You can expect L.A. to have more Passover seders, starting April 3, than anywhere in the country besides New York. Covenant winemaker Jeff Morgan is coming to L.A. to team up with Top Chef alumni Alex Reznik of Ditmas Kitchen & Cocktail for an incredible pre-Passover warm-up on March 26. The night will feature Covenant’s top-notch wines, which happen to be kosher, and Reznik cooking a meal inspired by Morgan’s new cookbook, The Covenant Kitchen: Food and Wine for the New Jewish Table.
“We’ll be pairing our Mensch and Tribe wines—Chardonnay, Roussane, and our Proprietary Red—a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel,” Morgan says.
Morgan is a former wine journalist (he was the West Coast editor for Wine Spectator) who, about a decade ago, decided to make great wine that was also kosher. He now creates 14 different wines in his new Berkeley winery and continues to surprise the wine world with innovative bottles well-suited to fine dining. The Covenant Kitchen, co-authored by his wife Jodie, offers readers a blueprint for eating well at home—whether they are kosher or not—and at the same time integrates wine into daily home meals.
“The Covenant Kitchen,” Morgan explains, “is not so much about traditional Jewish cuisine. It’s really more a reflection of the way we eat at home—a kind of homage to all the places we have lived or spent a lot of time, like France, Israel, and California. In a sense, the book reframes and refreshes the way people—especially those with a Jewish lifestyle—can eat and drink at their home table.”
Two classic dishes for Passover are gefilte fish and matzo ball soup, and Morgan and his wife have given them a “refreshed” second act.
“We generally don’t like buying canned foods,” Morgan says, “so we make our own gefilte fish with salmon in the style of a French quenelle. White wine or rosé is de rigeur. Horseradish is forbidden. And while we also like traditional matzo ball soup made with chicken broth, we make a matzo ball fish soup with aioli that reminds us of the years we lived in the south of France. Again, white wines and rosé are terrific here, or a light-bodied red such as Pinot Noir. We also love red meat to highlight our red wines. We recommend our braised beef short ribs with root vegetables and garlic confit mashed potatoes.”
If you’re traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area, you can meet Jeff and Jodie in their new and impressive digs. After 15 years living in the Napa Valley town of St. Helena, the Morgans relocated to Berkeley and opened Covenant Winery, a 7,000-square-foot urban winery and tasting room. Tasting are by appointment only, and costs vary depending on which wines are tasted, but they generally start at $25 per person and can be reserved online.