When people talk to me about traveling to Israel, one of their questions nearly always has to do with food. They want to know what it’s like, will they like it, is it different from what they are used to. I happen to think that Israeli food is among the finest on the planet. I didn’t always think this way — in fact, on my first trip to Israel, I was introduced to falafel. I had never eaten a falafel before, so it was very foreign to me and I didn’t much care for it. My favorite name for a falafel on that trip was a “feel-awful”. Of course, we were busy running about the country and sometimes the fastest and easiest fast food around was falafel. So I ate a lot of them, even though I didn’t really care for them.
On my second trip to Israel, as I ate my share of “feel-awfuls” they weren’t quite as awful as I remembered them from the year before. The summer before my third trip to Israel I found myself CRAVING a falafel!! I couldn’t wait to get back to Israel and have a delicious falafel. I was shocked when I found myself very much looking forward to sinking my teeth into that lovely deep-fried ball of ground chick-peas with a spice and taste that can only be found in Israel. To this day I love falafel. I must say though that I never really cared for Tahina, and I still haven’t acquired a taste for it, but I can order a falafel without tahina!! “Bli tahina”.
One food I fell in love with, in Israel was schnitzel. The thinly pounded chicken breast coated in breading and then fried is heavenly. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!! I go back and forth between eating as much schnitzel and falafel as I can whenever I’m in Israel.
Bread is another amazing feature of Israeli cuisine. I LOVE bread!! And the bread in Israel is like none other. Whether it is a soft and fluffy pita bread, or a regular loaf of bread, rolls, or challah, there are no preservatives in it and it tastes so real, so delicious! And because they don’t use preservatives, it is always freshly baked. I think Israeli bread compares with the manna God sent from heaven. When the Bible says that man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word of God, I always think of Israeli bread and I fully understand that scripture, because next to God’s word, you could come very close to living on Israeli bread alone. Especially if you pair it with a good hummus or olive oil… yum yum!
The absolute star of Israeli food, though, is their fruits and vegetables. I grew up on a farm in the south, so we grew all kinds of fresh vegetables and we ate summer and winter from the produce that we grew. However, I have never tasted peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers, grapefruit, pears, grapes and apples like they grow in Israel. I don’t really like bell peppers, but when I am in Israel, I usually make entire meals out of just the pepper strips! They are so delicious!!
The only downside to food in Israel is if you are addicted to American style fast food and can’t live without a cheeseburger or pepperoni on your pizza. Those are hard to find in Israel because of the kosher customs so prevalent in Israel. Jews don’t mix meat and milk so you will have a hard time finding a meal that has meat and cheese together. But when I consider how fresh the food is, I know that the food I eat in Israel is healthy and amazingly delicious. But then come the desserts and I stop thinking healthy, I admit. The ice cream is out of this world. In fact, all of their dairy products, like yoghurt and cottage cheese are simply divine. They also have these wonderful chocolatey bites of deliciousness that melt in your mouth.
Truly the Israeli hotel breakfasts and dinner buffets are legendary for a reason. If you are used to a typical American hotel continental breakfast, Israeli breakfasts put them to shame. There is no comparison. Hopefully, you aren’t hungry while you read about the amazing food that is available to eat in Israel! If you would like to travel to Israel with me, I am leading a group March 15 – 26, 2020. The cost is $2,395 per person. The deadline to register is November 1, and space is limited, so request your brochure today and call me with any questions or to register.
Don’t come to Israel just for the food – the Bible will come alive for you in Israel and I must say that is a far more important reason to come than the food. But I have to admit – food runs a close second!
(photos courtesy of Rhonda Hughes)