Israeli born Tal Spiegel has two passions in his life…..shoes & pastries. As an innovative graphic designer and chef patissier living in Paris, he combines the two by designing beautiful colourful pastries to go with his stylish shoe collection. He has created an Instagram feed ‘Desserted in Paris’ which showcases his imagination for beautifully crafted pastries which he cleverly marries to his exquisite taste in footwear. Already the famous Paris patisserie chain Fauchon, has made it’s mark in Tel Aviv, with the opening of a large shop in Sarona, selling stunning pastries and the magnificent macarons that have taken Israel by storm and yet another major French patisserie Laduree, is set to open it’s doors in Tel Aviv early next year. Laduree was founded in Paris in 1862 and considered to be the most well known bakery in the world for producing the perfectly round macaron. In 1930 the patisserie realised that by sandwiching the two macarons together with a cream filling was the way forward and today from its main bakery in Switzerland, the innovative flavoured double beauties …
Last night I was introduced to the ‘Crembo’….Israel’s winter ice cream substitute and considered to be ‘the best thing ever’ by all sweet toothed Israelis. The Crembo is a thin biscuit base, with a dome of unctuous, sweet, vanilla flavoured cream, with an almost Italian meringue consistency, smothered in rich dairy free milk chocolate and wrapped in foil. It is dairy free and therefore can be eaten after a meat meal. They are exported to the United States to mostly Kosher shops. Being a nation of coffee lovers, the Crembo can too be found in a coffee flavoured cream middle, but it is the vanilla flavoured confection that is still the favourite. Crembo is only found in the shops after the heat of the summer and as autumn begins. It is eaten only in the winter months, usually from October to February when is disappears from the shelves, to make way for ‘real’ ice cream. Once tasted, there is no going back from the national winter dessert….’The Crembo’
With temperatures still lingering on in the 80’s, ice cream remains a hot topic with new parlours opening throughout Israel, with flavours to excite everyone’s taste buds. Ice cream, sorbets and frozen yoghurts with a taste of Sicily or Tuscany thrown in to the mix are delighting all of the country, with creative combinations of flavours to cater for all tastes. These new boutique parlours are missing no-one out, with sorbets and granitas for vegans, ice cream that is gluten free using rice flour as their substitute for wheat flour and all are being made with out additives or preservatives and using natural and local produce. Innovative infusions have caused a stir on the palate with the addition of warm spices or nut pastes added to the all the old favourites of chocolate, coffee and vanilla to name but a few…..pure decadence!!
The coffee culture is Israel is one to be taken very seriously….. In 2003, Starbucks closed it’s 6 branches, as Israeli’s voted with their feet deciding that the coffee was not to their liking and favoured their own chains of coffee shops, namely Aroma, ArCafee and CafeCafe, as well as supporting independent businesses producing quality coffee for the locals. Coffee names in Israel differ from the UK or America, so when ordering a ‘latte’, you will probably find you are handed a “café hafuch,”, literally meaning “an upside down coffee”, but put simply, it is a rich espresso with creamy hot milk. Try the dark, aromatic Turkish coffee known as “cafe Botz” or “mud coffee”, with a heady cardamom spice or even “nescafe” Israel’s instant coffee, that is enjoyed all over the country and replacing the cafetiere or percolated coffee. Today is the first International Coffee Day, an excuse to enjoy the drink as well as “support the millions of farmers whose livelihoods depend on the aromatic crop”, so whether your drink is a cappuccino, …
Israel’s health ministry has ruled that Heinz tomato ketchup should be re-labelled and sold in Israel as ‘tomato seasoning’ due to insufficient tomato concentrate. Israel’s top selling brand of ketchup Osem, tested Heinz ketchup and found it contained a mere 21% tomato concentrate which is not enough to call it ketchup by Israeli standards, who require almost double the amount at 41%. Heinz ketchup dates back to 1876, where it made it’s debut in America and has since been accepted as the number one brand for ketchup exporting over 12 million bottles a year, without ever questioning it’s name or tomato content. With the Israeli standard for ketchup yet to be brought in line with the accepted international standards, Israel’s distributer of the Heinz tomato ketchup is reputedly looking into changing these regulations, allowing it’s name to remain unscathed on Israel’s supermarket shelves…..
In the newly opened Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, a slice of Parisian patisserie is making an impact with the arrival of Fauchon, French gastronomy at its best!! Established in 1886 by Auguste Fauchon, the French culinary traditions of using only the finest raw ingredients still hold true in his brand of chocolates and patisserie, now selling in Tel Aviv’s Sarona market. Éclairs, millefeuilles, truffles and macarons are just some of the delicacies that are sure to excite the tastebuds of Sarona’s shoppers….
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….
If you are looking to live like a local, eat like a local and cook like a local…..shop in the nearest shuk!! In the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv or Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem, the seasonal produce is fresh and plentiful and the further in you go, the cheaper it becomes! Take bags, a hat, water to drink and comfortable shoes……this is a culinary experience and will have you wandering the stalls for hours, buying spices, halva, baklava and wonderful looking fruit and vegetables to cook up a real feast…..just like the Israelis!!
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.