On a global scale, Israel is earning its status as a culinary destination. A melting pot in its own right, Israel not only produces award-winning wines, but cuisine bursting with ethnic flavors influenced by the different cultures that call Israel home. From dried fruits, cheeses, olives and fresh olive oils, an array of vegetables and spices on display throughout Israel’s street market scene to Tel Aviv’s cafe culture serving pastries and coffee, the culinary scene in Israel is now a sophisticated fusion of emerging trends and culture brought by immigrants from over 90 countries worldwide.
Today, Israeli dishes have matured from the customary bites like falafel, hummus and couscous. Although these traditional favorites are still very popular today, restaurants in Israel’s cosmopolitan cities like Tel Aviv are serving cuisine from chefs that have traveled abroad to the U.S., Europe and Asia, only to return with new culinary skills and tastes from their travels that are now incorporated in their meals.
And it’s only right to accompany a delicious dish with a glass of wine. Israel is currently seeing a worldwide emergence as a competitor of fine wines. Recently, Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded the “New World Winery of the Year” to the Golan Heights Winery in the northern Israeli town of Katzrin, for 2012. The cool climate and rich soil found in Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights make the region ideal for producing award-winning kosher and non-kosher wines. Today, there are more than 200 wineries in Israel, varying in size and producing top-quality red and white vintages as well as sparking wines.
Beer is also popular in Israel. So popular, in fact, that in Tel Aviv beer enthusiasts celebrate the brewing technique at the 3rd annual Israel Beer Festival. The 2-day festival, held in January, showcases imported beer and Israel’s most beloved craft selections in the industry. In fact, travelers will find microbreweries in abundance in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, with some open to the general public for tours and tastings.