JCC W.O.W. Culinary Tour of Israel : An 8 Day Culinary Tour
Monday October 16 – Tuesday October 24, 2017
Immerse yourself in the flavors and aromas of the real Israel, this vibrant, fascinating country from the inside out, led by Leah Chase, one of the most experienced visitors to the State. 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.
Overnight accommodations for 8 nights and 7 touring days:
- 1 night Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv
- 1 night Efendi Hotel, Acco
- 4 nights Dan Boutique, Jerusalem
- 1 night Desert Iris, Yerucham
- 1 night Dan Panorama, Tel Aviv
Monday, Oct 16 – Day 1 – Arrival and Welcome Dinner
Leah’s local representative will welcome your arrival at the exit of the plane and escort you through the formalities to meet your driver in the Arrivals Hall.
Rest and acclimatize yourself to the time change and the new country. Tel Aviv is Israel’s largest city and business hub. The city is spread over more than 10 miles along the Mediterranean coastline, and is known as the “City That Never Sleeps”. Tel Aviv is notorious for its culture, vibrant nightlife and excellent cuisine, from authentic street food to upscale, gourmet restaurants.
Dinner & Overnight at the hotel in Tel Aviv (D,B)
Gathering after dinner with your excellent tour guide
Tuesday, Oct 17 – Day 2 – The Mediterranean coast and the Western Galilee
After breakfast, check out of your hotel as we drive along the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea, the city that Herod the Great dedicated to Caesar Augustus more than 2,000 years ago.
The Roman historian Flavius Josephus described the harbour as “the King’s triumph over nature”
At the foot of the Carmel Mountain ridge near the coast, the Tishbi Estate is set near the small town of Zichron Yaacov, surrounded by its home vineyards enjoying the cooling breezes of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Tishbi family’s romance with grapes and wine began in 1882 when the present generation’s great-grandparents were commissioned by Baron Edmond de Rothschild to plant the first modern grape vineyards in Israel.
Further along the coastline, we will reach the beautiful harbor city of Haifa – Capital of the north and one of Israel’s main commercial ports.
Drive via Haifa’s Panoramic Road from where we will be able to see the golden dome of the Bahai Shrine that is set amid beautiful gardens, and serves as a significant landmark of the city. On a clear day, you can see everything from the Haifa Bay to as far north as Mount Hermon.
Continue north and visit the ancient city of Akko (Acre), once the Crusader capital of the north and now a city of mixed Arab and Jewish populations. Walk on the city walls to the harbor to visit the huge underground Crusader Halls. Situated above these halls is the notorious prison that was built by the Turks and later used by the British. And meet with Uri, our chef in Akko for a walk in the alleys of the local shuk Dinner will be served at his excellent fish restaurant on the Old Port
Overnight in Akko – Effendi Hotel (B,D)
Wednesday, Oct 18 – Day 3 – Safed, Aromas and Spices, Jerusalem
Now we leave the coastal road and travel northeast to the 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, and blankets of wildflowers.
Arrive in Tsfat/Safed, the mystical City of Kabballah, center of Jewish esoteric knowledge. We will visit the Kadosh dairy, a local boutique dairy.
The Israeli cheese scene has flourished in recent years and includes at present a remarkable range of unique artisan cheeses, produced by skilled cheese makers in small boutique dairies around the country. You will experience an exciting dairy workshop in which you will get to savor the rich variety of Israeli cheeses as well as learn how to prepare handcrafted 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 that specializes in producing the most extraordinary pomegranate wine.
We will now drive south to the charming village of “Bethlehem Ha Galit (Bethlehem in the Galilee) to visit a spice farm located in the heart of the beautiful Galilee Hills.
At this colorful farm, you will explore the aromas and flavors of exquisite herbs and spices.
We will then drive across the Jordan Valley to arrive into Jerusalem in the afternoon. We will stop first on Mount Scopus for the ritual “Sheychiyanu” as we enter the Holy City.
Tonight, a new experience is waiting for you at the Armenian restaurant “Bulghourji” before the Night Spectacular Sound & Light Show – a 45-minute light-and-sound display using the walls beneath the Tower of David as a backdrop. The moving images tell a wordless, pictorial tale of the history of Jerusalem from the time of the Israelite kings down almost to the present day
Overnight in Jerusalem (B,D)
Thursday, Oct 19 – Day 4 – Mea Shearim,
Drive by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament and see the Menorah with the biblical emblems:
“And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (a “yad vashem”)… that shall not be cut off.”
(Isaiah, chapter 56, verse 5)
We will visit Yad Vashem: established in 1953 as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations.
In sharp transition, we then visit the old neighborhoods of Jerusalem: Nahalot and Machane Yehuda, the open market of Jerusalem, one of the most appreciated places in Jerusalem.
We will have a tour conducted by a professional chef and enjoy the in-season market produce that stall vendors have to offer for the day.
First, explore the various stands and taste the produce of the market and create the menu for dinner tonight. Jump between the turmeric flowers and the vanilla sticks and taste oils, cereal mixtures and spices. Experience the flavor of some of
the world’s most famous cheeses from Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and more.
After the tour, we will gather for a unique culinary experience to end with your own cooked dinner on a rooftop in the market
Overnight in Jerusalem (B,D)
Friday, Oct 20 – Day 5 – Jerusalem of Gold
With its 4000 years of history, Jerusalem is a vast and intricate hodgepodge, and the best way to explore its rich texture is by plunging in and wandering through its hummus pubs, holy sites, ancient bakeries and picturesque market.
We will wander into Mea Shearim’s tangle of courtyards and alleyways and get to know the delicatessens with their herrings, pickled vegetables, sweet cheese blintzes and sweet and spicy kugel. (Visitors to this area are requested to dress modestly.)
Then we enter the Old City through the ancient gates. We will learn about the Old City by walking from Jaffa Gate to Dung Gate and continue to explore the reconstructed Jewish Quarter and the Roman Cardo.
Near the Western Wall, we will view the archaeological discoveries excavated in a vast, concealed Tunnel along the Western Wall.
In the Arab souk/market, we can bargain with the local merchants of the Muslim Quarter, and sample the delicacies of the Arab cuisine. Those who feel a little hungry can grab a snack at one of the many “bastot” (market stalls) in the shuk .
Then we return to your hotel to prepare for a traditional Shabbat dinner hosted by a local Jerusalem family.
Overnight in Jerusalem (B,D)
Saturday, Oct 21 – Day 6 – Dead Sea / Masada
Today, we will drive through the wilderness of the Judean Desert to visit the fortress of Masada, the last stronghold of the Jewish rebels against the troops of the Roman Empire.
You will ascend by cable car and tour the mountain fortress built by King Herod, where the Zealots of the first century made their last stand against the Romans. Visit the remains of the walls, palaces, synagogue, water cisterns, mosaic floors, Roman baths and other findings.
We will then arrive at one of the leading hotels on the shore of the Dead Sea to spend the rest of the day for some pampering at the spa of the hotel, “floating” or even “mudding” in the Dead Sea. Lunch is included. Time for FUN..!! We then drive south to meet the “ships of the desert’, camels and their owners, the Bedouins. Enjoy a camel ride and the warm hospitality in an authentic tent made of goat wool.
We will then drive to Yerucham, on the edge of the craters for our next experience: traditional Moroccan cuisine Enjoy a dinner in the home of a local family –, you will spend an unforgettable and very special evening.
Overnight in Yerocham (B,D)
Sunday, Oct 22 – Day 7 – The Ellah Valley and the Negev
The region of the ‘Hills of Judea’, also known by the name Judea, has not only contributed culturally to its surrounding areas but also in terms of agriculture and agronomy, food and wine. The ‘Terra Rossa’ soil of this region is perfect for wine production (similar soil conditions are found in La Mancha, Spain).
Travel from the time of David and Goliath. See the ancient terraces that have been producing wine for thousands of years to the recent achievements in organic farming. We will visit one of these farms where Boaz will take us on a journey through the history, spirituality and nature that formed our culinary experience, followed by an organic lunch.
Arriving back to Tel Aviv in the afternoon, we will go on a 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.
We will drive to Jaffa, one of the oldest cities in the world and an important seaport since antiquity. It was from here that Jonah embarked for Tar Shish and was swallowed by a great whale according to the legend .
Visit the restored Old City including the artists’ colony and the quaint historic harbor. Jaffa has much to offer in the way of art galleries, gift-shops and restaurants found tucked away among the winding, cobblestone streets.
Dinner on own in Tel Aviv
Overnight in Tel Aviv (B)
Monday, Oct 23 – Day 8 – Tel Aviv – Market and the White City
Tour the White City and discover why it was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main places of attraction in Tel Aviv include Herzl Street, the spice market on Levinsky, Shuk Ha Carmel (Carmel Market) – a bustling open air bazaar filled with spicy and mysterious aromas and lots of colorful wares for sale. Nearby is the “Greenwich Village” of Tel Aviv – Shenkin Street and Neve Tzedek.
We’ll begin at the Carmel Market: Tel Aviv’s colorful open-air market bursting with an aromatic abundance of fresh and locally grown produce; mounds of mangoes, melons or succulent strawberries (depending on the season) punctuate the heady fragrance of mint, basil and rosemary.
In the afternoon, we will visit Independence Hall where David Ben Gurion declared the founding of the State of Israel. Stroll the trendy Rothschild Boulevard.
Our farewell dinner tonight is hosted by Layla & Hamoudi in an Ottoman Palace in Jaffa
Overnight in Tel Aviv (B,D)
Tuesday, Oct 24 – Day 09 – Time to say Good Bye
After a morning at leisure to do last minute shopping, we will leave for Ben Gurion International Airport for our outbound flight.
Shalom and lehit’ra’ot,
(Goodbye and see you again)
- Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv
- Efendi Boutique Hotel, Akko
- Dan Boutique Hotel, Jerusalem
- Desert Iris Hotel, Yerucham
The deposit to reserve your spot on our Culinary Tour of Israel is $300.
$2889.00 per person double occupancy
Single supplement $899
- 8 hotel nights, 7 touring days
- All breakfasts, most lunches and 7 outstanding dinners
- Arrival and departure group transfers
- Personal assistance upon arrival and departure
- Transportation by deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
- Entrance fees for all activities listed in the itinerary
- English-speaking, licensed tour guide
- Land costs: $2889.00 per person double occupancy (single sup $899)
Touring includes wineries, cheese factory, spice farm, casual and elegant restaurants, markets/shuks throughout, desert supper under the stars, sightseeing in Caesarea, Haifa, Akko, Tsfat, the Galilee, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Jaffa and the Dead Sea with a ride to the top of Masada. You’ll see the Western Wall and enter the underground Tunnels, float in the Dead Sea, and remember at Yad Vashem.
Meet Charleston’s Partnership2Gether friends in Hadera.
- Air tickets (may be arranged by Chase Travels through Abbott and Hill Travel Leaders)
- Personal expenses and gratuities
- Meals not mentioned on itinerary
- Tips (suggested $6 per day per person for guide, $4 for driver)
- Trip travel insurance and extensions, contact Leah Chase Travels, 843.556.0525
- Extensions in Israel or elsewhere can be arranged by Chase Travels