Spring in the Western Galilee: Landscapes, People and Good Food – Israel

The Western Galilee is one of the most beautiful and diverse regions in the country, with beautiful beaches, streams, mountains, archeological sites and an ancient and charming city. What not everyone knows is that the human landscape in the Western Galilee does not fall short of the natural landscape, and it is the people who make this area so special. Culinary ventures, workshops, galleries, wineries and special tours are an integral part of the experience of hiking in the place, no less than the route in Nahal Kziv or a visit to Rosh Hanikra. Thanks to these, every time you visit the place, you can be exposed to new surprises, in an area that never stops growing. The Western Galilee Time Spring Festival, which takes place at the end of May, is a great opportunity to be exposed to all the richness of the region. Here are some things you can do at the festival, most of which you can enjoy throughout the year:

History, architecture and wine in Acre

Acre is a complex and fascinating city, where the life of sharing knows its ups and downs. Exactly a year ago, it made headlines in unflattering contexts, following the riots that took place in the city, but life is stronger than anything and in the end in Acre they return to a life together. This is a river opportunity to discover this gem that is a paradise for anyone who loves history, architecture, sea and good food.

The tour in Acre should start at the JNF-USA information center run by the Western Galilee Tourism Association, which organizes the festival. The center is housed in a beautiful stone house with vaulted domes housed in the Old City, close to the People’s Market, the Turkish Bazaar and the White Market. The building was set on fire last year but renovated and rebuilt and reopened. Here you can get information on everything that can be done in the Western Galilee, get help building a route and finding B & Bs, restaurants and attractions, watch the changing exhibitions and buy local produce. Alongside all this, the highlight is of course what happens outside the center, between the alleys.

A picturesque alley in Old Acre

Acre, which was known to many conquerors, is a multicultural city in which history is viewed from every corner. The Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Turks and the British – all left their mark on the city, and not just them. Dr. Shelly Ann Peleg, a guide, archaeologist and expert in the preservation of ancient buildings, one guide a month tours of Acre, dedicated each time to a different culture. They are from Genoa; the origin of the Hospitaller Order is in Amalfi; Francis Massisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, came to Acre after adopting a celibate life while the Venetian Marco Polo spent a long time in the city, waiting for permission from the Pope to continue his journey to China. In the picturesque market of Acre and in all the Italian spots, from the Moroccan Polo Alley, through the Franciscan Church to the Genoese Quarter. Part of the fun of the tour is that despite its beauty and tourist potential, Acre is first and foremost a living, authentic and vibrant city inhabited by real people.

Spice stand in the market of Acre  Photo: Simi Schauer

Spice stand in the market of Acre

The tour ends in the wine cellar of the Effendi Hotel, where you can enjoy wine tastings and snacks, and no less important, meet the man behind the hotel, Uri Jeremias, is Uri Buri. Jeremiah is a fascinating and no less important conversationalist, a man of vision. During the riots last year his restaurant was set on fire, shortly after he recovered from a long period of closures. Despite this, Jeremiah is a great believer in living together, and he relates that during Ramadan the representatives of the various religions in the city met several times out of a decision to keep calm and continue living together.

Dr. Shelly Ann Peleg and Uri Jeremias in the wine cellar of the Effendi Hotel

Dr. Shelly Ann Peleg and Uri Jeremias in the wine cellar of the Effendi Hotel

The Effendi Hotel deserves a whole article of its own, and it is very worthwhile for you to soak it up for the night, and not just because you do not want to drive after wine tasting. There are places where images do them injustice and it is one of those places where beauty and aesthetics are evident in every corner of them. The hotel is housed in two magnificent palaces that were used by Ottoman aristocrats in the 19th century. The buildings have undergone a comprehensive renovation and preservation process by expert preservers and artists from Venice, and guests enjoy in the rooms original floors, painted ceilings from standing fruit baths and attention to every little detail. The highlight is on the roof of the hotel, where sunset parties are held, you will see not only the blue sea sailing in front of you, but the entire Galilee, as well as the rooftops of Acre and the minarets of the mosques.

Dr. Shelly Ann Peleg will hold an Italian evening with wine tasting on May 25 from 8:00 PM to 5:00 PM at a cost of NIS 165 per participant. Phone: 072-3971617

The Effendi Hotel
Louis Ninth Street, Acre
Phone: 074-7299799

Nature and good food as a gift

In Matat, which is 840 meters above sea level, you can replace the urban experience with wild nature. When walking in the tangled forest, it is hard to believe that only forty years ago there was a bald rocky mountain here. Carmit Arbel Rombek, a guide who lives in Matat, says that the residents of Matat are responsible for all this beauty, headed by Dina Yogev, who planted and planted and turned this place into a green paradise. Carmit says that the ecological variety in Matat is amazing. In the small community where only about 50 families live, there are over 20 species of figs, strawberries of various species, walnuts, cherries, plums, pomegranates and more, and this variety creates an ecological balance that serves the animals and residents.

Uri Tzur and Carmit Arbel Rombek in the Green Landscapes of Matat  Photo: Anatoly Michaelo

Uri Tzur and Carmit Arbel Rombek in the Green Landscapes of Matat Photo: Anatoly Michaelo

Carmit took us on a pleasant tour of the woods, at the end of which we arrived at the house of Uri Tzur, a young local chef who lived and worked in Tel Aviv, at restaurants such as Pronto, Sheila and Toto. The corona brought him to live in Matat, close to nature, and he has not really missed it since. Today Uri, who is full of positive energies and full of passion for life and cooking, uses the nature around his house in an experimental laboratory. It gathers, ferments, conquers and bakes and creates dishes based on seasonal vegetables and herbs that you will not eat anywhere else. We tasted a few dishes of his delicious hosts, all bursting with creativity, unconventional and most importantly, incredibly delicious.

Uri Tzur is experimenting with his kitchen as a gift

Uri Tzur is experimenting with his kitchen as a gift

Among other things, he makes cold almond soup with artichokes, vine leaves, green almonds, and oil from fig leaves; Bread made from chickpea flour reminiscent in its texture of baked polenta, with fermented tomatoes, roasted zucchini zucchini, a shepherd’s mash cheese and honey from Matat’s apiary; Rye bread with beets, grated blue cheese and fermented walnuts – a classic dish with a twist that makes it especially delicious, and sourdough bread bruschetta with pickled lime avocado, loquat, pickled red palmida and fermented avenue sauce. There is also pasta, in our case it was whole durum wheat pasta with friki, garlic, Jerusalem sage, shepherd’s end goat cheese and bread crumbs crumble on cashew yogurt.

In Uri Tzur's kitchen: hummus flour bread with fermented tomatoes, roasted zucchini zucchini, mascha cheese and honey from Matat's apiary

In Uri Tzur’s kitchen: hummus flour bread with fermented tomatoes, roasted zucchini zucchini, mascha cheese and honey from Matat’s apiary

At the festival, it will be possible to enjoy a tour and a meal – Carmit will take you on a tour as a gift that will end with a seasonal vegetarian tasting meal at Uri’s house. Some? 165 NIS. More details at 072-3971215
In addition, Uri Tzur will hold a spring tasting meal at the Shirat Roim dairy in Kibbutz Lotem, to which selected dairy cheeses and wine from Stern Winery will be paired. Some? 300 NIS. More details at 072-3957566

Touch the field

Another place that will make you feel the connection to the land and nature is to touch the field, Dor Pintel’s farm located in Tefen. Pintel is another of the Corona victims who turned the crisis into an opportunity. Until March 2020 Dor was a guide who guided mostly tourists from abroad. When his last tourists returned home and the sky closed, Dor was busy thinking about what to do now. At the same time, and bringing it home to people who could not go out because of the closures, and so Dor’s business began to take shape. The number of customers grew, the website was set up at record speed, and over time Dor realized that And the delicate ones themselves, so that they can be picked right on the day they reach the consumer home.Thus a generation from guide became a farmer.

As part of the festival, families are invited to Dor’s farm, which today has greenhouses of green leaves such as kale, basil and beet leaves that grow hydroponically, and in the fields where it grows green and pumpkins all by hand. Visitors to the place learn about hydroponic agriculture and traditional agriculture, touch, smell, pick and taste, and there are also Druze pitas in the oven that are eaten with the herbs they collect. The rest of the year the monkey is open to groups by prior arrangement.

When? 27.5, 13: 00-11: 00. Some? NIS 35 for an adult, NIS 45 for a child, including tea and pita in the oven. For more information call: 072-3971619

Dor Pintel in his greenhouses near Tefen.  From a guide to a farmer

Dor Pintel in his greenhouses near Tefen. From a guide to a farmer

Wine and coffee at Stern Winery

The Western Galilee region has a particularly large concentration of wineries, and one of the most famous is Johnny Stern Winery in Kibbutz Tuval. The road to the kibbutz, which overlooks the mountains and the sea, will make you want to move to the area as soon as possible. Johnny’s wine will give you another reason to stay. It was not always like that. Johnny says he started making wine after on the last day in reserve in Hebron he saw that everyone was loading crates of grapes. They told him they were making wine and he decided he wanted one too. Without any knowledge in the field he started making wine at home, as a hobby, and produced about 200 bottles a year. One day, during a course of getting to know the world of wine, he brought his own home wine. He notices that the lecturer opens the bottle, smells the cork and does not taste the wine. When asked why he did not taste the wine, the lecturer replied, “I am too old to drink bad wine.” Johnny was offended. is very. And he decided to open a winery to make great wine and prove to his lecturer that he was wrong. Since then he has specialized in the field, and three years after that event, in a wine competition where one of the judges was the same lecturer, his wine has won a gold medal.

Johnny Stern and Gennady Kozkevich enjoy a good wine at Stern Winery

Johnny Stern and Gennady Kozkevich enjoy a good wine at Stern Winery

Since then Johnny’s wines have won many more medals and awards in local and international competitions, and the winery produces 30,000 bottles a year. Including red and white wines. This is one of 15 wineries in the country that do not add chemicals to the wine, which contributes to the quality of the wine.

The on-site visitor center hosts guided tours that include an explanation of the production process, a barrel room tour and wine tasting, and once in a while Johnny, who previously studied hotel management and cooking at Tadmor, conducts special themed meals around the heavy wooden table he built himself. The festival will feature an Italian evening, which will include a six-course meal accompanied by the winery’s wines. what is on the menu? Focaccia with dips, arancini – fried rice balls stuffed with mushrooms and parmesan on a bed of tomato sauce; Sweet potato ravioli with foie gras in truffle sauce; Black linguini with fish fillet, asparagus, leek and purple onion; Slow-cooked meat ragout with potato and chestnut gnocchi and for dessert – tiramisu.

The surprise of the evening is Gennady Kozkevich, the owner of Isho Cafe, who is hosting a fascinating and delicious coffee lecture just before the tiramisu is served. Gennady is a guide who discovered the world of coffee 17 years ago. For many years it was a hobby, which included research and experimentation with various coffee machines, some of them decades old, that he found on trips in Israel and around the world, and learning and experimenting with home and professional coffee roasting. When the corona arrived and Gennady found himself with a vague employment future and plenty of free time, he decided to turn the hobby into a profession. He trained in professional roasting methods, purchased a large, new roasting machine and opened his roasting house.

Gennady from a coffee man makes a bitch at Stern Winery

Gennady from a coffee man makes a bitch at Stern Winery

Gennady not only makes fine coffee. At his home in Ashhar, in front of a breathtaking view of the Snail Valley, he holds workshops and master classes on coffee that include stories that Gennady is amazing at telling, explanations about the different types of coffee, growing areas and how to make coffee, roasting coffee and of course apricot-based drinks, cold brewed coffee (Cold Brew) And for dessert – apogeto or bichrin – a wonderfully delicious coffee drink with chocolate ganache and whipped cream. In order for the acidic coffee to be well absorbed, the workshops open with a light meal based on dishes that Gennady prepares in his kitchen, such as vine leaf cake or carpaccio.

An Italian meal with wine tasting and a guest lecture by Gennady from a coffee man at Stern Winery
where? Kibbutz Tuval When? 26.5, 23: 00-19: 00, how much? NIS 320, not including service
For more information call: 072-3957695

Coffee workshop in a coffee man
where? When will it be black? 27.5, 15: 00-12: 00, how much? 150 NIS per person including coffee, a glass of wine and the dish served
For more information call: 072-3971661

More at the festival

Western Galilee Time Spring Festival No. 9 will be held on May 28-20, 2022 throughout the Western Galilee and will include over forty events, including trips, culinary events, workshops and cultural, music and art events. Among other things, there will be collecting tours, an encounter with an iron deaf person, a workshop for weaving baskets from recycled paper, chocolate workshops, special chef meals, a tour of the dance village with beer tastings and more. The opening event will take place on Friday, May 20, at Kibbutz Ayalon and will include a farmers market and a Galilean produce fair, with workshops, activities for children and musical performances. The full program can be seen atFestival website

Source: כתבות – מסע אחר by www.masa.co.il.

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