In Hebrew, Kibbutz Galuyot is a phrase meaning ‘Ingathering of the Exiles,’ and Israel is indeed a gathering of people from all over the world who have brought with them to its shores rich and varied culinary traditions. Moroccan couscous, Kurdish kubbe, Ashkenazi gefilte fish, Yemenite jachnoon, Libyan matbucha salad, and of course, Israel’s ubiquitous falafel are all common features in the country’s restaurants and homes. It is from this mosaic of amazing selection that Israel has developed a culinary style of its own, which can be best described as Mediterranean/Jewish fusion, combining French cooking techniques, liberal usage of local products, and ethnic touches. Tel Aviv in particular boasts young and inventive chefs working in excellent restaurants. Throughout the country there are over 300 boutique wineries creating fine wines which perfectly accompany the cuisine, as well as a growing number of small breweries, distilleries, and olive oil producers.

 

Program highlights:

  • Unique restaurants serving local cuisine featuring locally-sourced and fresh ingredients
  • Visits to some of Israel’s most admired wineries
  • Colorful markets filled with vibrant sights, tastes, and aromas
  • Authentic culinary workshop encounters with locals
  • In-depth briefings on geopolitics, security, and multi-cultural coexistence
  • Exposure to history and archeology
  • Unique to Israel: Dead Sea and bird migration

 

What’s included:

  • 8 nights’ accommodation in five-star properties
  • Daily breakfasts at hotel
  • 7 lunches
  • 5 dinners with unlimited wine
  • Full guiding services of an expert tour educator
  • Site visits
  • Speakers
  • Airport transfers for participants arriving and departing at suggested times
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned coach

 

 

Day 1: Arrival in Tel Aviv and opening dinner in Old Jaffa

Day 2: Markets in Tel Aviv

Day 3: Wine and food en route to Jerusalem

Day 4: Old City and New City in Jerusalem

Day 5: Wine and cheese in the Judean Hills, Sabbath meal

Day 6: History and relaxation in the Dead Sea area

Day 7: Arab and Jewish cultures and cuisine en route to the Galilee

Day 8: Geopolitics and security challenges along the northern borders

Day 9: Akko, Druze lunch and Caesarea farewell

 

Day 1: Monday – Arrival

  • Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport and transfer to our Tel Aviv hotel.
  • Opening cocktails and dinner at Otzarin, featuring Eastern Mediterranean cuisine with a French twist in an ancient stone house in Old Jaffa.  Chef Fabrice will explain his favorite aspect of each culinary tradition and how he merges them in his cooking-creating a perfect fusion.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

 


Day 2: Tuesday – Market Day

  • Israel has a long-standing history as a key player in the ancient spice route, and Tel Aviv’s modern trends are reliving this importance. The Levinsky Market dates back to the 1920s, founded by Balkan immigrants who brought their local flavors and traditions with them to the city. Today, gourmet chefs frequent Levinsky Street for fresh spices, dried fruits and store-roasted coffees, as well as for olive oils and deli goods. Accompanied by foodie Inbal Baum, graze the market from top to bottom, all the while meeting the multi-generational families working side by side to tell a story of Israel’s ethnic and culinary history.
  • Lunch at Dr. Shakshuka, serving this unique dish for over 50 years.
  • Take a short walking tour in the Old City of Jaffa, and continue to the Tachana, the historical Ottoman-era train station of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, now carefully restored with coffee shops and small boutiques.
  • From there, walk the short distance to Neve Tzedek, the first neighborhood established in Tel Aviv when the old walled city of Jaffa became too overcrowded for all its residents.  View the charm and beautiful architecture of the area.
  • Proceed to the Nahalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts street fair, and return on foot to the hotel via the vibrant Carmel Market-Tel Aviv’s central marketplace.
  • Free time for dinner in Sarona: in the heart of modern Tel Aviv is nestled an architectural throwback to the Holy Land’s pre-Zionist era. For the past half century, the buildings of Sarona, a 140-year-old German Templer colony, served as government offices or as part of the Israel Defense Forces ‘Kirya’ headquarters compound. Today the area has been converted into a complex of restaurants and shops and its enclosed Sarona Market boasts food stalls from all over Israel and beyond.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

 


Day 3: Wednesday – Reviving 2,000 Years of Winemaking Tradition

  • Check out of the hotel and drive to the Trappist monastery of Latroun to taste wine made by the monks on site.
  • Continue to the Ella Valley, traditionally held as the scene for David’s epic battle with Goliath.  Today, this picturesque landscape is dotted with moshavim (agricultural communities) settled in the 50’s and 60’s by Jewish immigrants from Arab countries.
  • The area is rich in small wineries and cheese farms; tastings en route.
  • Enjoy the excellent Kurdish cuisine at “Grandad’s Home”, not far from the recently excavated ruins of Biblical Shaarayim. Archeologists have established that this was an Israelite frontier post facing the Philistine nations because of the total lack of pig bones at the site, proof of the ancient residents’ adherence to kosher dietary laws.
  • Proceed to Jerusalem.  Upon arrival, enjoy a panoramic view of the city from the Haas Promenade.
  • Check-in to hotel before departing for dinner at Majda, a very unique restaurant run by a Jewish/Muslim couple in the Israeli Arab village of Ein Rafa, located outside the city. Their excellent cooking combines traditional Arab and contemporary cuisines.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 


Day 4: Thursday – Viewpoints in Jerusalem

  • Tour the Old City of Jerusalem, where 20,000 residents crowd into one square-kilometer within 480-year-old walls. While there, enjoy a culinary market tour through the Old City with Chefs for Peace, a non-profit organization engaged in coexistence activities.
  • The reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 prompted the government to create a “security belt” of civilian neighborhoods.  This afternoon we will participate in a seam line tour of Jerusalem and view some of these neighborhoods: Gilo, Armon Hanatziv and Har Homa, all which overlook Arab neighborhoods, where Jews and Arabs reside side by side on the city’s seam line. We will have a multi-dimensional overview of current issues concerning Jerusalem today including the controversial security fence accompanied by Col. (Res.) Dany Tirza known as the architect of the security fence.
  • Enjoy a private master class on preparing the perfect Challah in preparation for the Jewish Sabbath at the home of Ruti Brichter, Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) mother of 12 in her tiny home located a stone’s throw from the Machane Yehuda Food and Spice Market.
  • Free time for dinner in the market.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 


Day 5: Friday – Discoveries in the Judean Hills

  • West of Jerusalem, located down the eastern slope of Mount Eitan by the Sataf Springs, lies an area that has been cultivated for the last six-thousand years. Walk through the ancient terraces to understand the irrigation methods used long ago. In this area Shai Seltzer and his family founded a cheese farm in 1974 based on his 170-strong goat herd and there, operates an award winning goat cheese dairy.
  • Next, visit the Castel winery, one of the oldest boutique wineries in Israel and certainly the oldest in the Judean Hills.
  • Return to Jerusalem and free time for lunch
  • Join thousands of Jerusalem residents and visitors greeting the Sabbath at the Western Wall.
  • The Shabbat of a Lifetime program offers an opportunity to experience an authentic Shabbat evening at the Western Wall and dinner at the home of a host family in the heart of Jerusalem.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 


Day 6: Saturday – Only at the Dead Sea

  • Drive to the Dead Sea region, the lowest point on Earth.
  • Stop at Ein Gedi, where the unique minerals in the ground and the sweet water springs have combined to create a special botanical garden.
  • Continue to Masada, King Herod’s mountain palace and site of the Jewish Zealots’ last stand against the Roman Legionnaires and ascend by cable car.
  • Then proceed to the oasis of Ein Bokek to one of the Dead Sea’s resort hotels for lunch, spa treatments (not included in tour cost), and an opportunity to float in the Dead Sea.
  • Return to Jerusalem for a free evening and optional late night Sound and Light Show or Western Wall Tunnels tour.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 


Day 7: Sunday –Ascent to the Galilee-An Experience into Cultural Diversity

  • Check-out of your hotel.
  • At the Biblical Gardens of Neot Kedumim, plant a tree and prepare pita bread as it was prepared in Biblical times.
  • Continuing north along Route 6, we travel parallel to the separation fence, stopping at the Kibbutz Magal, famous for its excellent olive oils and extensive and varied olive groves.
  • Visit the town of Umm El Fahm, meeting with a local Imam at his mosque before enjoying a traditional hospitality lunch at a local home.
  • Journey towards the Sea of Galilee for a boat ride and a visit to the recently excavated site of Magdala, site of a 2,000-year-old fishing village which played a role in the heritage of the New Testament.
  • Proceed to nearby Tiberias and check-in to the Scots Hotel.
  • Dinner at hotel.

Overnight: Scots Hotel

 


Day 8: Monday- Food and Borders

  • Travel up to the Lebanese Border, which is guarded by a series of military outposts manned by young men and women serving in the IDF.  Here, meet some of the soldiers at Kibbutz Malkiye, and receive a security briefing on the current situation.
  • Enjoy a light picnic lunch prepared by Chef Tal and walk through the Dan Nature Reserve, in which flows the Dan River – one of the three rivers that combine to form the Jordan River.
  • Board jeeps and drive off-road into the foothills of the Golan Heights, visiting some of the Syrian bunkers used until the Six Day War, when Israel captured these heights from Syria.
  • At Kibbutz Ein Zivan, we find two of the culinary treasures of the Heights: the De Karina Chocolate factory and the Pelter Winery.  Participate in a chocolate making workshop as well as a wine tasting at the winery.
  • Enjoy a chance to see some of the half billion birds migrating through Israel towards Africa on their journey from northern Europe and Asia at the Agamon Hahula Nature Reserve.
  • Proceed to Moshav Livnim to enjoy dinner at Roberg, a lovely chef restaurant overlooking the Sea of Galilee.  Chef Ilan Roberg will explain the laws of kashrut (kosher dietary rules) and how modern Israeli cooking has been adapted to accommodate them.

Overnight: Scots Hotel

 


Day 9: Tuesday – History and Tradition along the Coast

  • Check-out of hotel and drive west towards the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The  ancient city of Akko features an impressive collection of fortresses, citadels, churches and mosques all depicting the history of the many rulers to mention a few – Canaanites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders and Mamelukes – who governed and fought for this city throughout the history. Its colorful Oriental markets, museums and beaches are but a few more of the city’s attractions.  The old city of Acre has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
  • At the nearby Druze Village of Julis, enter a local home and participate in a cooking workshop, learning to prepare traditional Druze delicacies. Learn about the lifestyle and beliefs of the Druze people while cooking and eating together.
  • Drive past the impressive and imposing Bahai Gardens in Haifa, a city which prides itself on coexistence, and proceed onwards to Caesarea. There, tour the impressively preserved Roman ruins and stroll along its Crusader-built harbor.
  • Enjoy a special farewell dinner here before continuing to Ben Gurion Airport for the flight home.

 

*Itinerary is subject to change pending circumstances beyond our control*

 

From USD 3,538 per person sharing a twin room, land package.

Supplement for accommodations in a single room USD 1,334.

Based on a minimum of 15 paying passengers per group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chef Fabrice

Chef Fabrice is the executive chef of “Otzarin” in Jaffa.  A native of France, he acquired his culinary education in Normandy and stayed true to his origins after his immigration to Israel, in his utilization of a unique blend of local Mediterranean flavors, herbs and professional precision.  Fabrice draws much inspiration from the ancient and picturesque scenery of Jaffa, and uses it to inspire his culinary creations.

 


Inbal Baum

A former attorney and yoga instructor, Inbal founded her company, Delicious Israel’s, intimate culinary journeys in 2011 and has taken the lead as one of the country’s most enticing food experts.  She takes special care and pride in providing unique explorations through the markets where participants in her tours learn and taste what it is like to be truly Israeli and provides engaging encounters with those who call the Holy Land home.   

 


Avi Melamed

Avi serves as the Salisbury Fellow of Intelligence and Middle East Affairs for the Eisenhower Institute, and is an expert on current affairs in the Arab and Muslim world and their impact on Israel and the Middle East.  He is a former Israeli intelligence officer and senior official on Arab affairs.  Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk government, senior advisory, intelligence and counter-terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities-often in very sensitive times-on behalf of Israeli government agencies.

 


Dr. Dany Tirza

Dr. Tirza began his long military career (1977-2007) as a combat soldier and commander of regimental units in Judea and Samaria (1980-1994).  In 1994, he was appointed head of a special staff in charge of the regional and strategic planning which provided assistance to the government including the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense in their decision making process on security and regional issues.   In this capacity he was in charge of planning Israel’s security infrastructure (including the security barrier in and around Jerusalem) and participated in ‘thinking teams’ at the Prime Minister’s Office, the National Security Council and the Control Terrorism Bureau.  He has participated in Israeli delegations to peace negotiations with the Palestinians as an expert on territorial issues and mapping.

 


Shai Seltzer

The founder and inspiration behind the Har Eitan Farm’s delectable varieties of artisanal cheese, Shai has been proficient in his craft since 1980.  Additionally, he has participated, won awards, and has sat on panels of judges at international cheese exhibitions.  Shai is a proud member of the Italian Academy of Cheese and is a locally renowned slow food activist.

 

 

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