In Search of Israeli Cuisine - led by Roger Sherman, the film's creator and director - Via Sabra

In Search of Israeli Cuisine - led by Roger Sherman, the film's creator and director

March 24 - April 1, 2020

Click here for the registration form


Day 1: Tuesday, March 24


Welcome to Israel


10:00 Gather in Jerusalem - location TBD


Walk through the alleys of the Machane Yehuda Market for your opening scene:

In the heart of the market, Roger Sherman and Avihai Tsabari, founder of Via Sabra, kick off the trip with a discussion: Is There an Israeli Cuisine?


Get right down to business with a Machane Yehuda Tasting Tour. Taste delights from throughout the shuk and take note of what you eat and where it originated.  East vs. West- what dominates?


Sit down for lunch at Azura Restaurant, a four generation, family-run classic in the Iraqi market. It's famous for its Turkish-inspired food, slow-cooked in giant pots over kerosene burners.


Continue to Nachlaot, a cluster of more than 12 neighborhoods, established in the late 1870s, outside the walls of the Old City, which was becoming increasingly overcrowded and unsanitary. Nachlaot is known for its narrow, winding lanes, lined with old houses, hidden courtyards, and many small synagogues.


Dinner on roof of Mamilla with the hotel’s head Chef, Kobi Bachar.


Overnight: Jerusalem



Day 2: Wednesday, March 25


The Old City


Breakfast at the hotel


Tasting Tour of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City with Kamel Hashalom, one of Israel’s top chefs. Kamal, a Palestinian, was born in East Jerusalem and grew up in the Mount of Olives neighborhood, one of the holiest places for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. He will guide us through the alleyways of his childhood. In the film, In Search of Israeli Cuisine, everyone gasps as Kamal, his mother, and Mike Solomonov flip over the large pot of Makluba.


Ruth Baks is 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 at HaDekel 3, the MachneYuda Restaurant Group’s newest restaurant.


Overnight: Jerusalem



Day 3: Thursday, March 26


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.


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.


Drive north with a stop in Tiberias for a wine tasting at the St. Urban Wine Bar at the Scot’s Hotel.


Dinner at the hotel


Overnight: North- Mitzpe HaYamim



Day 4: Friday, March 27


Location, Location, Location- Terroir


Breakfast at the hotel



Jeep ride in the Golan Heights with Captain (Reserve) Ilan Shulman. Ilan joined the paratroopers in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and, during the second intifada, in the early 2000s, was injured in battle. Ilan is a political analyst; he reveals the nuances of living so close to the Syrian border, and what it means for Israel's security and humanitarian issues.


Winery Tour, Tasting, and Lunch – Another scene from the film: We visit Pelter Winery in the Golan Heights and meet Tal Pelter, one of our favorite winemakers. Explore the rugged terrain of the vineyards and learn why this terroir yields some of Israel’s finest wines.



Friday night Shabbat dinner: We're hosted by a family and experience the celebration of an authentic Sabbath dinner.


Overnight: North-Mitzpe HaYamim





Day 5: Saturday, March 28


Breakfast at the hotel



We visit the ancient city of Akko, on the Mediterranean, 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 Palestinian 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.


Lunch 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.





Afternoon hike or site visit- ancient olive press


Dinner-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.


Overnight: North-Mitzpe HaYamim










Day 6: Sunday, March 29



Culinary Treasures


Breakfast at the hotel


Drive to Haifa


Food Crawl in Haifa with Galit Peleg, former Consul for Public Affairs in New York. Have coffee with Galit’s father, Moti, a Haifa native, who's watched the city's dramatic changes. Among the stops: Wadi Nisnas for some of Israel’s best falafel and shawarma.


Bahai Gardens; Visit the monumental, hillside Bahai Gardens, at the world headquarters of the Bahai faith, another monotheistic religion.


Drive to Tel Aviv


Jaffa Old City and Port: Discover the ancient and modern situated side-by-side. Stroll through the alleyways of the Old City filled with artist studios as well as archeological discoveries. Head to the Jaffa Port which exists from Biblical times and is a fantastic place to find a mix of Israelis from all walks of life.


Wander through the charming and lively Flea Market, featuring antiques, hip clothing shops, design stores, cafes, restaurants, and bars.


Check into the hotel.


Dinner hopping with a focus on female chefs


Overnight: Tel Aviv- Royal Beach Hotel



Day 7: Monday, March 30



Market to Market


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 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.


Carmel Market: The most famous of all Tel Aviv markets. Enjoy tasting local delicacies on Friday at the market, the busiest place in Tel Aviv with all the rich colors and scents


Dinner at M25 and talk with charismatic 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-Royal Beach Hotel



Day 8: Tuesday, March 31


Day in South


Breakfast at the hotel



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.


Goat Cheese Tasting at The Kornmehl Farm. With its magical views of desert hills, this desert farm is located within remnants of farm terraces from the Middle Bronze period (3000-4000 BCE). Kornmehl practices traditional French goat cheesemaking techniques, adapted to the harsh environment


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.


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- Royal Beach Hotel



Day 9: Wednesday, April 1


Food Trends


Breakfast at the hotel



HaKosem, don't eat much breakfast because 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.


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.


Vegan lunch with Ori Shavit, a food journalist, blogger and animal rights activist. Israel has the highest percentage of Vegans in the world.


Free time


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.


Costing: $ 4800 per person sharing a double room

Supplement for a single room: $1500


Deadline for registration: November 1, 2019





  • Transportation throughout the trip for all programmed activities
  • Services of a licensed Tour Guide throughout the trip
  • Hotels throughout the trip including breakfast
  • Jerusalem-Orient Hotel-Orient Hotel
  • North-Mitzpe HaYamim- Mitzpe HaYamim room
  • Tel Aviv-Royal Beach-Bellavista Rooms
  • Lunches, dinners, and tastings as indicated in the itinerary
  • All site entry fees and activities in the itinerary


Not included:


  • Transportation to and from the airport
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Tips for tour guide and drivers


Terms of Payment:


  • The above rate is valid for payment made by wire transfer, check, or cash.
  • Wire transfer
  • IBAN: IL31-0204-6100-0000-0497-766
  • Mizrach Tefahot (20) Bank, Branch 461, Account #497766
  • Via Sabra LTD
  • Additional 2% will be added for credit card payments.


Cancellation Policy:


  • For cancellations up to 90 days prior, the penalty will be $500.00 US per person (the deposit)
  • For 89 to 60 days prior to departure the penalty will be 20% of the total tour cost per person
  • For 59 to 30 days prior to departure the penalty will be 50% of the total tour cost per person
  • For 29 to 8 days prior to departure the penalty will be 75% of the total tour cost per person
  • For 7 to 0 days prior to departure the penalty will be 100% of the total tour cost per person



$ 500
Single deposit. Invoice for the balance will be sent when due.
$ 1000
Double room deposit. Invoice for the balance will be sent when due.
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Cancellation Policy
• 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