Matzo Ball Soup. (Photo Credit: Zaftigs)

Matzo Ball Soup. (Photo Credit: Zaftigs)

Bob Shuman
335 Harvard St.
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 975-0075


1298 Worcester Road
Sherwood Plaza Shopping Center
Natick, MA 01760
(508) 653-4442

(Credit: Zaftigs Delicatessen)

(Credit: Zaftigs Delicatessen)

Bob Shuman is the owner of Zaftigs Delicatessen in the Coolidge Corner neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts. The deli opened in 1997 and is a “Jewish diner” or “Jewish-American delicatessen” according to Shuman, who serves up delicious and traditional recipes handed down from his grandmother and his mother. Every meal at the deli starts with a complimentary basket of bagel chips served with a homemade herb cream cheese. There are about 250 menu choices for an all-day breakfast or traditional deli fare like The New Yorker, a 12-ounce hot pastrami and corned beef sandwich, homemade chicken soup and a variety of knishes and crispy, loaded latkes.

When asked the significance and meaning of the deli’s unique name, Shuman explains that Zaftigs means pleasingly plump, voluptuous, luscious, juicy and ripe. The name is considered a term of endearment in the Yiddish language.

A second Zaftigs Delicatessen opened a couple of years ago in Natick, MA, about a half hour ride from the Coolidge Corner deli, and offers the same modern twist on traditional deli classics.

This Shuman family recipe, Matzo Farfel Kugel, makes a delicious accompaniment to a special Passover meal.

Matzo Farfel Kugel

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 chopped dried apricots
  • 2 cups matzo farfel
  • 4 eggs
  • salt, pinch of
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease a shallow 6-cup pan.
  3. Cover farfel with boiling water and drain well after a few minutes.
  4. Lightly beat eggs in bowl and fold in farfel, apricots, cranberries and salt.
  5. Transfer mixture to pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until brown on top and set.

This recipe, Chocolate Caramel Matzo Bark, will bring a sweet finish to any meal and can be purchased on the Passover Catering Menu at Zaftigs.

Chocolate Caramel Matzo Bark

  • 4 to 6 sheets of matzo
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • sea salt, pinch of
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil, cover with a sheet of parchment paper.
  3. Put sheets of matzo on top of paper, filling all the space.
  4. Melt butter and brown sugar together and cook over medium heat, stirring and let boil for 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, add salt and vanilla, pour over matzo, spreading with a spatula.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, remove and cover with chocolate chips immediately.
  7. Let stand for 5 minutes and with a spatula, spread softened chocolate.
  8. Let cool completely and break into good-size pieces.

Related: Ask A Boston Chef: Great Passover Recipes

This Matzo Ball recipe is a classic Passover meal accompaniment and is traditionally served with Chicken Matzo Ball Soup.

Matzo Balls

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup seltzer
  • 6 tablespoons of chicken fat
  • salt, pinch of
  • ground black pepper, pinch of
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  1. Lightly beat eggs, stir in seltzer, chicken fat, salt and pepper.
  2. Slowly add matzo meal, stirring until well combined.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Bring a stockpot of water to a boil.
  5. Moisten hands and roll 2 tablespoons of batter into a ball and drop into water. Repeat, repeat, repeat…approx. 16 balls
  6. Cover pot, reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove matzo balls from water and add to soup.

Related: Boston’s Best Delicatessens

Nancy is a native Bostonian. She enjoys the sights, sounds and tastes of Boston while exploring the city by day or night. Nancy is also a school nurse at an independent middle/high school. Her work can be found on a variety of websites, including