Feast on classic dishes in Israel’s legendary local eateries, from a hearty shakshuka and fresh sabiach to an institution in Jerusalem’s Old Town acclaimed for its silky hummus.. In between snacks, don’t miss any of the sights and sounds of this diverse country. Take a dip in the famously salty Dead Sea, discover the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and explore the Negev Desert.. Pay a visit to Zichron Yaakov and stop in at one of Israel’s finest wineries. Enjoy a wine tasting and perhaps make some purchases to complement a picnic brunch in the nearby Rothschild Gardens.. Learn some age-old kitchen secrets while cooking up a storm with Druze villagers, and discover the country’s ‘Slow Food’ network at an insightful cooking class with Palestinian women.
Not only is Israel and the Palestinian Territories steeped in religious history and longstanding cultures, it has a food and wine scene to rival any other. Embark on an epicurean odyssey, spending nine days exploring the sights and sounds of this country, with a focus on memorable and local culinary experiences. Feast on sabiach in Tel Aviv, savour the many snackable items at Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, sample some of the finest wines in Zichron Yaakov, learn age-old food secrets at a traditional Druze village, and understand what it’s like to live as a Palestinian woman at a local village cooking demonstration. Indulging on daily sights and feasting on the history and culture surrounding you, both your hunger for the best food and your mind for the most authentic experiences will be filled.
Breakfast Included: 8 Lunches Included: 7 Dinner Included: 1
Welcome to Israel and the Palestinian Territories – a region steeped in spirituality, and a rich tapestry of the many cultures, religions and nationalities that call it home, be that Palestinian Muslims and Christians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts or Greek Orthodox monks. Your Real Food Adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. After this briefing, take a short walk to the market area and get to know your fellow travellers over dinner, sampling sabiach – a delicious vegetable and pita dish boasting fresh Mediterranean flavours with Middle Eastern roots.
Pay a brief visit to Jaffa, then continue to Mount Jerazim and meet the local Samaritans - a Jewish minority group living in Nablus - who are the only group to hold Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian passports. After learning about their culture, visit a tahini factory to see how the sesame seeds are crushed and turned into the finished product. You will have the opportunity to purchase goods on site before heading to enjoy a wine tasting at one of Israel's finest wineries. By late afternoon, you’ll have reached Haifa, and if you’re up for it, catch a glimpse of the Bahai Gardens, containing ornate works of landscaped art. Retire to your hotel afterwards for a well-earned rest. Dinner is free this evening and your leader can make the best local restaurant recommendations.
This morning, drive to Akko, visit the Old Town and explore the Templar Tunnels built during the Crusades. Then take a drive up to Golan Heights to visit a Druze village called Buq’ata. Historically, the Druze have been an agricultural people, tending olive groves and fruit orchards, and growing mostly apples and cherries. Many families also grow their own vegetables, bake their own bread and live on a largely vegetarian diet. Here, you will be greeted by a lovely host family, and be invited in for a cooking demonstration, where you’ll share local culinary secrets and a delicious Druze lunch. Afterwards, travel to Nazareth and settle into your hotel for the evening.
After breakfast, visit the Church of the Annunciation and Mary’s Well – two of the most significant sights in Nazareth. Then head to Tiberias for a stroll along the famous Sea of Galilee - Israel's largest freshwater lake. Continue on to Nablus – one of the West Bank's largest cities – most famous for the Arabic sweet knafeh. You'll visit the local chapter of the 'Slow Food' network for a cooking class, focusing on some classics of Palestinian cuisine. Enjoy your creations over lunch and discover what life is like for women in this Palestinian town. After lunch, visit a knafeh maker for insight into local sweet making, and of course to taste! Drive to Jericho for your night's stay. This relaxed West Bank town is considered by some to be the longest inhabited city in the world.
Jerusalem / Dead Sea
This morning, visit Tel Jericho, also known as ancient Jericho, then continue to the Dead Sea – the lowest-altitude place on earth! You will have the chance to experience what it's like to float in the world's saltiest body of water. On the way, make a stop in Bethany, known biblically as the site of the resurrection of Lazarus, to visit a local family for a home-cooked meal. Today you’ll feast on maqluba – an 'upside-down' style dish consisting of chicken and vegetables. Afterwards, drive to Jerusalem via the famous Mount of Olives – an important pilgrimage site and home of the Garden of Gethsemane.
Enjoy a full day tour of Jerusalem, starting with a walking tour of Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross) in the Old City. Stop at one of the city's favourite eateries and watch a master prepare mutabbaq – a stuffed pancake of Yemeni origin. Your leader can assist you to purchase one to try, if you wish. Continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to visit the Golgotha – where Jesus was crucified – and then down to the tomb where he was buried. Walk through the spice market to the Jewish Quarter and witness the pilgrims at the Western Wall. For lunch today, sample the local hummus and falafel at one of the most famous places in the Old City. Afterwards, continue to Nachlaotf or a tour of one of the oldest neighbourhoods in West Jerusalem, finishing at the renowned Machane Yehuda food market. The best way to tackle these wondrous food stalls is with a Machane Yehuda Bites Card – where you’ll be able to sample a broad selection of foods while you wander. Alternatively, this area is ideal to just pull up a chair and grab an early dinner at one of the nearby restaurants, perhaps order shakshuka – a North African dish served in a pan, consisting of eggs poached in a sautéed tomato, chilli and vegetable sauce.
Jerusalem / Negev Desert
After breakfast, head south into the Negev Desert to meet some food producers. Your first stop is a goat cheese farm. Next, be welcomed into the home of a Jewish resident of the Negev. Here we will gain insight into the life and food traditions of an Israeli in the desert. Lunch will be a feast of vegetarian dishes and a sampling of the local goat's cheese. After lunch, drive up to visit the Tomb of David Ben Gurion – the first prime minister of Israel and one of its founders. Before the drive back to Jerusalem, visit an ancient winery that dates back to the Nabatean era. In recent years, an Israeli couple replanted the winery along with other fruit trees, producing an interesting selection of wines and jams that are only sold on that farm. Arrive back in Jerusalem by evening for a well-deserved rest.
Jerusalem / Bethlehem
Take a short drive to World Heritage-listed Battir, where villagers continue to practice ancient agricultural methods. The village is surrounded by an impressive Roman-era system of stone-walled terraces and a unique irrigation system fed by seven springs. Continue on to the holy city of Bethlehem, and along the way, pass through a gap in the controversial separation wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. Take a leader-led walking tour of this acclaimed city, passing Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity. For lunch, enjoy traditional barbecue where you’ll try your hand at mincing your own meat the authentic way – with two huge cleavers! Head back to Jerusalem, where you might like to share one last delicious meal or drink with your newfound friends.
With no activities planned today, you are free to leave at any time. However, that doesn’t mean that your food adventures have to come to an end! If you would like to consider continuing your journey with a culinary escapade through Jordan, search for our trips Jordan Real Food Adventure (EEZF) and Jordan, Israel & the Palestinian Territories Real Food Adventure (EUZJC) on our website.