Madison Trapkin Reviewed
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My favorite holidays have always been those that involve food. I take Thanksgiving prep very seriously (read: there are lots of lists) and all I ask of my husband on Valentine’s Day is a few bars of quality chocolate… and maybe also wine. I wasn’t raised in a super religious household, but my mom always made a point of observing the High Holy Days out of love for my stepdad and his family traditions. And not unsurprisingly, my favorite Jewish holidays were the ones that involved food, in particular the soft, cloud-like goodness that is challah.
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My lifelong challah obsession recently led me to discover Challah Dolly, a New York City-based challah company on a mission to to “make Jewish tradition ‘cool,’ modern, and accessible” by way of this dreamy loaf. Since challah is integral to the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday, I was eager to speak with the challah queen herself to find out her favorite items for celebrating the Jewish New Year.
About Challah Dolly
Founded by Dolly Meckler in March 2020—yes, right at the start of COVID-19—Challah Dolly began as an accident. “I’m a freelancer, so when COVID hit last year, no one was hiring freelancers, and I couldn’t find any work,” Meckler explains. “Everybody was baking bread all over my Instagram feed, so I wanted to try, too. I decided to bake challah bread simply because sourdough seemed way too complicated for me—someone who was a complete novice in the kitchen.”
Meckler documented her challah baking on Instagram, which is where she attracted her first customers.
“People replied to [my stories] asking if they could buy my loaves,” she says. “I was in business! From there, things just started to grow organically. All my sales were from word of mouth and social media, then I started to host pop-ups, and then I started to offer my loaves in retailers around NYC. I now ship nationwide, and I’ve shipped challah as far as Hawaii!”
When she isn’t baking specialty round challah loaves for Rosh Hashanah, she’s baking challah for every occasion.
“Challah Dolly is for people who love family/friend time, for people who love good food, and for people who want to adopt new traditions,” says Meckler. “It wasn’t until the last few years that I started to view Shabbat (and, frankly, my Jewish identity as a whole) as this really cool cultural tradition that encourages the idea of dedicated time with family and friends, around a table of delicious food, to wind down after a long week. It can be whatever you want to make of it. And it’s available for whoever wants to adopt this tradition.”
Here are Meckler’s High Holy Day must-haves for setting the table and enjoying a special meal, from her Instagram-famous challah, to maximalist housewares, and beyond.
Challah Dolly’s Round Challah
“First and foremost, there will obviously be Challah Dolly at my High Holy dinner,” says Meckler. “This year I’m offering round plain challahs and round honey cinnamon raisin challahs.”
The deadline for ordering round challah loaves from Cholly Dolly is Sunday, August 29, so be sure to get your holiday orders in ASAP. However, if you miss the boat on the holiday loaves, we recommend snagging a regular Challah Dolly whenever they’re in stock.
French Bull tableware
Since this holiday involves eating, you’ll definitely need to set the table. “My favorite flatware to use is French Bull—it’s so bright and happy, and makes any occasion more fun,” she says. “I’ll be using psychedelic French Bull Lazy Susans for my challah, French Bull floral dinner plates for the meal, and French Bull mini bowls for individual servings of apples and honey so people can dip as they please!”
- Get the French Bull Mini Bowls at Amazon for $18.98
- Get the 6-pack of French Bull Melamine Dinner Plates for at Amazon for $22
- Get the French Bull Lazy Susan at Amazon for $27.99
Raawii Strøm Small Bowl
“No Rosh Hashanah dinner would be complete without apples,” explains Meckler. “I’ll definitely be displaying a bowl of honey crisp apples on my vibrant and colorful table in this Raawii Strøm Bowl. I love the color and shape, and it’s the perfect size for decoration in your home or to place on a festive dinner table.”
As a fellow proud owner of this bowl (shoutout to my wedding registry), I can confirm that these bowls make an excellent statement piece when you’re not using them, as well as fully functional serving vessels.
Anna + Nina Flower Candle Set
“I unfortunately don’t own these, but I’m fantasizing about adding these floral candle sticks to my dinner table,” she says. Anna + Nina, the Italian brand behind these beauties, makes a variety of eclectic candles to suit every palate. (That is, as long as you’re not a minimalist.)
Estelle Colored Glass
“Another item on my wishlist is glassware from South Carolina based brand, Estelle,” Meckler says. “The fuchsia wine stemware glasses are so fab, and I’m also a fan of the mixed set.”
“Of course, this year I will be sporting my original Challah Dolly pendant by the female-owned jewelry company Garbage NY,” she says. “I worked with the ladies of Garbage to turn a photo of my traditional three-strand loaves into a rendering and mold, and then into a gluten-free, neck-ready Challah Dolly pendant. These are perfect for challah lovers!”
If earrings are more your speed, you’re in luck—Challah Dolly teamed up with Studs to make a downright adorable challah charm huggie.
- Get the Studs x Challah Dolly Challah Charm Huggie for $28
- Get the Garbage NY x Challah Dolly Challah Pendant starting at $58
“I know this isn’t quite a ‘table setting must-have,’ but if I’m hosting a party, my nails need to be party ready,” explains Meckler. “If you know anything about me, my nails are a staple to my look. I’m a sucker for pinks and reds, and I’m always on a mission to find the best pink. Recently I discovered my new favorite hot pink called Peace Out Purple by Color Club. Otherwise, I love colors like It’s Raining Men by Deborah Lippmann or Bath Bliss by See My Toes.”
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