and the social justice aspects of the chocolate. Is it a kosher product? Fair trade? Is the chocolate milk or dark? Are there other unusual ingredient add-ins? Is it organic chocolate? Is the company concerned with green packaging?
4. On the fourth night, discuss child slavery in some chocolate-growing countries.
As Hanukkah nights deepen into winter, take in some knowledge about the tragedy of child slavery and labor in chocolate growing countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast. Watch one or more of the following videos:
- The Dark Side of Chocolate is an investigation into trafficking of children in cacao plantations of West Africa.
- Cocoa Slave Tastes Sweet Freedom is about the rescue of a 12-year-old slave on a cocoa farm and his reunion with his mother.
- Chocolate: The Bitter Truth of Child Trafficking is a five-part documentary report from the BBC.
5. On the fifth night, explore fair trade Hanukkah gelt.
When celebrating Hanukkah's messages of liberation from tyranny, learn about fair trade chocolate, and make a commitment to fair trade Hanukkah gelt. Consider how the Hanukkah values apply to our selection of gelt.
Read "How Fair Trade Gelt Embodies Hanukkah's Message," then use very readable and accessible materials available online at Spinning the Dreidel for Chocolate Gelt and Fair Trade Judaica.
6. On the sixth night, rap with gelt.
Check out "Chocolate Coins," Eric Schwartz's music video about Hanukkah gelt to tack onto your candle lighting for the sixth night. Maybe you will also create your own song or video!
7. On the seventh night, try chocolate latkes.
Here's another opportunity to combine New World foods, specifically potatoes and chocolate. Try sprinkling cocoa nibs, chocolate shavings, or chocolate chips on your latkes; drizzle some chocolate sauce over them; or mix cocoa nibs into the latke batter and then fry. Here's our favorite basic latke recipe to get you started.
8. On the eighth night, make your own chocolate gelt.
Happy chocolatey Hanukkah!