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March 28, 2010March 28, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

As is customary throughout the world, feasting is as much a part of Easter as the services and ceremonies. It is no different in Jerusalem where dining out or having a big family meal at home will be on the menu for local and foreign Christians alike.

After Palm Sunday, bakeries in the Christian Quarter will become abundant with Easter treats, however, anything baked or eaten up until Easter adheres to the Lenten fast. Lenten fasting is taken very seriously in this part of the world: The baked products are exclusive of animal products so no eggs are used. Also, Christians don’t eat meat.

easter, jerusalem, christian, cookiesEaster treats made prior to the feast are made without eggs. Some of the popular ones are flat-pressed cookies made with sesame seeds and honey. Others include dates or walnuts, popular fillings for holiday cookies.   

Shawar’s Bakery, a Christian-owned bakery on 54 Christian Quarter Road, is one of the few places where you can purchase these festive holiday treats. In time for Easter, Shawar’s and others will sell the traditional sweet bread laced with painted Easter eggs.

Since meat is also fasted during Lent, Easter dinner includes a traditional lamb dinner to break the fast. While many area restaurants will be open on Easter Sunday, one in particular is hosting a special dinner.

Shababeek has a prix-fixe Easter menu on Sunday, April 4 from noon to 3 p.m. The menu includes Arabic salads and appetizers, a choice of stuffed lamb necks, stuffed French chicken, grilled denis and knafeh, a sweet cheese dessert. Plus coffee, special Easter cookies and eggs. The price is 120 shekels for adults and 90 shekels for children under 12.

Shababeek is located in Sheikh Jarrah on 7 Shimon Ha Sidik. For reservations, call 02.532.2626.


February 16, 2009February 16, 2009  0 comments  Wine

 

...and wine to gladden the Israeli economy

 

In its short history, the relatively young Jewish state has shot from obscurity to a recognizable force in the wine industry, a business which has also become a trendy hobby for many Israelis who make a couple hundred bottles a year in their own backyard.

 

Israel, the Promised Land, has been known for its abundant grapes since the spies scoped out the land for Moses. But it has taken modern-day Israelis a long time to catch on. In 1996, wine consumption in Israel was a mere 3.5 liters a person, but by 2004 the number doubled to 7 liters a person. That is still relatively low compared to a 60-liter plus consumption per person in France and similar amounts in Italy and Spain and 11 liters a person in the United States.

 

The local market is worth $175 million, according to Israel's Tourism Ministry. A handful of large Israeli wineries account for about 80 percent of the wine exported, most which are kosher. In 2005, wineries exported $13.8 million primarily to the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada. Israel has five major, 12 medium-sized, and a host of small wineries.

 

Daniel Rogov, Israel's premiere wine critic, describes a boom in recent years in boutique wineries, ‘garagistes' (those who make wine in their own home, or garage), micro-wineries and ‘artisanal producers' producing from under 1,000 to up to 100,000 bottles and says they produce a range of wines from ‘barely drinkable' to ‘fine.'

 

The resurrection of the Israeli wine industry, which took a long hiatus in the land during centuries of Moslem rule, Baron Edmond de Rothschild and Sir Moses Montefiore in the 1880s, the roots of the oldest winery in Israel, Carmel. The industry was established at first solely to produce kosher wine.

 

Now Israeli wines are finally receiving accolades abroad. Kim Marcus, managing editor of Wine Spectator magazine visited Israeli wineries a decade ago and panned the quantity and quality of of the "emerging wine scene." After a follow-up visit to the Holy Land this year he wrote a much different story.

 

"I came away impressed by the leaps in quality, especially of the red wines, and by the dedication of the vintners," Kim Marcus writes in the magazine's June 10 issue.

 

Signs that the industry is taking off in Israel is evidenced by the growing number of backyard wineries and the popularity of homemade wine, representing the pioneer spirit that has always characterized the Jewish state. Amateur hobbyists are sprouting up around Israel while some are burgeoning into small businesses.

 

Zeev Dunie, owner of the non-kosher Sea Horse Winery in Moshav Bar Giora just outside Jerusalem, explains his start when he "got the bug," gave up his film career and started making wines from grapes he likes--zinfandel and syrah--two rare vintages in Israel.

 

"I don't have investors, I don't com from a rich family," but the pull to make wine was irresistible, he explained. "I was inspired by the rare optimism (at the time) of (US President) Bill Clinton, (Israeli Prime Minister Ehud) Barak and (Palestinian leader Yassir) Arafat. I took a mortgage and bought this property."

 

Dunie is now producing up to 18,000 bottles a year and exports much of his stock.

 

 

 


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