MatzoProject

Break the niche religious food barrier with The Matzo Project.

Matzo is a kind of food that people unwillingly eat as a part of their mandatory religious food consumption. The unleavened food is eaten by Jews during Passover. They eat it for eight days and rarely thereafter.

Two friends, Ashley Albert and Kevin Rodriguez, both New Yorkers, have vowed to change all that. With many hours of painstaking finetuning of recipes, they have discovered how to make a matzo that people will actually come to buy. Best of all, the new matzos can be instagrammed. Rodriguez and Albert wants to move the matzo out from a niche and religious ethnic food to a popular one. One other food item did that quite a few years ago is the pita chip.

Rodriguez and Albert know each other for a long time. They met at a summer kids camp in North Carolina 30 years ago. The pair reconnected when they became adults, seeing each other on a regular basis. Rodriguez initially experimented on a number of food products, including ice creams, but at Albert's insistence, looked for a food that can be palatable to all. The two settled on the Matzo.

For Albert, the matzo was not a food to be enjoyed. She recalled eating the unleavened bread when offered and singularly unimpressed by the flavor. Thus “The Matzo Project” came into existence in 2015.

For all its simplicity, matzo is extremely hard to make. They had to reinvent a dull product and make it more trendy and exciting. To do this, Rodriguez turned on to ancient recipes and made the product the traditional way. A lot of experimentation happened in the process. New flavors were introduced, like chocolate matzo buttercrunch and chocolate dipped matzo chips. Albert started to design the packaging.

After the recipe was perfected, and a striking packaging design confirmed, the duo still faced another hurdle: actual manufacturing. One big problem was getting “toast points”- the brown flecks which dot the cracker spines. They solved it by using an old style direct oven, and an extremely old salter.

The two maintain although their product is a matzo, it is not the matzo which will pass the kosher test for Passover. This is due to the fact that such food is prepared in strictly monitored and regulated facilities. They do not want to sell the matzo as a religious food, but as a snack which can be eaten all through the year.

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