If you’re looking for a unique, off-the-beaten path foodie experience, look no further than one of Israel’s quirky goat farms.
Visit any one of these goat farms for a meal featuring artisanal cheeses and fresh, local ingredients. If you play your cards right, you might even be able to pet one of the resident goats.
In 1974, a man named Shai Seltzer started raising goats in the hills outside Jerusalem. Forty years later, Seltzer has won global acclaim as a cheese maker and teacher.
His cheeses are matured in a natural limestone cave, where they’re coated with grape leaves, coal powder or wine barrel residue. Try them in the farm’s dairy, which is open on weekends.
Har Eitan Farm, Judea Mountains 054-4403762
Anat and Daniel Kornmehl specialize in creating cheeses that are local interpretations of classic French varieties.
Their antibiotic and hormone-free goats are milked twice a day, and roam the same hills that their ancient counterparts did: remnants of a farm from the Middle Bronze period (3000-4000 BCE) are just across the way.
You’ll want to try the baked ‘Hagar in the Oven’ and the ‘Edna Sticks,’ dough-wrapped cheese served with a sweet wine apple sauce. Vegan? Kornmehl’s tomato salad alone is worth the trip. The sweet, just-picked cherry tomato is drizzled with local tehina, garlic and lemon juice. Trust us--you’ll be trying to recreate this deceptively simple salad at home.
Kornmehl Farm, Rte. 40, 08-6555140
Goats with the Wind
High in the hills of the lower Galilee, this organic goat farm may make you seriously question your life choices. (“I’m going to quit my job, move to Israel and become a goat farmer.”)
It’s not just the delicious cheese and homemade wine. There’s something deeply peaceful, even magical, about this place.
Maybe it’s the lavender-scented fresh air. Or the outdoor seating areas, where you’ll lounge on floor cushions and eat off carved wooden plates. Choose from a beautiful array of cheese served with refreshing salads and freshly baked bread. (We actually debated sharing this one because a part of us wants to keep it to ourselves...it’s that special.)
Goats with the Wind, Yodfat, 050-532-7387
At Ein Camonim in the Upper Galilee, goats and peacocks stroll past diners feasting on goat cheese and salads. The award-winning goat farm has been around since 1979, and produces its own olive oil using 250-year-old millstones. The farm’s restaurant, set in a rustic garden, is all-you-can-eat. Try the classic cheese plate, which comes with fresh bread, dill butter and fig jam. If you have room for dessert, go for the coconut sorbet, washed down with a cup of fresh mint tea.
Ein Camonim, Acre-Safed Highway 85, between Hanania Intersection and Nahal Amud 04-6989680