Wine, cheese and chocolate – could there be a better combination? All this we’ll meet in a culinary tour in the green North of Israel, from the Carmel Mountain to the Galilee, which is known nowadays as Israel’s Tuscany.
We will leave on our tour from the center of the country and drive to the Tishbi Winery, where we’ll start the day with a rich breakfast. We will tour the winery and the vineyards and learn about the production process of wine and brandy as well as about the vineyard’s terroir. The Tishbi winery is one of the oldest in Israel. A visit to the winery is in fact an encounter with an unbroken tradition starting in 1882. The name “Tishbi” was given by Israel’s national poet, Bialik, in 1925. Once there, we’ll taste the Tishbi wines which have seen success both in Israel and abroad for quite a number of years.
Our culinary tour will then continue to the “Ha-Noked” dairy farm. “Ha-Noked” is an outstanding boutique dairy farm producing boutique cheeses. Its specialties are organic goat and sheep cheeses. During our visit we will learn about the way cheese is produced at “Ha-Noked” and about the principles of organic dairy production. Naturally, we’ll taste some of the delicacies. And if we’re lucky, we might even see the flocks of sheep and goats gently making their way on the local hillsides.
We’ll have lunch in an Arab restaurant in the Galilee, at Kfar Rama. “Ezba” is a well-established culinary hallmark. The restaurant specializes in the refined dishes of the Arab cuisine of the Galilee. Its cooking makes extensive use of herbs and spices from the area and offers us a unique opportunity to taste the simple and mouth-watering delicacies which are traditionally served on the tables of local Arab families. The dishes vary according to the season and to what Nature has to offer in the immediate surroundings.
After lunch, we shall continue our culinary tour with a visit at the “Rimon” winery where pomegranate “wine” is produced. This is the only place in the world producing pomegranate-wine. The winery uses a special kind of pomegranates which is grown locally and produces a deep-red juice with an especially high content of vitamins. It was a typical Israeli idea to try producing wine from these fabulous pomegranates and within a few years of the experiment, the wine turned out to be an unprecedented hit with the public. Nowadays, the winery produces a number of pomegranate wines all of which sell very nicely.
Not far from there, to the north, we’ll reach the Miles winery and Adir winery at Kerem Ben-Zimra, a high-end boutique winery. Indeed, the Northern Galilee and especially this particular spot is extremely suited not only for growing wonderful pomegranates but for cultivating vine in order to produce wine of the more traditional kind. The Miles winery, a small, very select family business, is known for the great care taken in all the phases of production. The owners believe that the process must start with the proper treatment of the vines, so all the work is done by members of the Miles family themselves, from caring for the vines and the grapes up to the aging of the wine in a specially built cellar.
Nothing can sweeten a culinary tour like having some excellent chocolate on our way back. This we’ll find in Kiryat Tivon, made by “Mishi”. Gourmet chocolate is used for the meticulous preparation of pralines that leave their mark for many hours. Nougat and fruit, marzipan and genache, with alcohol or any number of other fillings, a visit to “Mishi” will no doubt be a perfect conclusion to a culinary tour to Northern Israel.