Let Me Take You On A [Virtual] Food Tour

By Newly Inducted Israeli Culinary Master (Summer 2015 Intern): Anabelle Kaplan

For more insights from Anabelle, visit: anabellekaplan.wordpress.com

Working at Delicious Israel has been one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. I love all of the aspects of my internship – my boss & coworkers, the projects I am working on, and everything that I am learning – about food, Israel, and myself. But the highlight of my internship has been accompanying my boss on culinary walking tours. Food tours allow me to absorb the most authentic Israeli smells & tastes. They also tell the story of where these foods came from & how they have shaped Israel’s ancient and modern history.

Delicious Israel offers several walking culinary tours throughout Tel Aviv, but my ultimate favorite is Eat Tel Aviv – a 5 hour tour that traces Israel’s history through food. The tour starts in Old Jaffa, a city that’s thousands of years old, and ends in the bustling city of Tel Aviv – a brand new city, at least compared to what lies around it.

The tour allows tourists to find the true Israeli establishments that aren’t necessarily accessible on their own – let’s just say the tour allows people to indulge in Israel’s best kept secrets. In addition, the tour is a history lesson through the lens of food. I’ve learned about how the Jaffa brand drew immigrants to Israel, how the different markets emerged, and why the Israeli breakfast is so indulgent. And perhaps more importantly, I’ve learned the proper way to “wipe” hummus & the most efficient way to maximize the hummus-to-pita ratio.

The Eat Tel Aviv tour highlights tons of Israeli establishments, such as Abu Hassan’s renowned hummus joint & Abu Lafia bakery. It also brings tourists to some newer players in the game – like HaMalabia at Carmel Market, the Beer Bazaar, Lechamim Bakery, and a favorite, Anita’s gelato. These tours are so unbelievable, because I get to witness people discover new foods & make memories with family and friends.

Oh, and there are perks of working for Delicious Israel. How many of you have been forced by your boss to eat gelato, drink beer, and stuff your face with cheese bread?

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the tours is getting to know the vendors. These people are amazing. I interviewed many of them and got to hear their family history and fascinating stories. They all have huge personalities and embody the Tel Avivan energy.

Some of my favorite vendors:

  • Nati, at Meat Market. He brought me into a meat locker and I got to see where the top restaurants in Tel Aviv buy their aged steaks.
  • Benny at Cafe Levinsky 41. Here, Benny brews his own gazoz (homemade “soda”, but not sugary or sweet). He artfully created a personalized soda for me with fresh herbs and homemade fruit syrup.
  • Eitan at Yom Tov Deli. He is a charming man who has been working in the tiny shop for 14 years – his family opened it 46 years ago. After interviewing him, he handed me a bowl of olives, hibiscus flowers, and pickled vegetables to sample.

I’m starting to get to know the vendors – they are extremely passionate about their jobs and are always happy to talk and share pieces of their lives. These are some of the most charming people I have met in Israel.

Below are some pictures I’ve taken on the tours. They don’t do this experience justice…but until you can experience a Delicious Israel tour in person…don’t get too hungry!