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Culinary Learning Journey to Israel

I just returned from a two week Culinary Learning journey to Israel and Jordan. I am part of an organization call the International Caterers Association. We plan learning journeys in countries all around the world. I have eaten my way through Italy three times, Asian, England France Australia and New Zealand over the years.Israel was never really on my radar for food or my bucket list for a vacation site.

Boy was I mistaken! What a wonderful country. So vibrant and alive. The people are special and the food…Oh the food. Such freshness. The street markets in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv offer anything you can imagine. The size of the produce was shocking Radishes the size of baseballs. I ate so much Hummus and pita. Fresh salads, grains, fruit fresh and dried. Cheese and yogurt.

The hotels we stayed at all had a meat restaurant where you could order the meat dishes and the Vegetarian Dairy restaurants. The street vendor served fresh baked breads and interesting street food. My favorite was a sandwich that started with a thin crepe like item smeared with herb laced mashed potatoes then raw egg dropped in the middle it was folded in half then deep fried. Then stuffed into a soft pita that was smeared with a red creamy sauce and topped with lettuce, tomato and onions. It was so good. Soft crunch fresh and meatless.

We stayed on a farm/hotel that had the happiest animals I’ve ever seen. Cows, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks turkeys. All for their milk and eggs. No one got slaughtered! And I am certain they knew it as they were all so happy.

I could go on and on about the unique dishes I ate and places I visited but what Id like to say about the food is that is was all freshly prepared with real from the earth ingredients. I did not see a market anywhere full of processed food. Yes their was cans of olives and bins of dried fruits and nuts and sweets galore but my experience there was a reminder to take the time and eat the food we grow simply prepared and in moderation.

The wine scene is quite big there now. They have managed to cultivate grapes from other regions as all the original vines were long lost. The wine is good. Honestly I had never heard of Israeli wines. I thought Manischewitz wine. Yuk. But the vineyards and winery’s we visited can certainly compete in the big markets. Yarden was my favorite label.

The history will move you whether your Christian Muslim or Jewish. Yes there are crazy people that have missiles pointed at Israel and they have been in far too many wars but I felt very safe there. Actual felt safer there then walking downtown Phoenix at night. I think the day in day out life of the people that live there really want the rest of the world to know it is a beautiful country with a growing food Mecca and good wine. I would recommend adding it to your bucket list.