It’s come out just in time for Chanukah, when Crembos generally enter the market, sort of as a side dish to the even more deadly sufganiyot, the jelly-filled doughnuts that are traditional Chanukah fare. According to local folklore, most folks tend to forgo ice cream during the cold, rainy months of the Israeli winter. There were years, in fact, when you couldn’t find ice cream at all during the winter. Enter the Krembo (as it can also be spelled.)Krembo or Crembo, which means “cream-in-it,” was first developed by the Danes and brought to Israel as a homemade sweet in the 1940s, before entering mass production twenty years later. These days, Israelis eat about 50 million of the metallic blue-wrapped confections each year, some nine per capita during the brief October-through-February season, and many of them those made by local food manufacturer Strauss, which seems to be making the Crembox as well.
Vanilla is the classic Krembo flavor, although there are those who favor mocha – other flavors never succeeded with local palates. If you want a more gourmet version, Israeli pastry chef Carine Goren uses chocolate-covered crisped rice and Nutella spread for the bottoms of her Krembos, with white chocolate and mocha cream in the middle, covered with a crunchy chocolate casing. Other recipes go for a more traditional shortbread cookie bottom and a fluffy egg white-based middle.
Given the soft inside and firm exterior, some say that the Krembo represents the ‘New Israeli.’ I call it the pseudo Sabra.