Delicious Dairy & Bourekas in Israel

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Contributed and photographed by Paloma Aeylon

Falafel. Shawarma. Hummus. Shnitzel. Shakshuka. These are typically the foods we salivate over in anticipation of touching down in the land of milk and honey. While these Israeli delicacies certainly warrant our attention and appetite, there’s a culinary craft that’s lesser celebrated despite its rich role in Israel’s colorful cuisine. Continue reading

Find Middle Eastern Spices in this NY Shuk

NY SHUK creators Ron and Leetal Arazi. Photo: Eunice Choi

NY SHUK creators Ron and Leetal Arazi. Photo: Eunice Choi

Hankering for those complex Middle Eastern flavors? NY SHUK has created three jarred condiments that may end your search for those nuanced flavors that are difficult to achieve on your own.

Ron and Leetal Arazi’s harissa, tanzeya, and L’ekama, from their NY SHUK pantry, are so authentically Middle Eastern, so delicious, so flexible, that you may soon find yourselves counting on them as staples in your kitchen.  And they make it easy to be creative by posting a wide array of recipes on their website for inspirations. Continue reading

Birthday of the Trees with Pecan & Fig Biscotti

I wrestled with my warmest waterproof boots, grabbed my camera and began to hunt for signs of spring last week. There were spots of snow everywhere but some sunnier patches in my yard made way for tufts of bright green shoots. Good thing I was looking then, since temps have plummeted into the Arctic zone in the Northeast this week.

Not even writing this post could prompt me to take off my gloves to click the shutter with bare finger tips when it’s ten degrees out there. Like everything in life, it’s all in the timing.

Since I started writing this blog, I have committed to this ritual of searching for unexpected growth pushing through the frozen land. I love hunting for these subtle early harbingers of spring as we prepare to celebrate Tu Bishvat, the Jewish birthday of the trees. Continue reading

Israeli Terroir Reflected in this Elegant Red

Contributed by wine writer and consultant, Zachary Sussman

You might say that the tradition of winemaking in Israel extends as far back as the Old Testament, ever since Noah famously “planted a vineyard” and “drank of the wine” in Genesis. Given such ancient origins, it’s ironic that the modern Israeli wine industry has hardly outgrown its adolescence, at least compared to the legendary vineyards of Italy or France.

Sure, by now Israel has proven its ability to make high-quality wine: the most critically-acclaimed and “serious” examples, of course, are the rich and powerful expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon that currently dominate the country’s high-end market. But as Israeli viticulture enters the next stage in its development, the question inevitably emerges: what distinguishes an Israeli Cabernet, for example, from any other expression of that grape hailing from anywhere else on the globe?

What, if anything, makes an Israeli wine Israeli? Continue reading

‘Tis the Season: Gifts from the Desert

Neot Smadar

For young lovers and their parents, ‘tis the season of gift giving as summer weddings approach and engagements are announced.

How about considering unique, edible gifts?

I ran across information about Negev Nectars and was taken by their mission “to support small- scale, sustainable agriculture in Israel, and to provide a market for these farmers.” All products sold through this American company come from Israeli farms located in the Negev desert. Continue reading

Breakfast at the Villa Carmel in Haifa, Israel

When we discovered the Villa Carmel Hotel on a shady, tree lined street off the main drag in the busy Carmel center, we were grateful.  As visitors to M’s native Israel each year for more than 30 years, we had stayed in nearly every other hotel in Haifa, and disliked them all.  Cavernous lobbies, kids running amok, outdated color schemes and tired furniture prevailed. Continue reading

The New Year of the Trees

Take a moment to pause and imagine:  Spring is only a few weeks away!
The Jewish holiday of Tu b’Shvat is a day set aside to celebrate the fruit of the trees and to give thanks for their well-being and bounty.

Perfect timing. Continue reading

A Jammin’ Family Business

I’ve spent the last couple of days immersed in Kosherfest 2011. This trade show in Secaucus, NJ. gathers the largest group of professionals associated with kosher food. While my haunts are usually farmers’ markets, innovative vegetarian and locavore restaurants and boutique wineries, I wanted to explore the deep and broad world of kosher branding and see what products struck a chord for me.
I did my homework and set out to explore a couple of products in particular, including the Best Overall New Product, the top award at the expo. The prize was granted to Tishbi, Fine Foods by Oshra Tishbi, for her Champagne Collection of fruit preserves.
I set my GPS, donned my most comfy footwear and braved my way through the Lincoln Tunnel to head to NJ. Luckily, I had a new friend in tow, a fellow blogger and twitter pal I have bonded with over our mutual love for Italian food and shared notes on kosher finds in NYC.
When I read that Tishbi Wineries in Zichron Ya’acov won the coveted award for Best Overall New Product, I felt a flutter of excitement. Continue reading