They say variety is the spice of life; and Israel is certainly not lacking in variety (or spice, incidentally.) Although the country’s culinary scene may be relatively young, it has not taken long to make a name for itself.
Israeli wine is burgeoning, creating a new and modern approach that borrows wisdom from the past. Similarly, as people from all over the world have brought their culinary traditions to Israel, the result is a gastronomic scene that draws inspiration from Jewish, North African, Middle Eastern and European cultures.
Ancient History, Modern Approaches
Although Israel’s wine industry is relatively young, the general Middle East region has a long association with its production. It may surprise some to know that the Middle East began producing wine thousands of years ago, making it one of the first places on the world. This is in no small part thanks to the region’s climate, which is ideal for fostering a variety of excellent grapes.
In Israel specifically, the wine industry began in earnest around the 1970s. This means that most producers in Israel are young and adaptable, willing to try new approaches and step outside the box in the pursuit of excellent wine.
As a result, Israel’s wine industry has grown to over 300 excellent producers. They make the most of the fabulous climate and terroir to produce an impressive range of both red and white wine. In addition to common grapes like Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, Israel also produces unique varieties such as Marselan, as well as indigenous grapes Marawi and Bituni.
So, whether you’re looking to enjoy a classic with a modern twist, or dive in to sample something you’re unlikely to have tried, you’ll be well taken care of in Israel.
Cuisine Is a Blend of Old and New
Like Israel’s wine industry, the nation’s food also borrows age-old traditions and weaves them with new approaches. It’s no wonder that it is often described as a ‘melting pot’ – and oh boy, is it a delicious melting pot!
As people from all over the world moved to Israel and brought with them the foods of their homelands, there is a wide variety in cuisines – while a distinct Israeli cuisine has also begun to emerge. Overall, the gastronomy of Israel is influenced by Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Europe – especially the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe.
As you’d expect, that creates an amazing and delicious variety. Mezze platters containing mouthwatering dips and finger foods are often shared amongst friends (trying hummus is a non-negotiable), while heartier meals like Shawarma and Shakshuka (best enjoyed at breakfast) are also delights.
In addition to sampling the unique and native dishes, don’t forget to give the spice blends a try, as options like za’atar as sure to serve as tasty reminders of your time in beautiful Israel.