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Wining and Dining in Israel

Some 200 wineries exist in Israel.

The Bible mentions wine 212 times so it should come as no surprise that Israel would be a place with wineries in abundance. In fact wines were being produced in the Land of Israel some 2000 years before the vine ever arrived in France and Italy. Yet in 1948 there were only 19 wineries in Israel – all making sweet sacramental red wine, which has, of course, been subjected to countless jokes by wine connoisseurs over the ages. Israel has come a long way since then. Today, the quality and variety of Israel’s grapes are significant, the wines are dry and blended, and the vintners are starting to achieve international recognition. One of the most influential wine critics in the world, Robert Parker, has praised dozens of Israeli wines and quite a number of them have scored 90 points (out of a maximum 100) in his rating system.

shakshuka

Shakshuka is a North-African delicacy loved by Israelis

Israel produces over 33 million bottles of wine per year, and although that output is primarily the work of a few industrial-size wineries, there are over 200 wineries now operating in Israel. From the mountains to the coast and even in the desert, virtually all Israeli communities from large to small host a winery. Doing a tour of Israel’s “wine route” is a great way to see a different – and delicious – side of Israel.

In addition to wine, as you drive around Israel you are never far from a spice farm, boutique chocolate maker, dairy or other local farmer selling goat cheese, figs, dates, pomegranates and apples, olives (and olive oil), honey, date honey and any of the other excellent agricultural products the Land of Israel has to offer. There are also numerous excellent hummous eateries – and each Israeli has his favorite spots.

Israel also has a number of excellent restaurants, kosher and non-kosher. The best part about Israel’s food scene is that as Jews returned to Israel from all over the world, they brought their best culinary traditions with them. In addition, Israel’s minorities all have their own strong culinary traditions. As such there are ethnic restaurants highlighting the outstanding cuisines of such places as Morocco, Yemen, Ethiopia and India. Tours can also include festive traditional meals with the Arab, Bedouin, Circassian and Druze peoples. There are even restaurants which focus just on foods from the times of the Bible, providing a unique and delicious historical adventure.

Partake in a chocolate-making seminar at a boutique chocolate factory.

Israel also boasts several excellent fish restaurants with salt-water fish from the Mediterranean and Red Seas or fresh-water fish from Lake Kinneret, as well as numerous grilled meat restaurants – a favorite excursion for the average Israeli. No matter where your interests lie, Israel is a great place for a dining extravaganza. More information about the food of Israel.

As always, with any of the tours, you can mix and match things that interest you from any of the sites and ideas listed above along with any of the other tours listed on the rest of the website. Of course, I will always be there to help you put it all together, whatever you desire, into one incredible – and unforgettable – journey.

Here is an example of a one-day wining and dining tour I have led.

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