I was never much of a fan of babka…until I tried Green’s Bakery. Holy shit.
Green’s is a Brooklyn-based kosher bakery that makes some pretty well-liked babka—and rugelach and hamantaschen and cookies and cakes, etc. On their website, they identify themselves as nut-free, but only on the pages for some products, so I called to clarify, and I was told more than once that they don’t use any nuts in their bakery, and that every product is nut-free. I also sent an email with a few more questions, and received the following reply:
We do not use or have any nuts in our facility…We dont know [if we use any ingredients that may have come into contact with nuts]. We buy our ingredients directly from the manufacturers. We are unsure if they have. We sell them for over 10 years to people with allergies and we have never received any complaints.
Not ideal, but not the end of the world—in my eyes, at least. I’ve gone ahead and categorized Green’s as “truly nut-free,” as a nut-free facility is enough for me, but I felt I should provide this bit of information so you can make your own informed decision.
(If I were to only eat at places that had no nuts in the kitchen and that thoroughly vetted all of their vendors, I’d—well, I’d have very few places to eat. But that’s just me. I’m comfortable pretty much anywhere that calls itself nut-free, that keeps nuts out of its kitchen, and/or that has a lot of experience dealing with the nut-allergic population.)
Onto the food, though: I ordered the chocolate babka and some vanilla rugelach off their website. Then, in a shocking turn of events, I got impatient…and went to Fairway…and bought one of each Green’s product they had in stock (one chocolate babka, one bag of chocolate rugelach). And as if that weren’t enough, I hate half the bag of rugelach on my train ride home. (Patience, apparently, is a virtue I have not exercised enough.)
The babka is incredible, with a nice, chewy texture and huge veins of high-quality chocolate throughout. It’s very moist, and I like it best cut into super-thick slices with a glass (or two!) of milk on the side. The rugelach are great too—they’re just dense enough, and both the vanilla and the chocolate are pleasantly sweet without bordering on overkill. And both the babka and the rugelach taste homemade, which is pretty impressive, given how much of this stuff Green’s churns out each day.
Seriously: Green’s is awesome. And it isn’t just me who thinks so. Check out their Yelp reviews. Or their Amazon reviews. Or this article from Serious Eats, which dubs Green’s babka the best traditional babka in NYC. Seriously. Places like Zabar’s, Dean & Deluca, Katz’s Deli, and Russ & Daughters unwrap this stuff and sell it as their own—usually without crediting Green’s. It’s good. Good enough for Green’s to have come into a babka monopoly.
And by some Jewish miracle, it’s all nut-free.
My mouth is watering. Here’s to hoping I have the patience to keep me away from Fairway until my delivery arrives.
Find Green’s at Fairway, Whole Foods, and apparently, everywhere else. (And, of course, their website, where they also sell all their other products.)