Press trips always mean a ridiculous amount of food, but this was the first time that food included enough vegetables to satisfy my personal love affair with them! Since the food of a destination is part of the experience, I’m sharing it here before the next post on all the adventures.
Here are a few of the most popular foods we found making an appearance throughout the week (you’ll notice 3 very common ingredients chickpeas, sesame seeds and oil).
Like real true made from scratch good stuff (though Sabra is based there!). Hummus is simply blended chickpeas, sesame seeds and olive oil, but it’s like nut butter…once you taste a little you just want more!
A delicious nut butter made of ground sesame seeds. I’ve often used it as a dressing with steamed veggies and sweet potatoes, but thought I was so original…nope! (so many from this list featured here from Rama’s Kitchen)
Dates are a top export for Israel, so interestingly the best dates are shipped out and the lesser left to eat inside the country! We thought they were amazing, so I need to see out some Israeli dates here.
A flaky dessert made of tahini, egg whites and sugar. Sounds simple enough, but then they add thousands of amazing different flavors. While the ingredients are similar to a number of other foods it has a very distinct taste. Not my favorite dessert, but hey who am I to turn down sugar.
Bread, bread, bread….especially challah!
“At its root, challah is a very straightforward bread to make. The dough is enriched with eggs and oil, while a few tablespoons of sugar add some sweetness. The real magic comes in braiding the loaf. Even a simple three-stranded braid is impressive, though a four- or six-stranded braid (as shown below) will bring the house down. ” The Kitchn
Finely chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, fresh lemon juice, quality olive oil shows up as a staple side dish everywhere. (I was surprised/delighted to even see it along with lots of other veggies at the pre-race pasta dinner!)Vegetables
Beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potatoes made repeat appearances in our meals. In fact, I was thrilled at the volume of veggies everywhere. Lots of greenhouses were spotted throughout the country as we drove to the Dead Sea and most Kibutz or small villages have their own gardens.
Nana (aka Mint Tea)
Actual spearmint leaves steeped in hot water create a drink that is both wonderful for digestion and enjoyable to sip as you simply chat post dinner! Imagine that, taking time to enjoy a meal!
The flavor of this alone is delicious and beautiful, but you can also add a bag of green or black tea. Mostly we opted just to enjoy the flavors alone. This is traditionally a Moroccan tea, which is now a staple in every Israeli restaurant.
Either fish or chickpeas all ground, mixed with spices, bread crumbs and other yummy stuff to form a ball that is then baked or fried….in to complete deliciousness. There you have it, just a few of the beautiful and delicious foods you’ll find traveling throughout Israel.
Usually I come back from press trips with a pound or two to lose from all the desserts and this was no different…but I was also stuffed to the gills with quality whole foods and have never enjoyed dining quite so much!