I had the great pleasure of talking last week with Yuval Zaliouk, the owner of Almondina Cookies. His company bakes up some great, wafer-thin cookies that are a versatile snack and healthy, too. Almondina started as a secret recipe from his grandmother, Dina. So, what a perfect tribute right before Mother’s Day than hearing from Yuval about his grandmother’s influence and the story behind how her secret cookie recipe became a cookie sensation.
CR: Tell me how the Almondina company and cookie began.
YZ: The whole idea really started in grandma Dina’s kitchen about 80 years ago in Israel. She was a fantastic cook and invented this cookie about 80 years ahead of its time. It has no cholesterol, no fat, and is all natural, and she created it 80 years ago. As a tribute to my grandmother, Dina, and because the cookies are made mostly of almonds, we decided to combine the words for our company name. Today, our company has a slogan: “The delicious cookie without the guilt.” And, our mission is: “To put a delicious healthful cookie on every American table.”
CR: Where does the inspiration for the flavors come from? What is your favorite?
YZ: There are 10 flavors. The most popular is “The Original” cookie. This is the one that I recommend that everyone starts with. When you start with that one, you will taste the beautiful cookie that my grandmother Dina invented so many years ago. All of the other flavors are just a derivation of “The Original.” I would say its my grandmother’s inspiration, but my doing.
My favorite is “The Original.” But, I’m a symphony conductor, too. People always ask, “What is your favorite piece?” And I say, “The one that I’m currently conducting.” It’s the same with these cookies. My favorite is the one I’m crunching on at the moment.