Culinary tours in Israel / Judean Cuisine
~ The tastes of Jerusalem, Judean hills & Ella Valley ~
After 20 years of guiding tours all over Israel, Nurit now specializes in Jerusalem and Judean Mountains area. Her culinary tours focus on biblical culture, historic religion, Israeli culture, and local culinary experience. Nurit is a talented chef who constantly explores the tastes and aroma of local cuisine.
Market tours in Israel
A tour in Israel’s markets provides tourists with a multi-sensual experience of Israel’s varied culture by becoming acquainted with the Israeli kitchen. All the markets offer a “taste” of the various ethnic groups that make up the mosaic of Israeli society. A tasting tour in one of the markets can be included as part of a day trip in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, and gives a light and tasty break from the various tourist sites. The tours are always interwoven with fascinating stories and encounters with local personalities.
Please mention if your group needs kosher food.
Culinary tour in Mahane Yehuda Market
Jerusalem’s market began at the end of the 19th century as an alternative to the Old City’s markets, as Jerusalem expanded towards the west. Since then the market has continued to develop and is a magnet for Jerusalem’s guests, both Israelis and tourists alike. The market is deeply connected to the surrounding neighborhoods – the Nachlaot – and offers a peek into a vanishing world, the world of the Jerusalem that was, with its narrow stone alleys, wells, communal ovens and clotheslines stretched between the houses. The market area has a unique variety of kitchens from all the ethnic groups – from North Africa, Iraq and Iran, Kurdistan and Syria, through the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and French bakery shops. During the tour we will sample a range of foods that make up Israel’s kitchen today.
Samples include; Jerusalem humus, Kurdistan-style stuffed vegetables, Turkish burekas or Georgian pastries, coffee or ice cream, health drinks based on the Maimonide’s medicine, spices, tahini and halva, Jerusalem pita baked in a stone oven, etc.
Culinary tour in the Old City
A magical tour in the footsteps of the Arab kitchen takes us through ancient alleys to small humus stalls, seasonal spice sellers, an ancient tahini factory, sweets sellers – all accompanied by the aroma of fresh coffee. We will visit a traditional tahini factory that has been grinding tahini for the entire Old City for 150 years; we will taste the Old City’s famous kebab, that still has a “firman” (permit) from the Ottoman regime; we will enjoy local pastries, “wipe” fresh hot hummus, sample seasonal dishes, enjoy the aroma of fresh spices; and for dessert – kanafeh, sweeter than honey.
Winery and brewery tour in the Ella Valley
The Ella Valley, famous since the times of King David, has in recent years again become a center for vineyards and winemaking. The region has several excellent family-run boutique wineries, based mostly on terroir. In addition there are local beer breweries. We will visit two wineries and one brewery, we will hear their stories, and sample the region’s copious varieties and excellent quality.
The wineries can be chosen according to personal preference, within a medium to high price range.
A foraging tour in the Judean hills & Ella Valley
"What was in King David's lunch box?"
The foraging culture is deeply rooted in our past. Long before humans started farming and settled into villages their nutrition depended on foraging wild plants (and hunting).
The Judean Hills are the natural landscape in which the Jewish rural culture was formed.
In this unique tour, we will become familiar with the local plants that grow in the Judean Hills since Biblical times (and before), and will learn how to use them as both medicine and food. We will gather from the variety of plants in the area and create a meal inspired by the food people have been eating here during ancient times.
The tour includes a field trip to historical sites and a review that connects us with past event and life style, as well as a field cooking class based on local plants. In this workshop, our chefs will help us cook traditional dishes based on all the ingredients we foraged together.
A sample meal includes: Pita with local za’atar (hyssop), local leaves stuffed with rice, salads, tahini seasoned with wild garlic, mallow patties, a pot stew from lentils infused with local spice herbs. At the end of the workshop we will enjoy a full meal of our cooking together.
The tour is intended primarily for tourists who have already been to Israel and are looking for a unique, active and bonding experience that will familiarize them with Israeli nature and culture. It is suited for families and adults.
Duration: approximately 3 hours.
Recommended season: December – April.
“The sounds, smells and tastes of the “shuk” (market) take on a new dimension. Nurit was a terrific guide. Everyone in the “shuk” seems to know & love her, making us feel as if we were with a shuk celebrity! She provided wonderful background information about the families that settled the area where the “shuk” is located as well as the perfect combination of tastings“