COOKING VACATIONS - ONE WEEK PROGRAM
Our program for your unforgettable cooking vacations in Israel
A rich culinary program that covers most parts of Israel guided with a chef
8 days/ 7 nights boutique hotel accommodations, based on double occupancy
6 Lunches & 5 Dinners
5 hands-on cooking classes, followed by a meal based on the foods prepared in class
Local wines will be served with all meals and cooking classes
Deluxe van/mini-coach with driver and air conditioning
Multilingual program director
Welcome dinner at one of Tel Aviv’s most talked-about restaurants
Visits to two produce markets: the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv and Akko’s lively market
Relaxation in Galilee’s embracing silence
Learning about Israeli’s cheese scene
Wine tasting tours in the Galilee and the Judean Hills
Exploring the magic of Jerusalem’s Old City, Me’a Shearim
Discovering some of the best and most intriguing Israeli restaurants
Getting to know Mediterranean traditional baking
Savouring from several traditional Mediterranean cuisines with our exceptional chefs
Small group 4 – 8 participants
Cookinisrael apron and recipe booklet
Immerse yourself in the flavours and aromas of the real Israel, while enjoying five hands-on cooking classes and getting to know this vibrant, fascinating country from the inside out. Throughout the tour, you will be staying in charming boutique hotels that offer excellent service, eating at outstanding restaurants and traveling in a private, air-conditioned minibus.
Itinerary – 8 days, 7 nights
Arrival and Welcome Dinner
- Arrival at the hotel in central Tel Aviv and check in. The hotel (either the Cinema Hotel or the Center Hotel, which both belong to the Atlas chain) is beautifully located in Dizengoff Circle, the heart of Tel Aviv's liveliest shopping and entertainment district and within walking distance of the beach.
- In the evening, our driver will take us to one of the highly rated restaurants in Tel Aviv, which will provides us with a perfect backdrop to get to know each other.
Tel Aviv – Market and Mediterranean Cooking Class
- Breakfast at the hotel. Then it's off to the bustling Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's colorful open-air market bursting with an aromatic abundance of super-fresh, locally grown produce. The heady fragrance of mint, basil and rosemary is punctuated by mounds of mangoes, melons or succulent strawberries, depending on the season. Here we will shop for the ingredients for our first cooking workshop, focusing on healthy, delicious dishes based on the Mediterranean diet.
- Our cooking workshop will take place in a kitchen with one of our chefs. After feasting on the results of our class, we shall return to the hotel.
- In the afternoon and evening, you will be free to savour the flavour of Tel Aviv, the buzzing hub of Israeli business and culture, which is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2009 with a raft of special events. You can spend some time on the beach, have fun at the wide array of tempting shops or explore some of the city's renowned museums and historic sites. Alternatively, you may take a guided walking tour of Tel Aviv's White City, whose 4,000 Bauhaus and International-style buildings earned its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site (additional charge – minimum of 6 in group).
- Dinner on your own (we shall be happy to make recommendations).
- Breakfast at the hotel. Then we board our private minibus for the trip north to the hills of Galilee. Traveling along the shores of the Mediterranean, we reach the seaside city of Akko, whose ancient walls have witnessed the arrival of figures as diverse as Marco Polo (in 1271) and Napoleon Bonaparte (1799).
- After exploring Akko's lively market bursting with exotic spices, spectacular sweets and other culinary treats, we will have lunch at the city's celebrated hummus restaurant. Get ready for the most authentic, delicious hummus experience you've ever had!
- Now we leave the coastal road and travel northwest to Galilee, home of lush landscapes that change with the seasons. The rolling hillsides are studded with centuries-old olive trees and vineyards of more recent vintage, along with fragrant wild herbs and in the spring, blankets of wildflowers.
- Arrival at Amirey Hagalil Spa Hotel in the Upper Galilee. This boutique hotel, situated in the middle of the Galilee natural forest, commands an enchanting panoramic view of the Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee and Mt. Arbel. Relax and enjoy Galilee's embracing silence (you may choose to pamper yourself and pre-book one of the several treatments and massages offered at the charming Spa).
In the evening, we will head towards Kefar Rama where the chef of Azeba Restaurant, Habib Daud, and his wife - an exceptionally interesting couple (Habib learned to cook in his mother's kitchen and used to work as hospital nurse) - will be hosting us in their house for one more culinary class. This unique culinary experience will take you through a hands-on class on the Galilean and the traditional Arab cuisines. You will learn to make such typical dishes as assorted stuffed vegetables, dumplings, etc. All dishes use farm-fresh ingredients only and are based on traditional recipes that have passed down for many generations.
Galilean Cheese and Wine
- Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, we will visit Kadosh dairy, a local boutique dairy, located in Zefat. The Israeli cheese scene has flourished in recent years and includes at present a remarkable range of unique artisanal cheeses, produced by skilled cheesemakers in small boutique dairies around the country. In Kadosh, you will experience an exciting dairy workshop in which you will get to savour the rich variety of Israeli cheeses as well as learn how to prepare artisanal cheese.
From ancient times, the Levant has been famous for the quality and quantity of its wine. After the dairy, we will take you through an intoxicating wine tasting tour of Galilean wineries, including the unique Rimon Winery, located in Moshav Kerem Ben Zimra, which specializes in producing the most extraordinary pomegranate wine.
We will have lunch at a lebanese local restaurant.
- Back to the hotel in the evening. Rest and relax at the hotel's spa. Dinner will be served at the hotel's intimate restaurant.
Spices, Jerusalem, Challa Bread
Get ready for a day full of excitement and adventures as we set out southbound to Jerusalem. The journey will take you into the magical Judean Hills surrounding Jerusalem. On our way we will stop at Beith Lehem in Galilee, herbs and spice farm located in the heart of beautiful Galilee Hills. The farm has over 500 different kinds of spice plants as well as goat cheese, olives, olive oil, coffee and assorted breads. In this colourful farm, you will explore the aromas and flavours of exquisite herbs and spices.
Then you will enjoy one more hands-on cooking class in a local little village. You will learn to prepare in this class such delicacies of the kurdish traditional kitchen sorts of stuffed vegetables and plenty of succulent Mediterranean salads, starters and appetizers, like beetroots with pomegrate, special aubergines, stuffed wine leaves, among many others.
- Following is a visit to one of the highly regarded wineries of the region, wine tasting. You will savour here the great, exquisite wine from the emerging boutique leader in Israel's Judean Hills.
- Arrival in the afternoon at Harmony Hotel Jerusalem located in Nahalat Sheva, one of the first neighbourhoods to be built out of the Old City walls of Jerusalem at the end of the 19th century. Just a few minutes walk from the Old City, this exciting new hotel, combining modern eclectic design with delicate sensitivity to Jerusalem's unique essence, offers 50 guestrooms overlooking the roofs and narrow alleys of what is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
In the evening, we will journey into the past at Mea Shearim and experience a fascinating culinary tour in this Hassidic Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, little more than a century old, but in the dress and customs of its inhabitants is surely an amazing surviving fragment of the world of Eastern European Jewry. “Like a city within a city, Mea Shearim is immersed in Jerusalem”, wrote the Israeli Literature Nobel Prize S.Y. Agnon. We will explore on foot Mea Shearim's tangle of courtyards and alleyways, a world unto itself, get to know the delicatessen with their herrings, pickled vegetables, tasty sweet cheese blintzes, sweet and spicy kugels, and observe the full swing of preparations for the coming Shabbat. On Thursday evening, the challa bakeries are working all night. Challah and feigelach - small sesame rolls - are prepared here by hand with ancestral skill and beauty, and baked in an old stone oven fixed in the wall. When these challahs, whose flavour and sweetness are unparalleled, emerge hot and fresh from the oven, dozens of trays are arranged in tiers. All night long, neighborhood residents stream in to choose a challah for Shabbat. (Visitors to this area are requested to dress modestly.)
Dinner in one of the well known established places of Jerusalem.
- Breakfast served at the hotel. We then head for our last hands-on class.
- Our last cooking class will include an authentic baking class with talented chef Galia a talented professional baker. Galia will show us how to prepare special Challah bread, borekas, traditional danish and cookies.
- After the baking class we will visit Mahne Yehuda market to experience last minute Shabbat preparations.
- Return to the hotel. Pause and feel the serene atmosphere of Jerusalem as Friday ends and Shabbat arrives.
- Dinner will be served at a restaurant near the hotel.
The Old City
- Breakfast is served at the hotel.
- Excursion in Jerusalem. We will go for a walking tour in the Old City that will get you to some major sites and allow you to sample the delicacies of the Arab cuisine. With its 4000 years of history, the Old City is a vast and intricate hodgepodge, and the best way to explore its rich texture is by plunging in and wandering through its hummus parlours, holy sites, ancient bakeries and picturesque market.
- Return to the hotel in the afternoon. Free evening.
- Breakfast and departure. Visitors wishing to stay longer in Israel, please feel free to contact us for further arrangements, suggestions or any other query.