The Seven Species
The Seven Species – seven types of fruit and grains mentioned in the Bible as being found in the Land of Israel. Deuteronomy 8:7 For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of brooks, springs, and fountains flowing forth in valleys and hills. 8:8 A land of wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates, of olive trees and honey. 8:9 A land where you may eat food in plenty and find no lack of anything…”
Each of the Seven Species has been used in Israel as a food source and for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The Seven Species symbolize the close relationship between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.
On Tu B'Shvat, the Jewish New Year for trees, it has become customary to eat and bless the Seven Species.
The Seven Species are used in several of the local dishes you will get to taste during the course of your culinary tour, or better still, get to make yourself, during the course of your cooking vacation in Israel.
Wheat has been used to make bread since time immemorial. In the Jewish tradition, before eating bread a special blessing is recited: “Blessed is He who brings forth bread from the earth”. This is one of the most frequently used blessings.
CookinIsrael culinary tour will take you to small local bakeries; to see how wheat flour transforms into a culinary delight. Dipped into pungent olive oil with a few olives on the side, it becomes a sensory experience.
The wild Tavor strain of barley is believed to have been the first cultivated barley known to mankind. It is the first of the winter grains to ripen and contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Micah 4:4 “Each man shall be seated beneath his own vine and his own fig tree…”
The grape has always played an important part in Jewish tradition. “Blessed be the fruit of the vine” is a frequently recited blessing. Wine has always been used in religious rituals, but today it is imbibed as an accompaniment to good food, and as a way of entertaining.
A large variety of grapes are grown in Israel, and several local wineries have won international acclaim for their wines. Your culinary tour will take you to vineyards where you will get to sample exceptional wines and you will visit boutique wineries throughout the country.
Dried figs provided an important source of nutrition in ancient times. Numbers 13:21 mentions the scouts who were sent to explore the Land: “and they brought of the pomegranates and of the figs...” with them on their return.
The pomegranate is a very symbolic fruit and is purported to have 613 seeds which correspond to the 613 positive commandments mentioned in the Torah. The seeds, which have outstanding nutritional and medicinal qualities, can be eaten or squeezed into juice. Today it is also used to make wine. Your culinary tour will also take you to a winery making wine and sparkling wine from pomegranates – a truly unique experience.
Apart from being a food staple, olives also provided oil for lamps. The festival of Channuka (Festival of Lights) owes its existence to a single jar of oil!
Participate in an olive oil tasting, and learn which varieties and blends are best suited to specific dishes.
Dates and date honey (silan) provide a natural form of sweetness. Date honey is made from pressed dates. Tradition holds that this is what the Bible was referring to when describing Israel as "A land of milk and honey."
Discover small local bakeries to see how wheat flour transforms into a culinary delight. Dipped into pungent olive oil, it becomes a truly sensory experience. Visit vineyards to sample exceptional wines, explore picturesque olive presses in the hills, fragrant orchards, authentic village bakeries and large fresh produce markets. Discover for yourself the delicious flavours of the Seven Species.