Jordan, Israel & the Palestinian Territories Real Food Adventure - Israel

SUMMARY

Discover the rich history and richer flavours of Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories on this 14-day Real Food Adventure. Here, the sweeping deserts of Wadi Rum offer themselves to roast Bedouin feasts underground, the Dead Sea grants its salt as a world-class garnish and the region’s climate has allowed olives to thrive for over 6000 years. Savour shakshuka in Tel Aviv, learn the tricks of tahini from the Samaritans of Nablus, break bread with Druze folk in Buq’ata and sample mouth-watering knafeh in Amman. In between these delicious diversions, float on the Dead Sea, see the holy sights of Jerusalem and explore rock-hewn Petra. Brimming with charismatic culture and lively dishes, this is an epicurean odyssey to remember.

TOTAL DURATION : 14 Days

GROUP SIZE : MIN 1 MAX 12

TOUR ITINERARY AND DATES

START : Tel Aviv

END : Amman

COUNTRIES VISITED : Israel,Jordan

Validity : 01 JAN 2020 To 31 DEC 2020

Day :1

Location : Tel Aviv

Welcome to Israel and the Palestinian Territories – a region steeped in spirituality, and a rich tapestry of the many cultures, religions and nationalities that call it home, be that Palestinian Muslims and Christians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts or Greek Orthodox monks. Your Real Food Adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. After this briefing, take a short taxi ride to the Jaffa area and get to know your fellow travellers over dinner, sampling sabiach – a delicious vegetable and pita dish boasting fresh Mediterranean flavours with Middle Eastern roots.

Day :2

Location : Haifa

Pay a brief visit to Jaffa, then continue through Zichron Yaakov and stop in at one of Israel's finest wineries. Enjoy a wine tasting and perhaps make some purchases to complement a picnic brunch in the nearby Rothschild Gardens. Continue up to Akko to visit the Old Town and explore the Templar Tunnels built during the Crusades. By late afternoon, you’ll have reached Haifa, and if you’re up for it, catch a glimpse of the Bahai Gardens, containing ornate works of landscaped art. Retire to your hotel afterwards for a well-earned rest. Dinner is free this evening and your leader can make the best local restaurant recommendations!

Day :3

Location : Nazareth

This morning, take a drive up to Golan Heights to visit a Druze village called Buq’ata. Historically, the Druze have been an agricultural people, tending olive groves and fruit orchards, and growing mostly apples and cherries. Many families also grow their own vegetables, bake their own bread and live on a largely vegetarian diet. Here, you will be greeted by a lovely host family, and be invited in for a cooking demonstration, where you’ll share local culinary secrets and a delicious Druze lunch. Afterwards, head to Tiberius for a stroll along the famous Sea of Galilee – Israel's largest freshwater lake. Afterwards, travel to Nazareth and settle into your hotel for the evening.

Day :4

Location : Nablus/Jericho

After breakfast, visit the Church of the Annunciation and Mary’s Well – two of the most significant sights in Nazareth. Continue on to Nablus – one of the West Bank's largest cities – most famous for the Arabic sweet knafeh. Start at Mount Jerazim and meet some local Samaritans – a Jewish minority group living in Nablus, who are the only group to hold Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian passports, to learn about their culture. Visit a tahini factory to see how the sesame seeds are crushed and turned into the finished product! Also, you’ll visit the local chapter of Israel’s 'Slow Food' network for a cooking class. Join a local chef and head to the kasbah to collect ingredients for a class, focusing on some classics of Palestinian cooking. Enjoy your creations over lunch and discover what life is like for women in this small, Palestinian town. After lunch, visit a knafeh maker for insight into local sweet making, and of course to taste! Drive to Jericho for your night's stay.

Day :5

Location : Jericho/Dead Sea/Jerusalem

This morning, visit the old Tel in Jericho, also known as the ancient Jericho, then continue to the Dead Sea – the lowest-altitude place on earth! You will have the chance to experience what it's like to float in the world's saltiest body of water. This relaxed West Bank town is considered by some to be the longest inhabited city in the world. On the way, make a stop in Bethany, known biblically as the site of the resurrection of Lazarus, to visit a local family for a home-cooked meal. Today you’ll feast on maqluba – an 'upside-down' style dish consisting of chicken and vegetables. Afterwards, drive to Jerusalem via the famous Mount of Olives – an important pilgrimage site and home of the Garden of Gethsemane.

Day :6

Location : Jerusalem

Enjoy a full day tour of Jerusalem, starting with a walking tour of Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross) in the Old City. Stop at one of the city's favourite eateries and watch a master prepare mutabbaq – a stuffed pancake of Yemeni origin. Continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to visit the Golgotha – where Jesus was crucified – and then down to the Tomb where he was buried. Walk through the spice market to the Jewish Quarter and witness the pilgrims at the Western Wall. For lunch today, sample the local hummus and falafel at one of the most famous places in the Old City. Afterwards, continue to Nachlaut for a tour of one of the oldest neighbourhoods in West Jerusalem, finishing at the renowned Machane Yehuda food market. The best way to tackle these wondrous food stalls is with a Machane Yehuda Bites Card – where you’ll be able to sample a broad selection of foods while you wander. Alternatively, this area is ideal to just pull up a chair and grab an early dinner at one of the nearby restaurants, perhaps with some shakshuka – a North African dish served in a pan, consisting of eggs poached in a sautéed tomato, chilli and vegetable sauce.

Day :7

Location : Jerusalem (Negev Desert)

After breakfast, head south into the Negev Desert to meet some food producers. Your first stop is a goat cheese farm. Next, be welcomed into the home of a Jewish resident of the Negev. Here we will gain insight into the life and food traditions of an Israeli in the desert. Lunch will be a feast of vegetarian dishes. After lunch, drive up to visit the Tomb of David Ben Gurion – the first prime minister of Israel and one of its founders. Before the drive back to Jerusalem, visit an ancient winery that dates back to the Nabatean era. In recent years, an Israeli couple replanted the winery along with other fruit trees, producing an interesting selection of wines and jams that are only sold in that farm. Arrive back in Jerusalem by evening for a well-deserved rest.

Day :8

Location : Jerusalem (Bethlehem)

Enjoy breakfast in one of the Old City’s most beloved hummus restaurants. Take a short drive to World Heritage-listed Battir, where villagers continue to practice ancient agricultural methods. The village is surrounded by an impressive Roman-era system of stone-walled terraces and a unique irrigation system fed by seven springs. Continue on to the holy city of Bethlehem, and along the way, pass through a gap in the controversial separation wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. Once arrived and settled in, take a leader-led walking tour of this acclaimed city, passing Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity. This evening, join your group at an included barbecue dinner in town, where you’ll try your hand at mincing your own meat the authentic way – with two huge cleavers! Take your food coma back to Jerusalem and settle in for the night.

Day :9

Location : Amman

Ahlan wa sahlan! Welcome to Amman, capital of Jordan. Amman is known for sharing a mix of both young and old culture. Begin at the hotel with a 6 pm welcome meeting. Following that, tonight’s taste of Jordanian cuisine starts at the Hashem Restaurant – a place with a bragging rights for being a favourite of royals, diplomats and celebrities travelling through Amman. Dinner will consist of their famous Jordanian stuffed falafel, which is fresh and crunchy on the outside while fluffy on the inside. There’s also the chance to dip bread through smooth creamy hummus and moutabel; similar to hummus but with yoghurt, lemon juice and Arabic salad. After a filling meal, head on to the decades old Habibah Sweets shop for a slice of warm knafeh – delicious buttery cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar syrup.

Day :10

Location : Madaba – Petra

Keep an eye out this morning for people stuffing their faces with hot sesame bread sandwiches – most of these will be pouring out of the Salaheddin bakery, today’s breakfast joint and a favourite among locals. Walk in, choose a hot, fresh loaf and fill it with baked eggs, cheese, spices or anything else you want from the counter. After filling up on arguably the best bread in town, board a bus and head through Madaba before reaching the Dead Sea (approximately 45 minutes drive). This body of water is famously salty – 9.6 times saltier than the ocean as a matter of fact. As a result, it’s believed to have healing properties that can be tested first hand during an optional swim. After drying off, prepare for a traditional picnic lunch, mezze style. Mezze consists of setting up a series of small appetisers with a group of friends, then scooping them up with bread. Kibbeh (fried meat with wheat), manakish (flatbread with za’tar and olive oil), spinach bread and cheeses are all served, followed by a cup of shaneeneh (an aged goat milk yoghurt drink) and a serving of hareeseh (a sweet, syrupy pudding) for desert. Continue to Petra for dinner (approximately 3 hours). Learn from a local family how to prepare mansaf, delicious lamb with fermented, dried yoghurt sauce. After a hearty meal and a few shared stories from the family, arrive at La Maison Hotel near the ancient ruins of Petra.

Day :11

Location : Petra

Today we explore ancient Petra, known as one of the new ‘seven wonders of the world’. This archaeological city sits within 80-metre-high cliff walls – the iconic treasury, carved into the face of one of these cliffs, is definitely the highlight of this visit. The site is expansive and to explore it all requires quite a bit of walking and a basic level of fitness will enhance your experience. With a free afternoon to proceed at your own pace there’s ample time to see the museum, the roman amphitheatre, the palace and other places – just head to the visitor centre for a map and a few suggestions as to where to go. Once the day is done, head back to your hotel for a free evening.

Day :12

Location : Wadi Rum

Rise early for a mezze-style breakfast of breads, garnishes and sheep's milk with a local shepherd. This is the perfect setting learn about the life and culture of a Petran local. Continue to Wadi Rum (approximately 3 hour), a place often referred to as ‘The Valley of the Moon’. Explore the red dunes, steep craggy mountains and legendary ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ rock formation on a 4-hour jeep ride. Afterwards, head to a Wadi Rum campsite for a traditional Bedouin barbecue known as ‘zarb’. One of the staples of Bedouin culture, zarb involves digging a large hole in the ground and stoking a coal fire underneath it before cooking meat and vegetables in the pit. Spend the evening in this magic setting. 

Day :13

Location : Amman

Start the morning with a delicious Bedouin breakfast – not to be confused with bed and breakfast! This typically consists of labneh (strained yoghurt, usually served with olive oil), zait (olives), za’tar, jebneh (cheese pastry) and tomatoes. You may get the chance to wash it all down with a cup of Bedouin whiskey; it’s non-alcoholic and consists of tea with sugar and sage, so don’t worry about getting tipsy before lunch. Following breakfast, take a walking tour through the desert of Wadi Rum. The sand dunes shift in colour as the day passes by and the colossal mountains sit steep and sharp, adding to a sense that these ancient lands were forgotten by time long ago. After the walking tour wraps up, take a 3.5-hour drive back to Amman and stop for a delicious falafel sandwich along the way. Tonight, enjoy a self-prepared dinner at the Beit Sitti cooking school, known as one of the most innovative developments in Jordan’s dining scene. Visitors to the school get to cook (and eat) an authentic meal under supervision, with tonight’s dish being maqluba. Literally translating to ‘upside down’, maqluba is a casserole with rice, vegetables and chicken which is cooked, flipped, then served with either yoghurt or an Arab salad with tahina sauce.

Day :14

Location : Amman

Your Real Food Adventure comes to an end after breakfast, with no further activities planned. If you are spending more time in Amman we can help you to book additional nights accommodation just contact your sales agent. 

Holiday Name : Jordan, Israel & the Palestinian Territories Real Food Adventure 
Reference : IT
  • Feast on classic dishes in Israel’s legendary local eateries, from shakshouka to a beloved hummus institution in the Old City of Jerusalem.
  • Sit down with locals for a hearty serving of mansaf – delicious lamb with fermented and dried yoghurt sauce – in Jordan's remarkable ‘Rose City' of Petra.
  • Learn some age-old kitchen secrets cooking up a storm with Druze villagers in Golan Heights and Palestinian slow-food experts in Nablus.
  • Uncover secret traditions and flavours with a Jordanian shepherd over breakfast. Drink fire-warmed sheep’s milk, then scoop bread into a pot of rich Galayah Bandoora.
  • Savour the smells and tastes of a freshly prepared Bedouin zarb – slow roasted vegetables and juicy spiced meats cooked to perfection in an underground barbecue.
  • Prices based on land only basis,
    Packages with flights, car hire or transfers are available. All prices and details are subject to change and availability.  Terms and conditions apply.
    Prices start from £2,975