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Tour Israel: Days of wine

Posted on:
May 15, 2014
Lifestyle, Travel
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It is no secret that our wine-making abilities have been on the up in Israel for some time now. Israeli wines are feted around the globe, winning medals and competitions galore, and new boutique wineries just keep on springing up. Wine-related tourism has also enjoyed a surge in recent years. There are vineyards and wineries to visit, and the wares thereof to taste, all over the country.

Wine has been on the national and cultural agenda for thousands of years, and the iconic outsized bunch of grapes that we associate with the biblical story of the fumbled espionage foray by 12 representatives of the Children of Israel into Canaan is an ever-present reminder not only of the need to maintain an honest approach to life but also of the joys to be had by imbibing a decent vintage.

The upturn in interest in wine, wineries and vineyards has prompted the Tourism Ministry to establish Wine Routes in various grape cultivation-friendly regions. The routes are designed to encourage people from urban and other environments to seek out new parts of the country and follow trails that wind their way among all kinds of boutique wine-producing facilities and, if they have the time, to avail themselves of local rustic accommodation and other local entertainment, cultural and fun services.

Wine-related tourism activities have proliferated all over the country in recent years, with the Judean Plains and the area around Jerusalem one of the leading regions of the sector. The Mateh Yehuda area is home to some 20 wineries, such as the Hans Sternbach Vineyard at Moshav Givat Yeshayahu, the Sea Horse Winery at Moshav Bar-Giora, the Tzora Vineyards, the Agur Winery, the Flam Winery near the Kedoshim Forest and the Domaine du Castel winery at Ramat Raziel.

Today, many wineries offer the public more than just wine and wine tasting. Hans Sternbach Vineyard, for example, comprises the organic Janaba Vineyard, an organic garden, a restaurant and a venue for small events, as well as tours and wine tasting. HSV produces around 16,000 bottles a year. (For more information: www.hsw.co.il) At the other end of the Ella Valley, the Sea Horse Winery offers a range of wines, many of which have cinematic, literary or musicrelated names. The latter feed off owner Zeev Dunie’s prior professional experience as a documentary filmmaker. The wines include the Syrah and Cabernet Fellini blend, the Syrah-based Camus, and Lennon made with Zinfandel grapes. Sea Horse also offers guided tours.

(For more information: www.seahorsewines.com/) Meanwhile, over at Moshav Agur, a visitors’ center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

on weekends, and the winery courtyard hosts customized family events. Agur started up 15 years ago and today produces close to 20,000 bottles a year. These include the Bordeaux-style Kessem and Special Reserve, and the Syrah-Mourvedre blended Layam wine.

(For bookings and more information: 050-867-4505 andwww.agurwines.com.) Mateh Yehuda also has an annual wine festival in October. A map of the region’s Wine Way can be found at m-yehuda.org.il.) Another leader on the national wine tourism scene is the Kramim area near the Carmel region in the North. The two-day Land of Vineyards and Flavors Festival took place at Ramat Hanadiv Gardens near Binyamina in early April, with 22 wineries of all sizes on the roster. The exhibitor lineup included the Eyal Winery at Moshav Givat Nili, which produces Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Carignan wines, based exclusively on locally grown grapes.

(For more information: 057-774-4135 and Eyalwinery@gmail.com) The moshav is also home to the Alona Winery, which was established in 2001. The enterprise puts out a wide range of wines, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Agol.

Binyamina was represented at the festival by several ventures. In addition to a range of wines, the Asambia Winery offers meals, guided tours, wine tasting, cooking workshops and an experiential alcohol workshop.

(For more information: 054-647-4066 and www.asambia.co.il) The Binyamina Winery, which has been producing fine wines for more than 60 years, offers a wide range of quality products, such as Yogev, Binyamina Reserve, BIN and Teva. There is also a variety of liqueurs on sale on the premises. The Binyamina Winery visitors’ center is housed in a building constructed in 1925 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, and there are guided tours and wine tasting on offer.

(For more information: (04) 610-7530/5 and www.binyaminawines.co.il) Founded by Baron Rothschild in 1882, the Carmel Winery in Zichron Ya’acov is one of the best-known operators in the field. Its modern Center for Wine Culture houses a wine shop, restaurant, two specialist tasting rooms and a small cinema, as well as a barrel room in one of Rothschild’s historic underground cellars. There are also 60-minute guided tours and wine workshops.

(For more information: (04) 639-1788 and www.carmelwines.co.il) If you’re looking to take your oenophilic pursuits up a couple of notches, you can go to the Yama wine spa in Zichron Ya’acov, where you can smooth out a few brow wrinkles in a wine bath while casting an eye over a view of nearby vineyards and the Mediterranean Sea. The Yama chill-out experience also extends to grape-seed massages and Dead Sea salt scrub downs and vinotherapy body wraps.

(For more information: 077-443-1240; 054-664-4849; and www.yamaspa.co.il) Farther east, the Golan Heights region provides a plethora of wineries with assorted liquid, instructional and fun offerings.

The hilltop ventures include the awardwinning Golan Heights Winery (Tel: (04) 696-8435/09), which has a visitors’ center, offers guided tours and wine tasting, and sells wine accessories and souvenirs.

Elsewhere in the hilly region, you can find the Ein Nasahut Winery (052-279-1457), Golan Basalt Winery (Tel: (04) 696-5010), Ram Winery (054-631-1998) and the Bashan Winery (04) 676-2618), and the Bel Ofri agricultural farm (052-279-1457) at Kidmat Zvi, which offers wine workshops and dinner.

The region’s wine tourism activities recently received a boost when Tourism Minister Uzi Landau announced the launch of a NIS 250,000 pilot project that will hopefully lead to the establishment of a Wine Way in the Galilee.

Meanwhile down south, several wineries have emerged in the Negev in recent years, such as the Kadesh Barnea Winery (054- 477-4917), Derech Eretz in Mitzpe Ramon (050-526-0768 andkishfarm@gmail.com), the Sde Boker Winery on the eponymous kibbutz, which operates a visitors’ center (050-757-9212), and the Rujum Winery at the Desert Shade Eco Lodge Guesthouse in Mitzpe Ramon (054-627-7413).

There are also several wine-based festivals and other events that take place during the year, such as the Home Wineries Fair at the Sorek Winery; the White Wine Festival at the Herzliya Marina; and the Rosh Pina Wine Festival, all in May. The Four Wineries Festival at Ramot Naftali takes place in early June, and the Festivino Ra’anana is later that month.

:: JPost.com

What do Justin Timberlake and Hummus have in common?

Posted on:
May 13, 2014
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Justin and Hummus

Today is International Hummus Day! Rumour has it that JT has demanded Hummus while he visits Israel on his World Tour.

The superstar will be performing in Tel Aviv on May 28th. According to YNetNews, word on the street is that Timberlake is demanding “a platter of hummus, after [he] was instructed not to leave Israel without tasting one of its national dishes.”

We here at SDM don’t blame him! A trip to Israel would not be the same without the chickpea dip.

:: YNetNews.com

#FoodieFriday: Shakshuka with Feta and Cilantro

Posted on:
May 9, 2014
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FoodieFriday Shakshukah

For today’s #FoodieFriday, we here at SDM have decided to equip you with all the right tools to make a delicious Sunday Brunch!

Shakshuka with Feta and Cilantro


5 tbsp Olive or Coconut Oil
1 Medium onion, diced
4 Cloves of garlic, diced
1 Red pepper, chopped
1 Green pepper, chopped
1 Can of whole tomatoes
1 Can of diced tomatoes
5 eggs
Kosher salt + pepper to taste
1 tsp, Cumin
Handful of cilantro leaves and stems, diced
Feta cheese (to your discretion)

Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm oil in the pan. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begin to become a little translucent. Add a dash of salt, pepper and cumin to the onions and stir. Finally, add the garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant. Next, add the bell peppers and continue sauteeing for another 6 – 8 minutes or until peppers are starting to brown.

Add both cans of tomatoes to pan, stir till blended. Throw in a bit more of the cumin and add some Sriracha to the pan of vegetables. Stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 6 – 8 minutes (you can break apart some of the whole tomatoes at this point too — just push down with a spoon to break them apart a bit). At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences.

Before cracking each egg into the pan, make a little divot in sauce for egg to go into. Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. It’s common shakshuka practice to place 4 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook “over easy” style on top of the tomato sauce.

Cover your pan and allow to cook on a simmer for an addition 10 – 15 minutes. Keep an on the eggs to make sure that the yolks remain ‘over easy’ to ‘over medium’. Add the feta, if using, halfway through your last 10 – 15 minutes of cooking. Once done, garnish with cilantro. Enjoy with a big piece of crusty bread.

:: JewHungry

#FoodieFriday… Chocolate Covered Figs

Posted on:
May 2, 2014
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Do you love figs as much as we do here at SDM? How about chocolate? What about if both were combined? If you think this mix sounds as delicious as we do, follow this recipe to make it yourself!


  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cold milk
  • 6 figs


  1. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over boiling water.
  2. Add in cold milk and mix with a spatula. It gets thicker this way.
  3. Let the mixture reach room temperature.
  4. Peel figs.
  5. Take a piece of chocolate dough, a bit bigger than a fig and flatten it.
  6. Place a fig in the center, gently form it with your hands and close it up until the fig is completely covered.
  7. Place them on a baking paper so that they don’t stick.
  8. Wait in refrigerator at least for 4 hours and serve cold.

:: GiveRecipe.com

Michelin-starred chefs to raise funds for Jerusalem’s elderly

Posted on:
April 10, 2014
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Leading chefs from France, Germany and Holland to cook gourmet dinner together with Israeli counterparts to help complete life enrichment center for needy senior citizens.


Leading chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants are arriving in Israel this week to participate in a fundraiser for Ezrat Avot, an association providing for Jerusalem’s elderly population.

The fundraiser was initiated after the construction of a health and life enrichment center in the city for needy senior citizens was halted due to lack of budget.

Chef Shalom Kadosh of the Fattal Hotels chain decided to help out and sponsor a special culinary event which will be held Thursday with chefs from around the world, who will cook a gourmet dinner together with Israeli chefs.

The funds raised at the event will be dedicated to the completion of the Jerusalem center.

Chefs Marc Haeberlin and Philippe Legendre from France, German chef Harald Wohlfahrt and Israeli chef Moshik Roth from Amsterdam, who share several Michelin stars, will be joined by Israeli chefs Aviv Moshe, Golan Gurfinkel, Yoram Nitzan, Meir Adoni, Mika Sharon, Ezra Kedem, Segev Moshe and Eran Schwartzbard.

The event will be held at the renovated Cardo hall at Jerusalem’s Leonardo Plaza Hotel and will be hosted by writer Hanoch Daum. It will also be attended by the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, who has been aiding the Ezrat Avot association.


Printing Food: Israeli Start Up Could Revolutionize the Way We Eat (VIDEO)

Posted on:
March 24, 2014
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Israeli company White Innovation is currently developing an entirely new and remarkably fast way to prepare food from the comfort of your kitchen, Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Saturday.

Its product, known as “Ginny”, is essentially a souped-up printer that is small enough to fit on any counter. To create a meal one places a capsule of raw ingredients into one side of the machine. Then, olive oil, milk or water is injected. It then marinates for about thirty seconds and voila: a delectable feast awaits.

The developers behind Ginny claim that printed food has, “tremendous potential as a way to eat cheaper and healthier.” In theory, products like Ginny could revolutionize the food market, Channel 10 said. However, the vast potential is currently only on paper as Ginny is still undergoing a final series of tweaks before making a public debut.

Recently, the device was put to the ultimate test when acclaimed Israeli chef Israel Aharoni was invited to sample the printed food. While Aharoni came away impressed, he does not think Ginny will replace homemade cooking anytime soon. Rather, he sees it as a valuable addition to culinary innovation.

Having nibbled on some of the food, the veteran cuisinier noted that all the foodstuffs he tasted, “Were not completely accurate [representations of the original] and had a uniform texture. However, each item had its own distinct flavor. I believe that [Ginny] is the beginning of a very interesting process and I’m curious to know where it will lead.”

Watch a report (Hebrew) on printed food below: