Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cheese in the Mystical city of Sefat, Israel

                                       An artist studio in the Mystical city of Sefat

Back to writing finally…. The last couple weeks have been a bit hectic as I traveled my way up and down Israel, tasting the many pleasant foods that this country has to offer.

Once in Sfat (Safed) I searched for the famed Sfat cheese store.  This place has been open for around 150 years ( maybe more) and has seen its share of wars.  It has belonged to the same family for 7 generations and I was happy to see it at full capacity and open!!!  It seems that every other time I had been in Sfat the place was either closed or under renovation.  Finally, I made my way inside and was happy to see a table full of wonderful cheeses, home made halva, and fresh local olives.  As I entered the owner cam up from behind me and asked me to sit down at a centrally placed round table, for a cup of complimentary coffee,( a pleasant surprise) I must have been the first of the day or they are just this nice to everyone.  Even the coffee was delicious, perfectly mellow with a very nice hint of Cardamom.   Delicious indeed…..

I ended up going with the goat cheese in wine, which was pleasantly mild with a lingering after taste.

After I had finished enjoying my coffee and purchases, I moved on to take a look at their Sfatit (French cheese) aging room.  These spongy and salty cheeses are made of fresh un-pasteurized cow milk and stay about three months in the cellar.  There was a moldy scent in the room which reminded me of everything great……..

After having some cheese I made my way to a very special and unique place. At the main Kabbala center in Sfat there is this guy named Ronin, who makes the most delicious and flavorful things that I have ever tasted.  I had been there a couple times in the past so I knew what to aspect.  They are the equivalent of Yemenite tortillas.  They start out as these pancake type patties and then he adds and assortment of tomatoes, spices, and chilies.  He gives it a toss in the air, covers it with a splash of home made Yemenite salsa and rolls it up for eating.  This is actually a centuries old recipe that was in his family and that his parents brought with them from Yemen.  These things really are wonderful….. 

1 comment:

  1. Dave, I love your photos and I just love that you are teaching us all of this new stuff. Howard