Friday, December 14, 2012

Jerusalem Culinary Tour #1

I love to travel. 
I love to eat. 
I love to eat and travel at the same time. 

Before any trip, within the country or abroad, the main focus of my research is always food; foods the country or place is famous for, recommended restaurants, food shops to explore, etc. For me, it's not museums or monuments- it's walking endlessly through the local streets and finding culinary treasures.

I stumbled across an opportunity to sign up for a series of three culinary tours in Jerusalem. How perfect! Of course I immediately sent in my registration and began counting the days until the first tour.
Last Friday Last month was the first tour, scheduled for the Old City. Since the situation here was not ideal for walking through the Old City, they decided to switch the last tour with the first, so we were off to the "shtetel", Yiddish for town, Mea Sha'arim, the ultra-religious section of Jerusalem. Since appropriate dress is the rule for this area, I found myself going through my closet , trying to find something long enough to cover my knees (no pants) and long sleeved shirts. After tearing my entire wardrobe apart and coming across nothing suitable for the occasion, I dragged myself to the mall , going from store to store, trying on dress and skirt, after dress and skirt. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I LOVE trying on clothes..........long story short- found nothing. Came home to reassess the situation and decided on tights, a long tunic, high boots and just for safety sake, took along a very large scarf that I could wrap around me as a skirt if necessary ( which it was!) Too bad I didn't take a picture of myself- quite a sight.

As luck would have it, the day was cold, very rainy and not the best for a walking tour- but those are the kinds of days I love!
The streets were bustling and busy with people buying and preparing for Shabbat.
It's really a different world in Mea Sha'arim and although I don't necessarily agree with the ideology or way of life, I try to respect and appreciate the customs and beliefs of others.
A few of the places we visited.......

Avihail Bakery- making rugelach

a men's hat store- all shapes and sizes for all the different streams of the Haredim(ultra-religious)



Brooklyn Bakery- black and white cookies ( or as I call them where I come from- half-moons)

black and white cake- I HAVE to make this one on my own!!
Hadar Geula- buying homemade food for Shabbat

               pasted wall notices- a means of communicating ideas and announcements in Mea Sha'arim-
 this one is urging the ultra-religious to refrain from use of smartphones

This was just a sampling of the stores and food places  on the tour. At times it was raining so hard, I couldn't even take out my camera. I came home with a belly full of traditional Jewish foods, an amazing learning experience and a taste for more. I'll be back here for sure on  my own to spend more time wandering through the streets and shops of this very unique neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Now, I'm looking forward to the next tour at the end of this month. On our way to Shuk Mahane Yehuda
 ( marketplace), what many consider the best shuk in the country. See you there!


  1. Did you ever end up making the black and white cookie cake? I am in America and have been dreaming of that exact cake from Brooklyn Bake Shop for years. Would love a recipe...

    1. I haven't gotten around to making it yet but this is a recipe I found and waiting to try!


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