A Fun Passover Cocktail: Red Wine Sangria with Fruit Jelly Slices
the fruit jelly slice is to passover what peppermint bark is to christmas. this is more than a little depressing, mainly because peppermint bark is what one might call “delicious,” and fruit jelly slices are what one might call “sort of tolerable but only if there is absolutely no other food option and also you happen to not have taste buds.”
even more depressing when you consider that peppermint bark is, in fact, kosher for passover.
it all seems a bit masochistic.
so how, you ask, did we end up with the fruit jelly slice, and not…literally anything else? well, that’s actually a very long story, and the history of it all dates back to the 15th century. but if you’re curious, here’s the juiciest part of the tale, courtesy of the forward:
The sugar-selling business, not a little ironically, follows the rule of survival of the fittest. Many candies die out; the fruit jelly slice — which is too delicate for easy transportation — should have gone extinct in the mass market long ago. What saved it was a gelling agent called agar agar; it’s used in jelly slices and little else. Normally this would be academic, but on Passover it makes all the difference: Since agar agar is derived from seaweed, it’s okay to use.
…Tradition is quirky; the bigger our universe, the quirkier it gets. The best we can do it enjoy its fruits.
shadowy origin and less-than-wonderful taste aside, i have to admit that i’ve always found fruit jelly slices to be pretty dang cute. i mean, LOOK at them. they’re cartoonish levels of cheerful, and honestly, those bright colors are a welcome contrast to the brown-beige color scheme of your typical seder table.
so, when i spied them in miniature form (!!!!!) this past week at balducci’s (a fancy food shop here in NYC), i nearly passed out with joy. and when i tracked them down later that same evening on amazon, i knew exactly what had to be done.
sangria, that’s what.
i mean, it’s passover! wine is flowing. and i can’t imagine a better fate for these little guys than living a happy second life as drink garnishes. it’s the easiest way to include them in your seder while also shielding your guests from feeling any pressure to actually, you know, eat them.
because that, friends, is a fate i would not wish on the pharaoh himself.
if you’re throwing this together last-minute, though, and you don’t have time to order them, that’s fine, too! you can hack it using the regular size (likely available in your local supermarket around passover time…or stowed away in some dusty corner of your pantry from, like, eight years ago). just cut each piece in half, then make a cut halfway to the “rind” from the pointed part and slip that onto your drink glasses.