The Matzo Project, a line of cutely packaged matzo products, are made in a Kosher bakery in Brooklyn and may be the first update to the ol’ matzo cracker in centuries.
The Matzo Project Artisanal Matzo Products
Wanting to improve upon the fairly tasteless unleavened bread, Summer Camp friends Ashley Albert and Kevin Rodriguez set out to bake a new version – and they succeeded. A better, fresher tasting take on the traditional bread of affliction, their crackers and chips are seasoned, crunchy, versatile and poised to take their place among the fancier flatbreads in your grocery.
The Matzo crackers and chips are available in three flavors: salted, cinnamon sugar and everything-plus-two (a dash of paprika and chili flake to the traditional blend of poppy, sesame, minced onion, garlic and salt).
Although not kosher for Passover, the seasoned matzos and matzo chips are now available nationwide and will soon be joined by a Matzoball Soup Kit, Chocolate Matzo Butter Crunch and Chocolate dipped Matzo Chips (a collaboration between The Matzo Project and a well-established chocolatier in Brooklyn).
Emblazoned with typical back-handed Jewish mother comments (“Eat something, you look skinny”, “Call your mother”, “Would it kill you to try something new?”, “So now you can cook. Such a Bigshot”, and “You could visit every once in awhile.”), the illustrated boxes and packaging are a hoot.
The products are getting buzz and some impressive reviews from the likes of Oprah, The New York Times and more.
As they tell it, Ashley had been tinkering with the idea of updating matzo for nearly 20 years and casually mentioned it to Kevin when they were chatting about him making a change.
In 30 years of friendship it never occurred to us to become business partners… Until we realized that, in 90 years, it never occurred to anyone else to make a better tasting matzo.
Kevin went out and bought a bag of flour that afternoon and began experimenting in his kitchen…the two would taste test Kevin’s recipes while Ashley starting sketching out plans for The Matzo Project’s branding and packaging. That work led to their muse – the grandmother on their box – asking “WOULD IT KILL YOU TO TRY SOMETHING NEW?”.
After selling out their first trial batch in a single day, the two friends moved out of their tiny commissary kitchen and into a larger Kosher bakery in Brooklyn to take their unleavened show on the road.
In the past few months, The Matzo Project has been embraced by the cracker-eating big shots at the James Beard House, Balaboosta Soho and the Conan O’Brien Green Room, and they are now poised to delight shoppers at specialty stores around the country (complete list here).
While traditional matzo currently languishes in the Ethnic Food Section, their hope is to help it claim its rightful spot in the Cracker Aisle, right next to the Rosemary Pita Chips and the Gorgonzola Fig Toast.
Their parents think it’s a really good idea.