Friday, December 27, 2013


Challah bread, once a staple of the Jewish community, now gets placed at your table at most diners and considered the best for indulging in a great French Toast.   In most cases this sweet bread comes in the form of a traditional braided loaf and given the choices of plain with poppy or sesame seeds covering the top, or with raisins.  

Over at Violet’s pareve kosher bakery the shapes and varieties are more unusual since her son Michael has formed a business within called, Challywood.   You might have heard the name as the ABC show The Chew got word of a particular flavor of apple cinnamon, ventured over to do an interview, and satiated it on air.  It was obvious how much they enjoyed it as most of the hosts were coming up with both breakfast and dessert ideas.

Michael Kahan left his Wall Street career to assist his parents, Violet and Marty, in what seemed to becoming a failing business and in came a TLC (The Learning Channel) program Bakery Boss to “rescue”.   The most important changes were made and Challywood was featured.

“When eating Challah, it is customary to break off small rounded pieces from the braided loaf instead of slicing it. With this in mind, the more modern version of Challah can be found in a rounded version baked in a tin pan. This “Pull-Apart Challah” has gained popularity over the last 2 decades.”
One day, Michael added lemon and found how good it tasted.  That started the idea of the bakery’s expansion and added name of Challywood. 

Having watched the segment on tv, I went over to the location at 189-09 Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows to view both signs of Violet’s Bake Shop and Challywood.   Although Challywood’s address is 189-07, the only entrance at this point is into the bakery. 

I met the family and toured the back where two bakers were at work just tending to some of these “Pull-Aparts”, piping in the “flavors” prior to the baking.   Another employee was focused on making the pastries. 

A bit too early for the “fresh out of the oven” I viewed several of the “bun” ilk already packaged.   Needless to say I had to sample some of them beginning with the apple cinnamon.   This is where challah bread crosses with a Danish but not as sweet nor crusted.

I’ve never had bread made with chocolate.  OMG.  Only dark chocolate is used at a pareve bakery and it suited me just fine.  Cocoa baked in the bread itself and then drizzled with chocolate.  They do have a Chocolate Chip as well. 

Other “sweet-dessert type” flavors include: blueberry splash, cherry, chocolate cherry, chocolate coconut, raspberry, chocolate raspberry and lemon chip. Imagine your own creations of bread puddings. 

Let’s not put aside the more savory flavors such as Southwestern Spice, Garlic and Italian Herb and Everything…superb choices for the dinner table.  Meatballs with pasta anyone? 

Challywood’s website provides further information on the products as well as the ability to shop and have your order delivered.  Think of friends and family from “out of town”.  You may want to call 718-776-1905 before popping in to see if the more special ones are available. 

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