Hannukah is the holiday of sufganiyot, but the days when these sweet treats were simple jelly donuts are long gone.
Bakeries now compete for who can offer the most elaborate -- if not decadent -- versions, even if they are practically impossible to eat without a knife and fork.
Below are some of the best to be found in central Israel; the bakeries -- all but one kosher -- are listed in alphabetical order.
And lest another great culinary tradition of the holiday be forgotten, the levivot (latkes) from the delicatessen of one of Tel Aviv’s most acclaimed chefs are included as a bonus.
Classic sufganiyot: Filled with strawberry jam, Belgian chocolate cream, crême pâtissière, dulce de leche
Specialty sufganiyot: The Bacci -- Belgian chocolate mousse filling, bittersweet chocolate frosting, chopped hazelnut topping; The Baffleh -- Belgian chocolate ganache filling, nougat frosting, wafer topping; The Pretzel -- Salted caramel cream filling, nougat frosting, pretzel crumble topping; The Bamba -- Peanut butter cream filling, white chocolate frosting, Bamba crumble topping; The Krembo -- meringue cream filling, bittersweet chocolate frosting, crunchy meringue sticks topping
Prices: Classic, NIS 5-6; Specialty, NIS 11
Biscotti. Kosher. Hayarkon 67, Bnei Brak. Tel. (03) 570-4015.
Bli Kemah (exclusively gluten-free)
Classic sufganiyot: Plain with powdered sugar coating, filled with strawberry jam, dulce de leche
Specialty sufganiyot: Up to 15 rotating varieties, including Tiramisu -- mascarpone cream filling, whipped cocoa ganache frosting, drizzled with coffee syrup; Strawberry cheesecake -- lemon cheesecake filling, fresh strawberry topping; Pistachio -- Sicilian pistachio cream filling, white chocolate frosting, chocolate disc topping; the White Mountain -- brandy whipped cream filling, chestnut cream frosting, chocolate chip topping.
Prices: NIS 9-14
Bli Kemah. Kosher (without certification, closed on Shabbat). HaBarzel St. 32, Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 744-8666.
Classic sufganiyot: Plain, filled with strawberry jam, dulce de leche, chocolate, vanilla, pistacho
Specialty sufganiyot: Brioche-style doughnuts with holes in the middle. Mister White -- crême pâtissière filling, vanilla frosting, coconut chips topping; Pink Lady -- raspberry ganache filling, raspberry frosting, chopped pistachio topping
Prices: Classic, NIS 5-8; Specialty, NIS 18
Dallal. Non-kosher (without certification, closed on Shabbat). Kol Israel Haverim St 7, Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 510-9292
Classic sufganiyot: (a.k.a., the Collage) Filled with strawberry jam from Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, halva cream
Specialty sufganiyot: Five varieties, including Cookies and Cream -- white chocolate ganache filling, Oreo cookie topping; Citrus Limoncello -- limoncello cream filling, citrus jelly frosti, dried orange topping; Gianduja chocolate -- Gianduja chocolate cream filling, chocolate frosting, chocolate macaroon topping; Baba Rum -- soaked in rum, cherry cream frosting, Amarena cherry topping.
Vegan sufganiyot: Halva cream filling, halva strands topping; Pretzel sweetened with silan, coated with sugar.
Prices: Classic, NIS 7-9; Specialty, NIS 12; Vegan NiS 9-11.
Metuka. Kosher. Herzl St. 18, Tel Aviv (plus three more branches). Tel. 1-700-723-723.
Classic sufganiyot: Filled with strawberry jam, dulce de leche
Specialty sufganiyot: 10 flavors, including Pecan Banoffee -- banana cream filling, caramel frosting, pecan praline topping; Isfahan -- mascarpone cream filling, raspberry frosting, strawberry topping; Saint Honore -- berry mascarpone cream filling, red chocolate frosting, profiterole topping
Artisan Edition: Three premium, including Truffle -- chocolate ganache filling, black frosting, bittersweet chocolate chip topping; Paris Brest -- blonde ganache filling, caramel frosting, whipped cream and hazelnut topping; Chouquette -- blonde ganache filling, bittersweet chocolate frosting, profiterole topping
Prices: Classic, NIS 6-7; Specialty, NIS 10-12; Artisan, NIS 14
Roladin. Kosher. Dozens of branches around the country. Renanim Shopping Mall, Raanana. Tel. (09) 744-4889.
Shemo (by TV celebrity Mickey Shemo)
Classic sufganiyot: Plain, filled with strawberry jam, chocolate frosted with sprinkles, sugar-free
Specialty sufganiyot: No fewer than 16 varieties, including Kremschnitt -- vanilla cream filling, white chocolate frosting, phyllo pastry shards topping; Bounty -- milk chocolate ganache filling, chocolate frosting, coconut chip topping; Ferrero Rocher -- praline cream filling, chocolate frosting, chocolate candy topping; Alfajores -- dulce de leche filling, dulce de leche frosting, toasted coconut topping; Pistachio Amarena -- pistachio cream filling, Amarena cherry frosting, chopped pistachio topping; Salted Caramel -- salted caramel cream filling, caramel frosting, grated chocolate topping
Prices: Classic, NIS 5-8; Specialty, NIS 8-15
Shemo. Kosher. 10 branches around the country. G Mall, Kfar Saba. Tel. (09) 777-8570
Sulica (by Chef Avi Bitton)
Four varieties of latkes, including classic Potato; Veggie -- zucchini, carrot and fresh herbs; Sweet Potato; Bulgarian Leek. The potato and sweet potato pancakes are gluten-free, but not made in a gluten-free environment.
Prices: NIS 9-12
Sulica. Kosher. Einstein St. 7, Tel Aviv. Tel. (03) 959-5525
First published: 13:36 , 12.29.19