Having already conquered the UK and other parts of the Middle East, chocolate shawarma has hit Israel.
The delicious confection combines the nation’s ancient love of food shaved off of a spinning spit and wrapped in a pita, and its relatively new passion for high quality chocolate.
Regular shawarma comes from a large hunk of lamb and beef pieces that roasts on a rotating spit (to ensure even cooking, and allow the rendered fat to marinate the meat). Slices are shaved off and served in a pita with condiments like tahini, hummus, Israeli salad, and others.
Thankfully, chocolate shawarma does not involve fatty pieces of meat or pickled condiments. Instead, a mix of white and milk chocolate is shaved off a refrigerated rotating spit, and served on a thick, freshly grilled crepe. According to Tablet Mag, toppings include “dulce de leche, maple syrup, halva, baby marshmallows, Adashim (essentially the Israeli version of M&M’s), whipped cream, chocolate sauce, nuts, granola, and chocolate sprinkles.”
It seems that the rotating spit isn’t actually necessary–the chocolate really could be shaved in any form. But this is vital to the shawarma branding.
Shawarma can probably be traced back at least to Turkish kebabs in the 18th century. But as another Tablet Mag article notes, fine chocolate is relatively new to the region. For years, Israel had only one main confectioner: Elite. But in 1996, two partners founded Max Brenner chocolatiers. The chain now has more than 50 locations around the world, including five in the US.
Max Brenner offers a “chocolate pizza” with chocolate, marshmallows, and peanut butter on a thin, cakey crust. Perhaps a more authentic take on the same idea will hit it big in Israel.