Is it better from the box? For the third year, Forest Trace, Lauderhill’s resort retirement community, will sponsor the Annual Golden Matzah Bowl. The competition, scheduled for 11:00 am, Thursday, March 22, highlights the best professionally-made matzah balls in South Florida, as well as the best homemade matzah ball recipes.
“Our 2011 Golden Matzah Bowl was the perfect prelude to Passover and a wonderful charitable event,” explained Owner’s Representative Stanley Rosenthal. “So this year we figured, why not keep the matzah balls rolling?”
So here is the perfect Passover question: What makes this year’s competition different?
For 2012, the community has included a “boxing match,” a Facebook contest in which the public votes for their favorite matzah ball mix from a box, Streit’s or Manischewitz. The boxing theme is reinforced with a contest for the best matzah ball recipe using a boxed mix as a base and the presence of several boxing personalities, both as judges and honorary octogenarians.
Judges include Sam Cohen, a former boxing manager and current vice president of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame; Matt Baiamonte, new owner of the 5th Street Gym: Elaine Grossinger Etess, daughter of the famous hotelier and cookbook author Jennie Grossinger: Sun Sentinel Food Columnist Claire Perez, Edith Lederberg, executive director of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County; Chef Alan Bergman; Howard Rosenthal, COO of the TV personality Mr. Food brand; and John Beckford, chief of staff for Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness.
“Our panel of judges is as diversified as our resident population,” explained Mr. Rosenthal.
A national call for the best homemade matzah ball recipe, from scratch and using a “boxed” mix, was posted on the Forest Trace community Facebook page and in local print and online media. The 2012 winners will be announced at the Golden Matzah Bowl, with a $180 donation made to charity. The community also sponsored a 10-day Facebook contest (aka boxing match) during which the public voted for their favorite matzah ball mix from a box. A daily winner was chosen and each winner received a $25 gift certificate to either Publix or Target.
Eight restaurateurs are participating in the Golden Matzah Bowl and will compete for the title of “Best All-Around Matzah Ball,” including Ally’s Comfort Café (last year’s grand prize winner), Ben’s Deli, Josh’s Deli and Appetizing (opening April 2012 in Surfside) Mo’s Bagels, Pastrami Club, Sage Deli, TooJays and Zinger’s Deli. Two hundred residents and invited guests, as well as selected judges, will rate the matzah balls and vote for “Best Floater,” “Best of Broward,” “Chef’s Choice,” “Most Like Mom’s,” “OOH IT’S SO GOOD!! “People’s Choice,” etc. The “Best All-Around Matzah Ball” chef will receive a $500 check for charity.
“No one is “down and out” in this contest where every participant is recognized with an award,” explained Executive Director Campbell Epes III. “We love the way this event has turned from just a Passover matzah ball contest to a nationwide ‘boxing match’ with matzah ball makers from across the country sending in recipes from scratch and using boxed mixes.”
Two South Florida octogenarians will be presented with “Turn Back Time” awards at the event, for changing the stereotype of aging. Sam Cohen, vice president of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame and a former boxing manager, and Jimmy Haigy, a former amateur and professional fighter, who currently works for the Lee County Sheriff’s office as a bailiff, will receive their awards from 5th Street Gym owner, Matt Baiamonte.
Admission for residents and guests is a box of matzah ball mix. The boxes will be donated to WECARE, the Broward organization that distributes food baskets to needy families for Passover.
“Charitable giving is an essential part of our community’s personality, “explained Campbell Epes III. “At the end of the day, it’s all about what we can do for others, not just the enjoyment we experience ourselves.”
Forest Trace is a luxury resort senior community situated on a scenic and tropical 73-acre campus with a 30-acre lake, flora and trees. Conveniently located at 5500 NW 69th Avenue in Lauderhill, just west of Fort Lauderdale, the community features 324 spacious apartments with balconies in a private, secure setting. For more information about Forest Trace, visit www.ForestTrace.com or call 954.572.1800.