It’s that time of year; winter is upon us, darkness has fallen by late afternoon and we are looking to light the first candle in the menorah, for tonight we bring in the joyous festival of Chanukah. Chanukah is where we celebrate the miracle of light, when the Israelites found only enough oil to last for one night in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, but through a miracle this last drop kept burning for eight nights. Therefore, every night for eight nights, we light a new candle in the menorah in celebration. Like most of the Jewish festivals, Chanukah is heavily associated with food and so to keep with tradition, we typically eat fried foods, such as sufganyiot otherwise known as doughnuts and potato latkes or pancakes, symbolising the miracle of the burning lamps. In Israel today, sufganyiot or deep fried doughnuts are a delicacy that are enjoyed by making yeasted dough, rolled into balls which ere then plumped up by inserting fruit jam into the middle and once deep fried, granulated sugar is sprinkled on top, giving rise to a sweet, sugary bun…..
Inside the 140 year old former German Templar colony in Tel Aviv is the recently opened Sarona Market, Israel’s largest indoor market and a haven for all foodies. The 8,700 square metres of renovated building houses 89 food businesses, attracting the culinary elite with boutique restaurants, bars, cafes and specialty food shops, open seven days a week. The inspiration for Sarona came from many of the world’s wonderful food markets including London’s Borough Market, Spain’s La Boqueria and America’s Chelsea Market, attracting chefs, food lovers and tourists alike. Sarona is packed with local produce, as well as cheeses, pasta and patisserie from France and Italy, celebrating the modern cuisine of Israel. Celebrity chefs including Yisrael Aharoni and Segev Moshe have opened branches of their highly acclaimed Japanese and seafood restaurants here in Sarona, pleasing the locals and tourists alike with their food. Basher’s Fromagerie, the world famous French patisserie Fauchon and Israel’s own Tasting Room are too showcasing their culinary artistry, in a market in Tel Aviv that never sleeps….
In 2012, Tablet Magazine noticed Tel Aviv was looking to cater for vegans as part of it’s culinary diversity and has now become the top destination of vegan travellers and holidaymakers. More and more Israeli’s are becoming vegans in an attempt to eat a more nutritious and healthy diet, packed full of fresh fruit, vegetables, pulses nuts and grains, yet still wishing to enjoy the culture of eating out. Israel’s national dish of falafel with tahini and salad in pitta found on every street corner is a delight for all vegan’s and now Tel Aviv has become famous for its vegan cafes and restaurants, including Domino’s, serving a vegan pizza. A year ago, Nanuchka opened it’s doors as a vegan Georgian restaurant and with excellent reviews, has become a thriving restaurant for all lovers of good food, vegan or otherwise….
Tomorrow, Friday 17th July 2015, heralds the start of the regular monthly market for Paleo enthusiasts at Hadar Yosef stadium in north Tel Aviv from 09.00 – 14.00 The Paleo diet, also know as the ‘caveman’ diet, is beginning to engage with more Israeli’s, believing that by eating more grass – fed meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and cutting out cereal grains, dairy, refined sugars and pulses they will benefit from a nutritious, iron rich diet without preservatives and additives and enjoy a healthier way of living. Different speciality stalls will be show casing their products each month, including a South African dried meat specialist, organic fruit and vegetables, Maple syrup, olive oil and gluten free pittas and beer. Half of the stands are offering Kosher products too. Israel Good Food Guide is always interested in hearing of innovative products, sellers or growers of food, new food ideas or restaurants that we can support in Israel, for the ultimate culinary experience.
The grapefruit contains large amounts of Vitamin C and fibre and has long been thought to have fat burning properties, which means since 1930’s it has been a ‘successful’ way to diet without going to the gym!! Israel is the largest exporter of grapefruits to the UK and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Professor Yaakov Nahmias has been carrying out research into the chemical ‘naringenin’ thought to be responsible for burning fat. Naringenin is thought to kick-start the process of fat metabolising in our livers, but to have any effect on our waistlines, you would need to consume 40 grapefruits at any one time….
Himalayan Goji Berries have become global superfoods and one of the healthiest fruits in the world, due to their natural anti-inflammatory, anti- bacterial and anti-oxidant properties which help to boost the immune system and enhance strength and longevity. Goji has been imported from China in the form of powder and sold in Israel for many years, but its benefits are not as potent as the berries themselves. In a small field in Avigdor in southern Israel, Goji berries, also known as ‘Wolfberries’ are being grown, but at 200 NIS a kilo (£33 or $53), this reddish berry, that resembles a shrivelled cherry tomato may have topped the superfoods list, but has also shot to the fame as one of the most expensive superfoods on the market….
Today is ‘International Falafel Day’ and the world is celebrating the nearest thing Israel has to a national dish….the falafel. This is the 4th year that the spiced chickpea or fava bean deep fried ball has been honoured and with it’s popularity ever growing, it has now become the most famous of Israel’s street food. A healthy, inexpensive snack, full of protein and readily available, falafel is served in a soft pitta with a chopped salad of tomatoes and cucumber and lashings of tahini, which drips down your chin as you take your first bite….delicious! So next time you are on the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or anywhere in Israel that serves the native dish…..grab one and devour it and let us know where you bought it,[caption