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Baked Goods and Community: Muffin Boutique

When the unmistakable urge for a snack arises, what more could you ask for than healthy “muffins made with love?”

“We are a nice place with a focus on the health,” says Muffin boutique owner Shmarya Richler. “My wife wouldn’t serve anything here that she wouldn’t serve to our [5] children.”

Shmarya and his wife moved to Jerusalem from Montreal 20 years ago, but it was only 2 years ago, after many years working in hi-tech, he decided that he wanted to work with his wife, a cook and baker extraordinaire.

They’re idea: The Muffin Boutique, a gourmet bakery dedicated to healthy snacks.

Muffin Boutique in Jerusalem

Photo: Courtesy of Muffin Boutique

On any given day you’ll find a selection from their 20 different muffin flavors, all of which are made with all natural products — there is no margarine, no food coloring and no artificial flavoring. The price tag isn’t so bad either with mini-muffins going for 4 NIS, regular size 9 NIS and a package of 6 for 45 NIS.

On the day we visited there were: banana ginger chocolate chip, apple pie, sugar free honey bran, blueberry, peanut butter chocolate chip and lemon poppy seed. Conspicuously absent, however — no doubt because they had already sold out — were the divine pumpkin cream cheese muffins, which are absolutely, in no uncertain terms to die for.

Muffin Boutique in Jerusalem

Photo: Courtesy of Muffin Boutique

Next to the muffins, you can find another Muffin Boutique specialty — Montreal bagels (6 NIS each; 29 NIS for a 6-pack). A close cousin of the famous New York bagel, the Montreal variety is hand-made, boiled and made without eggs. This results in a healthier vegan-friendly option that’s a bit sweeter and dense.

The standard varieties include, plain, poppy seed, sesame seed, everything and cinnamon. Each one has a whole wheat counterpart, and you can turn your bagel into a sandwich with any of the 11 spreads and toppings on-hand (19-23 NIS).

If you’re not in the mood for carbs, don’t hesitate to indulge in a fresh salad with your choice of 3 dressings, the soup of the day or a drink — Italian Vero coffee (decaf or regular), a no-sugar, no-dairy shake or a specialty yogurt-based shake.

Community

On the surface, Muffin Boutique is one of the best spots in Jerusalem to grab healthy snack, and underneath, it’s also an integral part of the Israeli community, always looking to give back.

Muffin Boutique5

Photo: Courtesy of Muffin Boutique

For instance, any soldier, emergency services volunteer (Magen David Adom or Hatzela) or police officer who walks in wearing a uniform is offered a free meal–bagel sandwich, drink and muffin. Muffin Boutique covers 25% of the cost and solicits donations to sponsor the other 75%, according to Shmarya.

Likewise, they also give people the opportunity to sponsor muffin (125 NIS) and bagel sandwich (250 NIS) platters for soldiers working check points.

And at the end of the day,  any leftover bagels and muffins go to Lone Soldiers and the stand at the Gush Etzion junction that serves free drinks to soldiers.

The initiatives have gotten a positive response both inside and outside of Israel, according to Shmarya. A synagogue in Maryland raised over $2,000 to buy meals for soldiers in October, and in November, a school in Montreal held a “Twony” campaign and raised over $600 from 42 donations.

Featured image: Barry Kaplan