Hummas and Pita.
The National Football League has declared hummus the official dip of the NFL, promoting the Middle Eastern delicacy to the vast population of football fans that exist across America.
Specifically, the league chose Sabra Dipping Co., owned by PepsiCo Inc., as its official dips sponsor.
The decision comes just as the company approved its first batch of US television commercials, most likely part of a substantial campaign to bring hummus to the American masses.
Ronen Zohar, the Israeli-born CEO of Sabra, is confident that the hummus trend will catch on in the States, and that hummus will take over mayo as the next big dip to accompany cold cuts and vegetarian sandwiches.
One commercial, labeled “a guide to good dipping,” displays the different kinds of hummus Sabra offers, and the variety of items you can dip, including chicken wings, carrots, celery, and chips. Coincidentally, the typical Monday Night Football smorgasbord. The commercial goes on to advise viewers to “dip life to the fullest.”
Zohar realizes, though, that his work is cut out for him.
Currently, salsa is (obviously) the most popular dip for NFL gatherings and Super Bowl parties, producing double the sales hummus does.
However, hummus-like spreads have been growing by 14% in the States.
“Most of the people in the US never tasted hummus,” Zohar told Bloomberg. “You have to change their mindset that even if the name is strange and the brown color of the hummus is not as appetizing, it tastes wonderful.”
Mezze is a lovely little café on the corner of Balfour street, and athough it’s not exclusively vegan it offers a to-die-for all vegan breakfast.
Their “omlet” is made of tofu, chickpea flour, fresh herbs, and it comes with fresh whole grain bread, cream “cheese” made of ground nuts, and my favorite: the beetroot-sesame cream spread.
Pick a hot and a cold drink with your all-inclusive breakfast: the soy cappuccino is just perfect, and the home made herbal ice tea is probably the best one of it’s kind.
Address: 51 Ehad haam st., Tel Aviv, Israel. Tel: 972-03-6299753 Don’t forget to like their Facebook page.
Legendary Buddha Burgers were the first vegan restaurants in Israel, and by now they have restaurants in four locations, including Haifa.
These guys have just about everything on the menu what you can feel irresistible cravings for: goulash, lassagna, tacos, shniztlel, smoothies, and of course burgers of many kind. Tough choice, huh?
That’s why the happiest day is Friday, when the flagship restaurant on Herzl street holds an all day buffet brunch, offering you to try almost everything from the menu.
Address: Yehuda HaLevy 21, Tel Aviv. Tel: 03-5101222 / 333 Full English menu on their website.
Just off Allenby, taking the abandoned place of Tel Aviv’s once celebrated lesbian bar called Minerva, Zakaim is with no doubt the Queen of vegan restaurants in Israel. You got to start with an almond-arak cocktail!
While you’re sipping the liquid heaven, the open kitchen gives you the opportunity to see how the professional and friendly chefs burning the hell out of the tomatoes and eggplants for their signature tomato soup, or their famous eggplant dish – which comes with a chunk of sweet chala bread.
Surprisingly the most incredible dish is the most simple one: the fried potatoes. They are so crispy, so heart and tummy warming, that they’ll take you back in time and space to the home of your Israeli grandmother (I sadly never had).
Address: Simtat Beit HaSho’eva 20 (Alenby 98) Tel Aviv, Israel Tel: 03-613-5060 Check out Zakaim’s Facebook page.
Cheap and delish eat on King George, just by Dizengoff Center, offering Israel’s signature dish, shawarma (or gyros for the Greeks) in a vegan version.
Just as the original version, this one comes wrapped up in a pita or wholegrain tortilla, loads of fresh veggies, hummus, tahini, and amba – which is Middle-East’s answer to mango chutney. The guys also offer super satisfying burgers – my favorite one is the double cheeseburger, made with lentils, fried mushrooms, and melting veggie cheese.
As the place is open untill pretty late, it’s always the best option to cure your developing hangover after a hardcore party in Tel Aviv.
Address: King george 81, 64337 Tel Aviv, Israel, 1-700-700-358 Check out their lovely food at the Facebook page.
Un voyage en sol hébreu peut en réalité commencer ici même, au Québec. Dans une succursale de la Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ).
«Vous avez du vin d’Israël?»
«Vous voulez dire du vin casher?», répliquerait quasi immanquablement l’employé de la SAQ.
Dans l’esprit de bien des Québécois, en effet, qui dit vin d’Israël dit vin casher, en référence à un produit spécial élaboré par et pour des gens de religion juive.
Pourtant, les vignerons de cette partie du Proche-Orient cherchent à s’affranchir de cette perception.
Leurs vins, disent-ils, peuvent être bons, tout en étant par ailleurs casher.
Lorsqu’on passe quelques jours là-bas, notamment sur les hauteurs du Golan, alors qu’on entend résonner au loin les tirs d’obus syriens, on réalise que les gens de Golan Heights Winery, de Galil Mountain et de Ella Vineyards n’ont effectivement pas à rougir: leurs vins, bien que généreux en alcool, sont d’une fraîcheur inattendue. Les blancs surtout – notamment le viognier -, se comparent avantageusement à ce qui se fait par exemple en Australie ou en Californie.
L’ancien et le moderne
La scène viticole d’Israël se distingue en mariant, pour ainsi dire, l’ancien et le moderne – surtout aux yeux de gens comme nous, à peu près complètement sécularisés.
Ainsi, chez Galil Mountain, se côtoient par exemple le rabbin, vêtu et coiffé de manière très orthodoxe, et le winemaker Micha Vaadia, 46 ans, jeans, t-shirt, cheveux longs, air cool…
Lorsque le visiteur circule dans le chai en compagnie de ce dernier, on prend garde de ne toucher à rien, pas même de caresser une barrique du bout des doigts – au risque de rendre le vin impur aux yeux des juifs pratiquants.
Micha Vaadia se fait alors rassurant : il n’est pas pratiquant et il ne porte d’ailleurs pas non plus la kippa. Le bon Québécois laïc se sent déjà un peu mieux, surtout qu’il n’y a pas de rabbin dans les parages, juste quelques ouvriers religieux.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved on Sunday a bill that would ban the sale of fatty goose and duck livers, even if the force-feeding procedure did not take place in Israel.
About a decade ago the High Court of Justice ruled force-feeding of geese and the production of goose liver illegal. If the bill becomes a law, it would become impossible to purchase fatty goose liver in Israel, which can today be found in fine restaurants.
The bill was proposed by MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) after he was inspired by the State of California, currently the only place in the world that not only bans force-feeding geese, but also the marketing of fatty goose liver.
“This is an exciting day for anyone with a conscience who knows that animals suffer just like us,” said Lipman after the bill was approved. “Israeli society had decided to ban force-feeding in order to put an end to this abuse, not in order relocate it.” Lipman added that the banning of marketing fatty liver also stems for the halakhic prohibition of causing cruelty to animals.
“Force-feeding is cruel,” said the committee chairwoman, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. “It’s abusing animals merely to serve a human desire,” she wrote in her Facebook profile shortly after the session was concluded. Livni also pointed out that in this case, geography shouldn’t play a role. “The struggle against animal cruelty doesn’t stop at the border.”
The only one to oppose the bill was Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir (Likud-Beiteinu). Committee members said he argued that the ministers supported the bill only to “find favor with the Tel Avivians.” The purpose of the bill is admirable, he later explained, but added that its current version does not take into account all of the implications.
The ban, he warned could, impact Israel’s agricultural exports and also bring harm to ritual Jewish slaughter in many countries that believe it causes great suffering to animals. “Due to cost-benefit considerations, we must carefully examine the implications of the proposal and give them expression in the legislative process,” he added.
The cooking of Shula, Hannah, Yulia, Doris, Tzipi and their friends from the northern Israeli city of Nazareth Illit is loved by anyone who has ever entered their kitchen. In fact, their food gained such popularity that it has even reached the White House.
A book of recipes from the kitchens of the different denominations these women come from will be included in the national health campaign of US First Lady Michelle Obama, “Let’s Move!”
It all began in an empowerment workshop for women in Nazareth Illit’s southern neighborhood, held in cooperation with JCD Israel’s Ashalim association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the planning and development of services for children and youth at risk and their families.
“We were a group of 12 women from different denominations, and every week one of us would present her kitchen and cook food she learned from her grandmother and mother. I, for example, brought the mujaddara (lentils and rice) my mother taught me to make,” says Mazalit Kleinerman, a mother of three.
“During the first meeting, the group cooked a root vegetable stew, and each of the women connected to her roots. Later, the women came in for a personal conversation and opened up to each other,” says Efrat Zohar-Levkovitz, a chef and the workshop’s instructor.
Several months later, Ashalim decided to put together a booklet containing the recipes written by the group of women from Nazareth Illit.
“It was very important for us to upgrade the recipes from the health aspect, so we added the nutritive values. The booklet was translated into English, and we reached the ‘Let’s Move!’ program of Michelle Obama, who expressed an interest in our program,” says Anat Penso, head of the interdisciplinary unit at Ashalim.