Welcome to Israel- What is Israeli Cuisine?
9:00 Gather in Tel Aviv - location TBD
Drive towards Akko with a stop at a lookout to orient you to the days ahead.
The ancient city of Akko, in the Mediterranean, is one of the oldest ports in the world, a city shared by Jews and Muslims. We'll walk narrow streets past towering ramparts, deep moats, green domes, venerable synagogues, slender Muslim minarets, secret passageways. We discover the subterranean city built in the Middle Ages by the Crusaders beneath Akko. Learn about the city's ancient history as well as its important role in Israel's modern history.
Noted Arab chef, Osama Dallal, an Akko native and one of the youngest and most innovative chefs in the country, will take us through the city's enticing markets that we lovingly toured in the film. We'll visit Kashash Bakery and watch the baker make kataif, with its fine threads of dough that make the famous konafi pastry. We'll stop in a magical spice shop, then we'll sample a hummus made only in Akko that goes back centuries.
With a glass of wine on the roof of the Effendi Hotel in the old city, Roger Sherman and Avihai Tsabari, founder of Via Sabra, will discuss: Is There an Israeli Cuisine?
Dinner at the legendary Uri Buri Restaurant . Roger and the long white-bearded Uri, featured in the film, will discuss the 100+ cultures that have become Israeli Cuisine.
Drive to your hotel and check in.
Start the day in Yanuh Jhat, a Druze village in the Galilee, where ancient olive press stones testify to thousands of years of olive oil production. Pick olives, meet locals, see the process of making olive oil.
Druze cooking workshop: Participate in a true to life cultural immersion. Together with our hosts, we will have a half-day hands-on preparation of traditional Galilean dishes. Our reward: A feast that we created, enjoyed with our hosts.
Board Jeeps to explore the beautiful terrain of the Lower Galilee and venture into one of the vineyards in the area.
At the end of the ride, meet wine expert Michal Ackerman, CEO of Tavor winery, for wine-tasting and review of Israel’s wine terroir.
Afternoon hike or site visit- ancient olive press
Dinner at the hotel OR Magadalena Restaurant with a view of Mt. Arbel that offers innovative Galilean cuisine with a Mediterranean touch.
Location, Location, Location
This morning you will have two options:
-Morning magic visit to the Hula Valley which forms part of the northern Syrian African Rift Valley which stretches as far south as Mozambique in Africa. During every migration season over 500 million birds travel through the Hula Lake. This wetland paradise is the perfect stopover for small waterfalls, cormorants, heron, pelicans, raptors, storks, and cranes. Walk or take golf carts through the park.
-Or Time on own in the hotel to use the spa facilities
Continue to Emek HaMaayanot- the Valley of Springs.
Meet Dr. Uri Mayer-Chissick, an expert on the history of local food and nutrition in the Middle East and author of the Israeli guide to foraging wild edible plants. Have a lunch of foods of a vanished world-dishes prepared today from food that has grown here throughout history.
Drive to Jerusalem through the Syrian African Rift.
As you enter the city, stop for a lookout over Jerusalem.
Check into your hotel.
“This restaurant is considered one of the best in Jerusalem, possibly the country. Celebrity chef, Assaf Granit, grew up in Jerusalem and pays homage to the city's colors and cacophony in his elegant dishes. The menu changes twice daily, but it nearly always includes chamshuka, a fusion of chopped meat and hummus, and a raucous dessert ceremony of ice cream flung on tables covered in aluminum foil.”
The Old City
Meet with Kamel Hashalom at Damascus Gate. One of Israel’s top chefs, Kamal is a Palestinian born in East Jerusalem and grew up in the Mount of Olives neighborhood, one of the holiest places for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. In the film, In Search of Israeli Cuisine, everyone gasps as Kamal, his mother, and Mike Solomonov flip over the large pot of Makluba.
Tastes of the Old City in the Muslim Quarter
Visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which houses Christ's tomb.
Continue to the Jewish Quarter and meet Ruth Baks, an orthodox American, who moved to Israel in the 1970's. She's a home cook, and avid baker, and is on a lifelong mission to study spices. Ruth's been to India more than 30 times. She’ll welcome us into her home then she'll guide us through the ancient alleyways of the Jewish Quarter.
Dinner on your own
To Market to Market
Ashkenazic Jewish food traditions with Shmil Holland, one of Jerusalem’s most well-known chefs whose inspiration comes from his grandmother’s stories and Eastern European recipes. Make Jerusalem Kugel in Shmil’s kitchen and talk about Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Arab, Israeli, and Jewish Food.
Eat your way through Jerusalem’s largest market Machane Yehuda. Taste delights from throughout the shuk and take note of what you eat and where it originated. East vs. West- what dominates? Includes a stop at Azura restaurant.
Drive to Tel Aviv and check in to your hotel.
The Arak Effect – meet world famous mixologist and delve into the crazy sophisticated Israeli Cocktail!
Dinner at M25 and talk with Chef Jonathan Borowitz, featured in the film. We're going to the most refined Israeli grill and it’s right in the center of the Carmel Market.
Overnight: Tel Aviv
Shishi Yisraeli- Israeli Friday
Only in Israel- see the story of Israeli cuisine come alive in a the two most day to day settings possible- a supermarket and a mall. Discover what this looks like and take photos to tell the story. What has become Israeli cuisine? What makes this supermarket different from your supermarket? Since when can you get a freshly made Druze lafa bread in the mall?
Tour the White City including the American Colony, a surprising neighborhood with a fascinating story.
Lunch at HaKosem-you're about to sample some of the best sabich, shawarma and falafel in Israel. The chef and owner, Arik Rosenthal, left fine dining to make good classic dishes more accessible.
Meet Gideon Ben Ami, founder of Pesia’s Kitchen. Pesia’s Kitchen, founded in 2011, focuses on rescuing nutritious, freshly prepared food and delivering it to those who need it most. They believe that no food should go to waste when there are so many people living in chronic hunger. For each person in the group, an additional meal will be purchased and donated through Gideon.
Feel like a local! Hang out in a bar or café and people watch- the quintessential Israel Friday afternoon pastime.
Sunset on the beach with a glass of wine
Shabbat dinner at the home of Avihai’s parents, Moshe and Vered
Overnight: Tel Aviv
The Land of Milk and Honey
Breakfast at the hotel
Shai Seltzer’s Goat & Cheese Farm:
Within a national park, in the steep mountains
surrounding Jerusalem, Shai Seltzer created unique award-winning cheeses, aged in 2000-year-old caves that date back to the Second Temple. The cheeses we taste are like nothing you've experienced.
We meet up with Kamal Hashalom again in the Arab town of Abu Gosh, about 20 minutes from Jerusalem, where he transforms sesame seeds into some of Israel's best tahini and halva. You'll want to shop at his store, Al Yasmin.
Sea Horse Winery Established in 2000s it started as a small project of a barrel or two and gradually increase the production of 20,000 bottles a year. This boutique winery is set on Moshav Bar Giora in the Jerusalem Mountains. Zeev Dunie, the winemaker, has his own vineyards planted in Syrah, Zinfandel and Grenache and draws on Cabernet Sauvignon and other red grapes from the Upper Galilee.
Late lunch replaying a scene from the film at Majda Kitchen, a magical converted home, in the hidden Arab hill town of Ein Rafa. Michal and Yacob are a unique couple in Israel, she's Jewish, he's Muslim: their food is fabulous.
Return to Tel Aviv
Dinner on your own, or join us at Itzik HaGadol in Jaffa, a casual, classic Israeli grill restaurant with an amazing array of dishes spread out in front of us: salads, vegetables, homemade breads, and so much more.
Overnight: Tel Aviv
Day in South
Breakfast at the hotel
Israeli Hi-Tech Farming -- Ramat Negev Desert and Agricultural R&D Center in Ashalim has developed techniques for cost-effective water conservation and erosion control, planting, crop rotation, harvesting and food processing. They've developed new seed varieties and have successfully introduced many new crops that thrive in local, harsh conditions. Their saline or brackish water irrigation research has made it possible to grow crops throughout the Negev Desert.
Lunch at Naot Desert Farm - one of the many havot bodedim (lone farms) built by modern-day pioneers who are making David Ben-Gurion’s vision of the desert blooming come to life. Visit the goats taste some delicious cheese.
Heading deep into the Negev desert, we stop at Avdat on the ancient Nabatean Spice route. The nomadic Nabateans transported the valuable spices, perfumes, even wine, from the Arabian Peninsula to Europe. This is the location where Avihai and Mike Solomonov explored the ruins and discussed ancient winemaking in Roger's film.
Visit Sde Boker, the home of David and Paula Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of the State of Israel. Ben Gurion was not only a shrewd political and military leader but also the symbol of the Zionist vision. At a relatively advanced age, Ben Gurion and his wife, Paula, "retired" to the Negev with a cry that others should follow. When he died, he requested to be buried in the Kibbutz cemetery, overlooking a stunning valley.
Poyke dinner in the desert- cooked over a fire in cast iron pots, Poyke is an Israeli tradition that every family loves.
Return to Tel Aviv
Overnight: Tel Aviv
Breakfast at the hotel
An Urban Graffiti Tour through Florentine, a Tel Aviv neighborhood, with installation artist, historian, and art advisor, Shirel Horowtiz. What kind of story do these images and words tell us about the people living there? What is unique about graffiti in Israel and in Tel Aviv?
Tour Shuk Levinsky with renowned food journalist Ronit Vered: The finest spices, dried fruits, boutique cheeses, roasted nuts and coffee beans, olives, condiments, pickled vegetables, exotic meats and salted fish, can all be found here. Originally specializing in Balkan cuisine for Jews originating from Thessaloniki in Greece, the arrival of Iranian immigrants to downtown Tel Aviv post -1948 brought new tastes and herbs from Persian cooking.
Visit a project of the Association for Urban Farming, a non-profit organization based in Tel Aviv that promotes urban agricultural infrastructure in cities around the world. The association sponsors programs throughout the city, including urban gardening in schools and commercial centers. Visit one of their projects in South Tel Aviv that has introduced asylum seeking children to a new world of fresh vegetables, something that is missing from their diet.
Final dinner at Rama’s Kitchen. Rama Ben Zvi emphasizes using only local ingredients. In a funny scene at the beginning of In Search of Israeli Cuisine, she tells us that originally, she would not serve fish because it was not local – she'd have to travel forty-five minutes to the port of Tel Aviv to buy it.
Transfer to airport or post tour arrangements can be made.
Itinerary is subject to change based on seasonal considerations and availability of speakers and restaurants.
o Jerusalem-Orient Hotel-Orient Hotel
o North-Mitzpe HaYamim- Mitzpe HaYamim room
o Tel Aviv-Royal Beach-Bellavista Rooms
Terms of Payment:
o Wire transfer
o IBAN: IL31-0204-6100-0000-0497-766
o SWIFT: MIZBILIT
o Mizrach Tefahot (20) Bank, Branch 461, Account # 497766
o Via Sabra LTD
• cancellations up to 90 days prior to departure $500.00 p/p will be charged (non-refundable deposit)
• 89 to 60 days prior to departure the cancellation penalty will be 20% of the total tour cost per person
• 59 to 30 days prior to departure the cancellation penalty will be 50% of the total tour cost per person
• 29 to 8 days prior to departure the cancellation penalty will be 75% of the total tour cost per person
• Up to 7 days prior to departure the cancellation penalty will be 100% of the total tour cost per person