- Written by Buzzy Gordon
Mateh Yehudah Wine Festival Celebrates the Judean Terroir
Mateh Yehudah, a region extending from the hills just west of Jerusalem to the valleys southwest of Beit Shemesh, will be hosting a wine festival extending over the three weekends between October 27 and November 12, 2016. The festival, which boasts the participation of 35 wineries, is one of Israel’s most prestigious annual wine festivals, now marking its 18th consecutive year.
The wineries involved in the festival range from some of Israel’s largest, producing more than 100,000 bottles a year, to some of the country’s newest boutique wineries. Many are known for their award-winning wines, encompassing both kosher and non-kosher labels, as well as white, red and rosé wines.
The festival will kick off with an evening of tasting to be held on 27.10.16 at the Yad Shmona Country Hotel in Kibbutz Yad Shmona. A number of the wines to be served during the event and the festival are being introduced to the public for the first time.
A noteworthy innovation of the festival this year is an initiative being sponsored by festival organizers together with local hotels and B&Bs: free transportation to and from tasting events and participating lodgings, so that visitors may imbibe wine without needing to drive afterwards. Designated drivers also enjoy special discounts.
The region, which is rich in Biblical history, is home to numerous fine restaurants, as well as artists’ studios. Another popular culinary aspect of the festival is home-cooked ethnic meals served in hosts’ houses.
For more information, visit the Hebrew website www.tour-yehuda.org.il.
Photo Inval Ros / Haim Ros
- Written by Buzzy Gordon
Peruvian Cuisine Showcased at the Sheraton Tel Aviv
The Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel, in collaboration with the Embassy of Peru in Israel, is hosting a celebration of Peruvian cuisine from now through August 24. The culinary festival was launched at an inaugural dinner on August 15, in the presence of Peru’s ambassador to Israel, H.E. Gustavo Otero. The dinner, held at the Sheraton Tel Aviv’s signature restaurant, the Olive Leaf, was prepared by visiting Peruvian Chefs Pietro Luis Ricse Campos and Hans Balvin Sierra of the Sheraton Lima Hotel.
At a cocktail reception prior to the dinner, Ambassador Otero welcomed distinguished guests, which included Brazilian Ambassador Henrique Da Silveira, Uruguayan Ambassador Nestor Rosa Navarro and Paraguayan Ambassador Max Haber; Mr. Modi Ephraim, head of the Latin American desk at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and leaders of the business community, including food importers. Also in attendance were members of the Peruvian community residing in Israel.
In his remarks, Ambassador Otero thanked the Sheraton for its initiative in organizing the festival and expressed his gratification that it is kosher. Noting that Peruvian cuisine is gaining in popularity worldwide, with Peruvian restaurants opening worldwide, he expressed the hope that some entrepreneur would open one in Israel as well.
For the festival, the guest chefs have created authentic Peruvian dishes using local produce and ingredients, as well as imported herbs and spices. Featured dishes include fresh fish ceviche, anticucho, and quinoa prepared in a variety of ways. When the chefs were introduced following the opening dinner, they were greeted with a standing ovation.
The Peruvian menus are being served weekdays at the Olive Leaf restaurant from 12.30–15.00 p.m. and from 19.00–22.30 p.m.
Reservations may be made by calling (03) 521-9300.
The adjacent Olive Leaf Terrace bar overlooking the Mediterranean is open Sunday –Thursday, 17.00–22.30.
Photos Silvia G Golan
- Written by Buzzy Gordon
Pastel: The Art of Dining
The arts complex that houses Israel’s Opera House, the Cameri Theater and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is also home to Pastel, winner of Idea Tops’ 2014 International Space Design Award for the best designed restaurant in the world.
Fortunately, the stunning restaurant can rely not only on its impressive décor but also on the artistic creativity of Chef Hillel Tavakuli to attract customers.
It is not just the kitchen that brims with talent. Pastel recently recruited mixologist Shir Dagan from Aria to revamp its cocktail menu. It is with good reason that the full name of the restaurant is Pastel Brasserie and Bar.
The tempting selection of specialty cocktails features the eponymous Pastel Muse, which combines gin with vermouth, lime juice, tonic water and berries, resulting in a slightly astringent drink that is bracing and refreshing. The intriguing Guatemala Sour, meanwhile, blends quality rum with classic sour mix and orange, for a complex citrusy cocktail that is both sweet and tangy.
Another drink with a Latin American pedigree is the Mexicana -- tequila, lime, passion fruit syrup, chili -- an explosion of sweet, sour and spicy in a martini glass. For those who want the experience without the alcohol, Dagan whips up a mean “mocktail” -- berries, pineapple, passion fruit, cucumber and mint -- that is a terrific thirst quencher for Tel Aviv’s hot summer.
A meal at Pastel starts with a basket of fresh, whole grain breads, studded with olives or nuts, accompanied by a tomato salsa in olive oil. The salsa is so tasty you have to be careful not to fill up prematurely.
Our first appetizer was the beetroot gazpacho with smoked labaneh, blue cheese, caramelized hazelnuts and melon balls. Poured tableside by the waitress from a dainty pitcher, this variation on the famous cold soup was a symphony of flavors.
A popular appetizer at Pastel is the chicken liver pâté -- a generous, decadently rich slab of the delicacy atop a toasted brioche. The pâté itself was paired with an intriguing pear chutney, which nicely cut the extreme richness of the star of this dish.
Another of Patel’s classic appetizers is the tuna sashimi: slices of the glistening, burgundy-hued fish were draped over pieces of green apple and cucumber (or avocado, when in season), atop a curry vinaigrette. The astoundingly fresh fish melts in the mouth, and the interplay of flavors and textures -- helped along with garnishes of coriander and chili, and the crunch of scattered chopped nuts -- is extraordinary.
When the time came for main courses, we discovered that Pastel’s special pasta, formerly kept in reserve for vegetarians, had been deservedly promoted to the printed menu. The mafaldine in cream of pea sauce with broccoli and feta cheese rivals the best pasta course any dedicated Italian restaurant could offer. The wavy ribbon pasta itself is distinctive enough, but the combination of the sauce with the al dente cruciferous vegetable, the salty cheese, toasted pine nuts and gremolata (a pesto-like condiment of lemon zest, garlic and parsley) truly made the dish unforgettable. (It is available also as a vegan option: the kitchen would use olive oil instead of butter and substitute for the cheese.)
While Pastel has expanded its vegetarian options, carnivores need not worry: the grilled beef fillet in cream and brandy sauce on a bed of spinach will more than satisfy any steak aficionado. The tender, flavorful fillet is accompanied by superb mashed potatoes, as well as a tower constructed of a bone filled with succulent marrow and crowned with portobello mushrooms.
Fish and seafood are more than adequately represented as well. The seafood gnocchi pairs soft pillows of the potato pasta with shrimp, calamari and mussels swimming in a delicious sauce redolent with garlic.
Finally, the dessert menu is constantly being tweaked, but Pastel’s signature dessert bears the evocative name “floating islands”, whose exotic components include strawberry sorbet, amarena cherries, caramelized pistachio, soft meringue, kadaif and rose malabi. Once again, there is tableside decanting, this time of the malabi, to create an “island” of multi-layered confection. The kadaif, uniquely shaped in a hoop completes the tableau of a dessert that looks almost too pretty to eat.
Chocolate lovers will be delighted with the Ferrero Rocher -- a large candy shell studded with hazelnuts praliné encasing layers of dark chocolate and milk chocolate mousse, with additional hazelnut granite for extra crunch.
Shaul Hamelekh Blvd. 27, Tel Aviv
Tel. (03) 644-7441
Photos Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Silvia G Golan
The future is good looking
Yarin Shahaf, school principal for makeup, styling and hair academy is already prepared for in 2017-18 and produced a rich catalog specifying future beauty trends
About 60 journalists and opinion leaders in the fields of fashion and beauty have gathered recently at Yarin Shahaf Academy in Tel Aviv. The reason: Every year, Shahaf releases a prestigious magazine in which he reveals his vision of makeup and fashion for years to come.
Born with a makeup powder by hand
Shahaf (54) continues to maintain a youthful appearance. This week, it indicates 30 years of teaching makeup. He has fostered generations of makeup artists, stylists and hairdressers.
The graduates of his academy are 78 percent in the local beauty industry.
The academy has recently moved to a spacious building, which spans up to four floors, including a gallery Of contemporary art for the benefit of young artists.
Trends & Colors
The three main beauty trends are black & white films at the early days of cinema, the State of Peru, and the ocean waves, as follows. The dominant colors would be black, gray, purple, and orange.
Inspired by the black and white films at the early days of cinema
Inspired by the State of Peru
Yarin Shahaf Makeup Studio
Facebook Yarin Shahaf ירין שחף
Instagram Yarin Shahaf Makeup Studio
Yarin Shahaf website:http://yarin-shahaf.co.il/
Photography: Hila Elkayam
- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
Once again, for the 22nd successive year, the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) will take place at the Convention Center of the Tel Aviv fairgrounds 9-10 February 2016
The successful ITN – ORTRA team is organizing the event again. Israel Travel News (ITN – publishers of tourism magazines, websites and newsletters) and ORTRA (Israel's premier conference organizers) make sure that the fair, which has grown in leaps and bounds from year to year, will be a grand success.
The Israeli public is hungry for travel news on new destinations and also on the old favorites. IMTM is the perfect solution. As always there will be an interesting range of special presentations, screenings, lectures and discussions, some by invitation only, but most open to the general public. This year two interesting presentations will focus on medical tourism, incoming and outgoing. This hot topic is being given center stage at IMTM for the first time. There are multiple aspects and the discussions promise to be absorbing.
One of the desirable "by invitation only" events is the lavish pre-opening breakfast on the first day, exclusively for ambassadors serving in Israel. All ambassadors have already received an invitation. Ambassadors who have not yet responded (“RSVP”) are reminded to do so as soon as possible.
Once again, a series of start-ups under the title of "Digital Travel Dome" (designated separately in the catalog, distributed free) display the ingenuity of Israel, the “start-up nation”, in the field of digital apps that make information easy to find on your smartphone. If for no other reason (and there are plenty of other reasons), make sure to get your catalog when you visit the fair.
No need to say that Israel is going through trying times, so the promised success and numerous exhibitors is a real indication of the attraction that IMTM has for travel-industry professionals worldwide. Cross-border travel is the hallmark of peaceful coexistence. Can tourism will be the flashpoint of peace in the Middle East? Perhaps for world peace as well? Time will tell.
Silvia Golan, the Executive Director of www.diplomacy.co.il , and yours truly, will be at IMTM 2016. We hope to see you there.
The Tel Aviv Convention Center, commonly known as Ganey Hataarukha, is located on Rokach Boulevard in northern Tel Aviv, Israel, adjacent to the Tel Aviv University Railway Station.
Address: Rokach Blvd 101, Tel Aviv-Yafo