The Methane Yehudi Market, Jerusalem

So if you follow my blog or me on social media you would have seen that last month I spent an amazing couple of weeks in Israel. I was invited along with a few other international bloggers to sample the very best that Israeli food has on offer and share a few of  my stories. It was a once in a life-time experience arranged by Vibe Israel – a non-profit organization that promotes Israel to the world as a vibrant hub of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Of course the culinary scene is a big part of that and why we were there.

Eat, Israel

I took a huge delicious bite out of Israel and hardly know where to start, so here are a few of my highlights (roughly in the order they were experienced).

1. Hedai Ofaimme

A local culinary expert, journalist and cookbook author, we visited Hedai at his home on a Moshav were they produce all sorts of delicious farm products that they sell in Israel. Goat milk yoghurt, olive oil, honey, cheese and pestos. It was the first taste we got of some of the culinary history of the country and Hedai had us enraptured with his storytelling over a delicious brunch. We also started seeing that salad for breakfast is a thing in Israel.

Hedai Ofaimme

Hedai Ofaimme

Hedai Ofaimme

Hedai Ofaimme

Hedai Ofaimme

2. Jerusalem

I found Jerusalem fascinating. From the history to the melting pot of religions, to the food. The whole place has a certain presence about it, and you get a feeling when your are there that is difficult to articulate. I was pleased I decided to stay on in the city for an extra few days after our #VibeFood tour ended.

The Methane Yehudi Market is one ofthe most exciting and vibrant food markets I have ever visited and I took so many pictures I simply had to create a separate post on it. On the day we visited with the group, Lilach Rubin, a local culinary expert gave us a tour of the market and surrounding area which was super interesting.

Jerusalem

Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Hummus shop Abbes

Delicious local hummus in Jerusalem

3. The Sarona Market in Tel Aviv

The Sarona Market is a new and modern indoor market in Tel Aviv – the largest of its kind in Isreal. It links the old world with the new and reminded me a little of Chelsea Market in NYC. It’s a place where you can buy food produce of every description as well as sit and enjoy a meal at one of the many kitchen restaurants while watching the chefs in action. It’s a market that is buzzing with activity and is a must visit destination for any foodie traveling to Tel Aviv.

For all my pictures of the Sarona Market, click here.

Sarona Market Tel Aviv

Sarona Market Tel Aviv

Sarona Market Tel Aviv

Sarona Market Tel Aviv

4. The Levinsky market

There is no surprise that I loved our Friday afternoon bar hopping adventure in the trendy Levinsky Market. This is not a market as in a traditional market, but rather a neighborhood with lots of food shops and restaurants. I mean who doesn’t love vibey bars packed with jovial locals celebrating life. Guided by David Hirschfeld, a well-known bartender, we sampled a few local drinks including Arak – an anis flavoured spirit, and a unique Medjool date brandy. Israeli’s sure know how to party on a Friday afternoon. I had my first taste of Yemense cuisine too, which was all dough based and all delicious. This is another must-do activity if you visit this vibrant city.

The Levinsky market, Tel Aviv

bar hopping in the Lewinsky market Tel Aviv

The Levinsky market, Tel Aviv

The Levinsky market, Tel Aviv

Yemenis food in the Levinsky market, Tel Aviv

The Levinsky market, Tel Aviv

Yemenese food in the Levinsky market, Tel Aviv

Yemenese food in the Levinsky market, Tel Aviv

Yemenese food in the Levinsky market, Tel Aviv

5. Shabbat dinner by Alon Beer

On the Friday evening we attended a homemade Sabbath dinner cooked by Alon Beer on Kibbuts S’dot Yam and it was one of the most memorable meals on the tour. A delicious menu was presented to us with an array of beautifully cooked dishes like

  • Isreali style sashimi, tomato seeds, hot pepper, lemon and sour cream
  • Roasted beets
  • Spanish Mackerel prepared with a salad of parsley, red onion, avocado served with rata potatoes and sour cream
  • Zucchini confit and sheeps yoghurt
  • Lamb meatballs in chicken broth
  • One of the best roast chickens I have ever eaten (Alon told me the secret is in the butter)

There were oven roasted vegetables and other side dishes and finishing off with 3 lovely cakes. The wines came from Netofa Winery and the evening was curated by Kitchen Rondez-vouz

The following pics fromthe night were taken by Haim Yosef for Vibe Israel. Alon can be found on Instagram.

Sabbath dinner cooked by Alon bar on Kibbuts S'dot Yam

Sabbath dinner cooked by Alon bar on Kibbuts S'dot Yam

Sabbath dinner cooked by Alon bar on Kibbuts S'dot Yam

Sabbath dinner cooked by Alon bar on Kibbuts S'dot Yam

6. A trip up North

We drove North on the Saturday and spent the day touring the Tarshiha’s Saturday market, attended an ice cream making workshop at Buza, had lunch at ‘Aluma’ followed by an edible plant picking excursion with Dr. Uri Meir Chissik. A wonderful day.

making juice in the Tarshiha's Saturday market

Adam Ziv from Buza Gelatery

a dish at Alma restaurant by chef Alaa Sweetat

a dish at Alma restaurant by chef Alaa Sweetat

Dr. Uri Meir Chssik taking us on a forage of edible greens

It was then onto the spa hotel Mizpe Hayamim on a organic farm near Rosh Pina. Dinner at their Muscat restaurant was delicious but overwhelming in that we ate what seemed like the whole menu. I’m going to share more about this meal, along with all the other amazing ones we in joyed in another post. We toured the organic farm the following morning, enjoyed a spectacular breakfast and took in views of the Sea of Galilee.

Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel

Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel

Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel

7. Blogger breakfast and a one on one with Natalie Levin Sapir

On the second last day of Our #VibeFood tour we attended a ‘breakfast supper club’ presented by Eatwith.com with food prepared by Ofir Kaminkovsky at his home venue. It was a lively meal with a good handful of local Israeli bloggers. You also realize that as a ‘sub-species’ we are all much the same. Eagerly trying to snap the food in the  best possible way to share across our social media channels. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and the food was delicious.

Breakfast with Israeli bloggers

After brunch I was paired up with Natalie Levin Sapir of the Israeli dessert blog Oogio.net which is sadly only in Hebrew. You will want to figure a way to translate this and bake from Natalie’s delicious recipes I can assure you. I sampled 3 of them so I know. Natalie has written a cookbook too, and she took me on a tour to one of Tel Aviv’s famous bakeries – Lehamim which of course was nirvana for me. We were lucky enough to have Uri Sheft (the founder and owner) give us the tour himself, but more about that later. I have my hands on his Challah recipe which I’m planning on making and sharing with you soon. I’m also going to be sharing one of Natalies delicious cookie recipes.

Lehamim bakery Tel Aviv

8. All the restaurants we ate at were a highlight, but there are too many images and details to share here so I will save that for another story on its own. We met so many amazing local chefs and I felt very inspired by them, so expect a few tasty recipes over the coming months too.

Seafood lunch at Manta Ray, Tel Aviv

9. Bread

Israel is one of the best ‘bread’ countries I’ve ever visited and every day and at every single meal we ate phenomenal bread. I would go back just to eat all the bread.

Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem

Hedai Ofaimme

Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem

Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem

Sarona Market Tel Aviv

Check out my Instagram to see all the pics I took and the pics everyone else took under the #VibeIsrael hashtag.

salad at Manta Ray

Farma Cultura

brunch at Farma Cultura

Fresh artichokes at TLV Port Farmers Market

Restaurant in Jaffa

Restaurant in Jaffa

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17 Comments

  1. What an amazing experience, thanks for sharing. I for one will certainly be trying out some of suggestions, well done!

  2. What an experience Sam. OMW !!! the food looks fantastic ! Everything looks so spectacular.

    With regards to you previous post and the mint. Mint just likes water. I have growing in my garden like weeds. I wish you lived closer to me, I would give you loads to re-plant.

  3. Sam

    Ah Lynne, I wish you lived nearer as I need mint. Im going to have to do it in a pot as I have a pot plant garden

  4. One word – Stunning. As usual your beautiful pics made me salivate. I also wish I lived closer to you as you could get loads of mint from me. I have mine growing under a garden tap which periodically drips and the one plant is so huge it needs regular cutting back. As Lynne said – Mint needs loads of water.

  5. Wow…amazing photos…lucky you to experience a beautiful place, beautiful people and food. I like the motorized scooter in the mix with motorcycles and cars. The outdoor fresh food shops are so cool looking and i would love to try lamb meatballs in chicken broth. I will keep that one in mind. Thank you for sharing for experience.

  6. Barbara Young

    Oh my. Having experienced Israeli food myself, I can verify it is as good as it looks. Your photos made me want to lick the screen. Thank you for sharing. I am glad that people can see there is more to Israel than what we see on the news.

  7. Sam

    HI Barbara, Thanks you and Im so glad I had the opportunity to show people how wonderful Israeli food is

  8. I think you are great. But what really got my blood boiling was the lack of kosher food shown to you. The one meal was chicken cooked with butter mixing meat and milk is just not done. I hope you got some real kosher Jewish food.

    Regards Alan

  9. Sam, I had such a wonderful time with you, and I’m happy you enjoyed Lehamim – this is truly my favorite bakery in Tel Aviv! Your pictures are absolutely stunning – great post ?

  10. Sam

    HI Alan, I understand where you are coming from but I was on a pre arranged tour that was A-political and non-relligious in nature. We did not eat in any specifically kosher restaurant. There are many non-orthodox jews in Israel, so non-kosher food is as much a reality (and the norm) as is kosher.

  11. Your trip looks incredible! I love Israel and Israeli food and this post brought up so many great memories from my trip there, thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi Sam! as an Israeli I really enjoyed reading about your wonderful experiences in my country. We truly have a phenomenal, ever-developing food scene. I would love to show you some more during your next visit! as a blog owner myself (flourtales.com) I find your recipes & photography truly inspiring and I’ll be honored to show you around 🙂
    Dana

  13. Sam

    Thanks so much for the lovely comment Dana – I will be sure to look you up if I ever visit Israel again.

    Best
    Sam

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