If Jewish festivals are ranked by importance, Tu B’Av comes somewhere very near the bottom. In fact, most Jews (in the UK at least) have probably never heard of it. Which is a shame, as it is a good excuse for some summer fun and romance!
When the Jewish Temple stood in Jerusalem, the day marked the beginning of the grape harvest. The Talmud states that the unmarried girls of Jerusalem would wear white dresses and go out and dance in the vineyards. The young single men would follow and hope to find a bride. Hence, the day is connected with love and romance, but there is more to it than that.
Tradition has it that the girls would wear borrowed dresses – so that no-one would be ashamed if they couldn’t afford a new dress, and the boys wouldn’t be tempted to choose a girl based on her clothes or other material concerns. This serves as a reminder to look beneath the surface when seeking a romantic partner.
Today, the holiday is barely celebrated outside of Israel. However, where it is marked, it is by singing, dancing and giving flowers. The name of the festival – ‘Tu B’Av’ – simply means 15 Av – the Hebrew date on which it falls. Because the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, the 15 day of the month is a full moon. This year, Tu B’Av falls on the evening of July 30 and the day of July 31.
I decided to create a refreshing summery ice-lolly, to help romantic souls cool down after all that dancing in the vineyard! These heart-shaped watermelon pops are simply made using cookie cutters. I was going to suggest a coconut yogurt dip, but decided to incorporate it into the lolly itself instead. You can, of course, use the yogurt as a dip – a sprinkle of sea salt is a fabulous addition too. I also used the cut-out pieces to make another lolly (without the coconut yogurt).
I made these lovely ice-lollies well in advance, and hoped for a sunny day on which to photograph them. Thanks, British summer – not a chance! It was POURING with rain on the day I finally gave in and took the pictures, but I don’t think they came out too badly.
Now all we need is a hot sunny day to enjoy EATING them! The frozen watermelon is so refreshing and the creamy coconut yogurt complements it beautifully.
So, here’s hoping for good weather for the festival of love! I encourage you to stay up late, dance and sing in the moonlight, and enjoy these refreshing summery watermelon and coconut ice-lollies with your loved one. Happy Tu B’Av!
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- Coconut yogurt
- Line a tray with greaseproof paper. Set aside.
- Cut slices of watermelon about 2cm thick. Use a heart shaped cookie-cutter to cut pieces out of the slices. Use a smaller heart cutter to remove the centre.
- Push a lolly stick into the watermelon heart and place onto the prepared tray.
- Carefully spoon the coconut yogurt into the centre of the heart, easing it around the stick to avoid gaps.
- Repeat until you have made as many lollies as you want!
- Freeze for at least an hour, or until frozen solid.
- You can thread the cut out centres of the hearts onto another stick to make a mini lolly!
Or here are some ideas, both sweet & savoury, from other food bloggers:
Strawberry & chocolate hearts from Choclette at Tin & Thyme.
Smoked chilli bean burgers from Jac at Tinned Tomatoes.
Chocolate orange love heart biscuits from Camilla at FabFood4All.
Chocolate orange nutella cheesecake from Emily at Emily’s Recipes & Reviews.
Raspberry coconut ice from Grace at Eats Amazing.
Coconut chocolates from Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.
Basil & chive flavoured ghee from Ceri at Natural Kitchen Adventures.
Heart-shaped churros from Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.
Chocolate peanut-butter hearts from Nadia at Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen.