It’s not every day that you get to try out some Isreali food and so I was glad when I got the invite to sample some of the dishes that would be served at the Isreali food festival. It was a great experience with various dishes on offer.
Our MC of the day Noam or the Isreali wine guy as we got to call him gave us the history of some of the food and wine. A lot of people don’t know that Isreal produces good wine. Winemaking has been done from biblical times in the region around what later became Israel.
That’s because, for over 400 years, Israel did not produce wine. Because of Muslim rule, vineyards were replaced by olive trees. Only a small amount of wine was allowed for religious purposes. Because of this, Israel’s commercial wine is fairly young. The wine that was usually associated with Isreali was the overly sweet kosher wine was usually drank during religious ceremonies (and they are many).
In the last 100 years, Isreal has been working on its winemaking (it is still done by religious priests) and they have produced some pretty good wines. Wines in Isreal are usually kosher, meaning that the wine satisfies the requirements of Jewish law. The winemaking process is usually overseen by a Rabbi during the process and the wine is handled by Sabbath Observant Jews.
We got to taste some bitings, dips and Wines. The food was prepared by Michael Jano Lama. Some of the things we got to try out include hummus, pureed chickpeas with sesame paste & lemon juice, baba ghanoush (v), grilled aubergines with sesame paste & lemon juice, baghdunsieh, tahini and parsley dip with garlic and lemon, mutawame and a garlic aioli.
The delicious salads were Tabouleh, cracked wheat tossed in finely chopped parsley, onions & tomatoes served on individual lettuce leaves, Salatat bil Tahnie, sesame seed dip salad with cucumbers and tomato.
The hot dishes included mini shawarma, Wraps of options, chicken and lamb in flatbread with salads and dips, Falafel, Chickpea & parsley fried dumplings wrapped in soft pitta pockets with salads and dips and chargrilled halloumi cheese.
There was also the main course barbeque. There was Shokaf Mashwi, Tender lamb cubes, charcoal grilled shish Kebab, Spiced, charcoal grilled ground meat skewers, Shish Tawouk, and marinated chicken cubes.
We had four courses of biting, each with its own two wines. My favourite wine was the Zinfandel Rose which was fabulous. The meals were fantastic and the pairing with the wine just made it enhance the experience. I loved everything but the marinated chicken cubes made me want to eat more. Chef, I need that recipe, that chicken was yummy.
So I hope that the Isreali food festival is part of your plans for this week. You will definitely have a good time.
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