Denver journalist Dyana Furmansky is working on her third book and has written many articles for The New York Times.
But the assignment that gives her the greatest gratification is the 58-word blurb she wrote for the purple-lidded canister of Foodman’s Matzolah, a maple and nut, matzah-based granola that is kosher for Passover.
Matzolah, which Furmansky calls “the Trail Mix of the Exodus,” won the Best New Passover Product for 2013 at the recent Kosherfest, the world’s largest kosher trade show.
“It’s only taken about 40 years to bring Matzolah to the marketplace,” she says.
The tasty product’s origins date to when Furmansky attended Michigan State University (MSU), and became close friends with Wayne Silverman and Scott Gantwerker, who were roommates.
“There were not many Jewish students at MSU,” she says. “Our friendship was based on telling each other corny Jewish jokes that no one else thought were funny.”
Even then Silverman was “a foodie,” she says. “He made the best granola, and at some point substituted matzah for oats for Passover consumption. Miraculously, it was still the best granola.”
After college Silverman, who lives in Georgia, went into Jewish communal work, but sent his matzah granola to friends and family every Passover.
Meanwhile, Gantwerker, who lives in Connecticut, became a “corporate foodie,” Furmansky says.
Gantwerker held executive positions in several major food companies.
“Based on Scott’s experience, he said Wayne’s Matzolah could be a commercial hit that people would want to eat year-round.”
The men quit their day jobs last year, established the Atlanta-based company Foodman LLC, and poured their energies into making Matzolah.
Furmansky and her husband Dr. Bert Furmansky joined Silverman, his wife Laura Silverman and Gantwerker as principal partners along with Streit’s Inc., which provides the matzah and its New Jersey plant to make Matzolah.
“Years ago I came up with the name Foodman for Wayne’s hypothetical company because of how much he loved to cook. He even used to commandeer our kitchen when he visited.”
The process of achieving Matzolah’s kosher certification for Passover has been a “lesson in perseverance,” Furmansky says.
“It’s given us a higher education in the laws of kashrut and ingredient sourcing, which is one of the reasons it has taken so long to bring to the public.”
Matzolah, which was mentioned in a recent New York Times article for its kosher for Passover certification, will be carried at some local stores. Furmansky will host a Matzolah tasting at Eastside Kosher Deli, Sunday, March 3.