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Sunday, DAY 1: Welcome to Israel

Arrive in Tel Aviv by Sunday afternoon and check into the Dan Tel Aviv at 99 HaYarkon.
Join us for our welcome dinner at Salva Vida, the restaurant created by Chef Yuval Fachler, overlooking the Mediterranean.

During dinner, former co-owner and editor-in-chief of the Israeli food magazine Al Hashulchan, author of ‘The Book of New Israeli Cooking’ and ‘Jewish Soul Food’ and an internationally respected expert on both Israeli and Jewish food, Janna Gur, will give us an overview of the Israeli culinary scene today.

Overnight: Dan Hotel Tel Aviv

Monday, DAY 2: to the Galilee

Breakfast at the hotel and check out.

Experience the true Israeli breakfast that everyone talks about. The Dan Tel Aviv has one of the best. It is a buffet breakfast the likes of which is hard to imagine.
Our first stop is Leket, Israel’s largest food recovery program and Israel’s national food bank. They rescue fresh, perishable food which would otherwise go to waste and distribute it to Israel’s needy. We will spend the morning volunteering at their distribution centre in Ra’anana.

On to Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, a major port on Israel’s Mediterranean coast and a good example of coexistence between Arabs and Jews. We will stop for lunch at Rola Levantine Kitchen, one of the best restaurants in Haifa featuring a modern take on local foods.

An afternoon tour of Haifa will include a visit to the beautiful Baha’i Gardens, a tour of the Wadi Nisnas market and an Arak tasting. Arak is a popular liquor in the Middle East and quite possibly the first liquor ever produced.

Check into the Elma Arts Complex in Zichron Yaacov. We will tour the hotel and see the amazing performance theatres and art collection.
Dinner in the private dining room, featuring local specialties.

Overnight: Elma

Tuesday, DAY 3

Breakfast at the hotel.

Start the day with a walk through the small, unique town of Zichron Yaakov, located on Mount Carmel. The main street is lined with cafes and artists’ boutiques. The town became famous when Baron Edmond James de Rothschild visited Israel in the 1880’s and saw that the slopes of Mount Carmel were perfect for growing vines.

Off to the award-winning Sindyanna of Galilee, founded in 1996. Sindyanna is a non-profit organization led by Arab and Jewish women who share a joint vision of peaceful co-existence. They produce fair trade products and sell them internationally with all the profits going to Arab women’s education. Learn about the production of fair trade extra virgin olive oil and participate in a za’atar workshop. Lunch will be prepared and served by the women in the community.

On to a tasting at Tulip Winery and learn why this particular boutique winery is so special. It’s a winery with a heart of gold as well as producing award winning wine.
Time permitting visit Kibbutz Ginosar, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is the home of ‘The Jesus Boat’ discovered in 1986 at the Sea of Galilee and preserved by the Kibbutz and on display there.

Then a visit to Magdala, one of the most significant archaeological finds in the Middle East and hear the story of how it was discovered. The first century synagogue is said to be where Jesus taught.

Dinner at Magdalena, considered one of the finest Arab restaurants in Israel. The chef/owner, Youssef Hana, will share some of his culinary secrets and explain how he started the restaurant.

Overnight: Elma

Wednesday, DAY 4: To Jerusalem

Breakfast at the hotel and check out.

Workshop with Erez Komarovsky, one of Israel’s most revered chefs and the baker that brought artisanal bread to Israel. At his eclectic home in Mattat we will discuss Israeli cuisine, his unique philosophy of good food and have a delicious lunch and cooking class. We won’t want to leave.

Drive to Jerusalem and check into the David Citadel Hotel.
Dinner at Anna Ticho House, one of Jerusalem’s most treasured museums and restaurants. At the museum, experience the atmosphere of old Jerusalem in the historic, former home of Israel’s celebrated painter, Anna Ticho and her husband Dr. Ticho.  The popular restaurant, is so much more than just an excellent restaurant. They employ at risk youth in the kitchen, giving young people the chance to change their lives.  This social agenda enables patrons to have delicious food while supporting this amazing program.

Overnight: David Citadel

Thursday, DAY 5

Breakfast at the hotel.

Start the day with a unique tour of the National Library – did you know I was going to be a librarian when I was sidetracked by a career in food? This special tour was arranged and will be led by Gil Hovav, the beloved culinary journalist and television celebrity. For more about Gil see the Shabbat dinner description Friday, March 1/19.

Lunch with Chef Moshe Basson at his acclaimed restaurant, Eucalyptus, featuring Biblical foods. Chef Basson has won numerous Slow Foods awards for his Biblically inspired cuisine. He is a founding member of Chefs for Peace.
After lunch, we will tour the Old City, walk through the souk, visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall and so much more.

Tour the bustling, world famous Machane Yehuda market and have dinner at Machneyuda (a slang version of the name of the market), the crazy delicious restaurant that changed the Jerusalem dining scene when it opened in 2009. They now own a number of restaurants in Jerusalem and the award-winning restaurants Palomar and Barbary in London England which have taken the staid and reserved city by storm.
Walk off our dinner during a fantastic graffiti tour with a local street artist who takes us through the market stalls of Machane Yehuda to discover the meaning behind the artwork on the closed shutters.

Overnight: David Citadel

Friday, DAY 6: to Tel Aviv

Breakfast at hotel and check out.

Start the day with a lovely walk through the beautiful village of Ein Keren with Atalya Ein Mor and visit her friends preparing for Shabbat. We will sample delicious treats along the way and then enjoy a wonderful lunch prepared by Atalya.

On to Tel Aviv and check into the Dan Hotel. Free time to prepare for Shabbat.
There is no better person to celebrate Shabbat with than Gil Hovav. Gil is Israel’s most beloved storyteller and comes from one of the most respected families in the country. His great-grandfather was Eliezer Ben-Yehuda who revived the Hebrew language. Gil was Israel’s first celebrity chef and has produced some of Israel’s most popular television cooking shows. He is a bestselling author of novels, memoirs and cookbooks and has played a major role in the Israeli food revolution. Gil will share stories of his famous, colourful family and serve us delicious food from seven diaspora kitchens.

This will be a family Shabbat dinner not to be missed.

Overnight: Dan Hotel Tel Aviv

Saturday, DAY 7

Breakfast at the hotel.

It’s Shabbat – take a leisurely walk along the beach-side Promenade and see how Tel Avivians enjoy the day of rest. Watch the dancing and feel the excitement.
Off to Majda, in the Arab village of Ein Rafa for lunch. Chef Michal Baranes and Yakub Barhum opened a Jewish/Muslim restaurant that was made famous by the late Anthony Bourdain and Yotam Ottolenghi. And we will visit the new tahini producer Al-Yasmin nearby.

Back in Tel Aviv we will have a talk by Jacob Ladovsky, a Canadian, who was one of the only non-Israelis in the elite unit of the naval department of the IDF. He will speak of his experiences, about ‘Lone Soldiers’ and what he is doing now that he has finished his army service.

We will bring Shabbat to a close at a private cocktail lesson with co-owner/mixologist Gilad Livnat, of the world-famous Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar at the Imperial Hotel.
On to Jaffa for dinner at Onza, located in the Jaffa Flea Market, where one of Tel Aviv’s most popular chefs, Yossi Shitrit, combines the finest in locally sourced ingredients with Turkish flavours and techniques.

Overnight: Dan Hotel Tel Aviv

Sunday, DAY 8

Breakfast at the hotel.

Meet Bob Goldman for a discussion about Israeli politics. Bob is the former editor of ABC TV news and an extremely well-versed news hound. Have your questions ready – he’s very approachable.
Walk the boardwalk or ride with us to the North Tel Aviv Port for a workshop and lunch with MasterChef winner, Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel. Hear Nof’s incredible story and taste her delicious Arab recipes with a modern twist.

We should not miss the newly renovated complex of Sarona, originally a German Templar Colony founded in 1871. Sirona is the site of the largest indoor culinary market with 91 shops and restaurants.
Later we will have a master class in challah baking with baker Uri Schefft, founder of Lehman Bakery in Tel Aviv and Breads Bakery in New York, and author of “Breaking Breads”. Uri will lead us in a hands-on Challah & Baka workshop and so much more. Uri combines Israeli, Danish and French techniques that make his baking unique and delicious. We will taste his other specialties during a light dinner at the bakery.

No matter how full we are there’s always room for ice cream. Just down the street from Lehamim, there’s Buza ice cream parlor where the Arab and Jewish owners offer unusual and delicious flavours such as pomegranate, fig + arak, pistachio, rose, hummus and more.

Overnight: Dan Hotel Tel Aviv

Monday, DAY 9

Breakfast at the hotel.

We start our last day with a tour of Carmel market (Shuk Ha Carmel), Tel Aviv’s largest and most famous outdoor market. It has become a very cool place to live, hang-out, shop and dine with so many chef restaurants, exciting pop-ups and shops to find hard- to-get ingredients.

Tel Aviv is sometimes called Tel Av-egan because it has the largest vegan population and over 400 vegan restaurants.  Lunch will be at one of the best and most delicious vegan restaurants, Bana, with Inbal Baum, founder of Delicious Israel, the original Israeli food tour company. We will discuss what veganism is all about and why Israel is the world’s capital.

Walk to Independence Hall, a museum dedicated to the birth of the State of Israel. A guide will take us through the events of Friday, May 14, 1948, the day the State of Israel was declared.  Although I have been here many times, each guide tells their own story about why Israel is so important to them and I always find it riveting.

Our last dinner together will be with Chef Sabina Valdman at the Danon Culinary Academy. Sabina is a mentor to many talented Israeli chefs and we will learn some of her amazing recipes you can make at home and wow your family and friends.

Overnight: Dan Hotel Tel Aviv

Tuesday, DAY 10

Breakfast at the hotel at your leisure.

Our tour is over, but our memories will last forever.

  • Hotel Dan Tel Aviv – 1 night Executive Sea View Room
  • Hotel Elma Zichron Yaacov  – 2 nights Deluxe Room Main Building
  • Hotel David Citadel Jerusalem – 2 nights Superior New City Room
  • Hotel Dan Tel Aviv – 4 nights Executive Sea View Room
  • 8 full days of transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle
  • 8 days of sightseeing with an English speaking guide
  • Meals according to the itinerary (all meals)
  • Wine with meals where appropriate
  • Evening transfers to and from restaurants
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • 9 nights hotel accommodation at the above-mentioned hotels based on double occupancy on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Free wifi on the bus and at hotels
  • All tipping is included except housekeeping and anything of a personal nature
  • Airfare to and from Tel Aviv
  • Departure taxes, fuel surcharges and airport improvement fees
  • Insurance – A copy of your valid out-of-country health and travel insurance is mandatory
  • Early check in – late check out at hotels
  • Single supplement quoted separately
  • Tipping for housekeeping at the hotels
  • Expenses and Items of a personal nature (eg room service and valet service)
  • Any other services not mentioned
  • E & O.E.

March 1 to 10, 2020 tour details available shortly.

Ontario Travel Industry Act – TICO # 50012754.