Tastes of Tzfat: part one

One of the best things about traveling is experiencing culture through flavor and sampling the local delicacies. While Tzfat is a tiny town, there’s no shortage of deliciousness! For starters, Tzfat has its own winery and cheese shop where traditions keep the production simple and similar to the way it’s been done for hundreds of years. There’s something rustic and charming about eating and drinking the traditional way in an old city.

If you have an afternoon or a nice day, I highly recommend putting together your own picnic or midday snack. First stop are the bakeries all along Jerusalem street; wherever you are on J street, a great bakery is close by! With fresh borekas and sweet and savory cheese pastries, fresh pita, challah and rugelach, all for just a few shekel, it’s a time to splurge.

Next stop is the ancient Safed Winery down in the winding lanes of the old city. A small family operation, this low sulfur wine made from local grapes features a white and red table wine in addition to a sweet wine and ultra smooth grappa. For 10 shekel you can taste them all before getting a bottle of your favorite and heading just down the road to the cheese shop.

Here cheese is made relatively the same way it has been for hundreds of years. If you catch them at the right time demonstrations and even cheese making participations are on offer. The fresh salty cheeses are complimented by a selection of semi soft cheeses of various stinkiness; there’s even a slightly sweet fresh cheese that comes covered in chocolate. Add a small container of grape leaves and maybe some hummus or halva, and you’ve got yourself a nice feast of local flavors.

– Tess Rose, past chevre