Two months ago Inbal told me about an upcoming visit to Israel of 5 food bloggers from around the world. I was especially happy to hear David Lebovitz was one of them; not often do one of my favorite food writers whom I follow online for more than 3 years comes to Israel! My excitement got even higher once I figured out I would have the chance to meet him for a few hours.
You are probably wondering what brings these food writers to Israel. Well, in the last few years Kinetis organization arranged tours in Israel for bloggers and opinion leaders from around the world. The main purpose of those visits is to show them that Israel is more than just a state in a political conflict.
There were 4 other food writers in the group besides David Lebovitz: Cambria Bold from The Kitchn, Erin Zimmer from Serious Eats, Pille Petersoo from the Estonian blog Nami Nami, and Kerstin Rodgers from the British blog The English Can Cook. All 5 of them got to visit the main cities in Israel and had a fantastic culinary experience.
Last Friday I got to finally meet David Lebovitz. On the two days before our meeting, I made him a gift basket with 3 types of cookies, a few spices and tastes from Israel, and a booklet with translation of 10 recipes from my blog.
I was so excited before our meeting, I actually thought I would come out like a total dork. Luckily, I maintained calm and after a few moments I was even able to use full sentences. After 2 cups of espresso and a little breakfast, we were on our way to the first stop of the day.
We got to one of my favorite bakeries in Tel Aviv, Lehamim ("Breads"). We were greeted by Uri and Rinat, owner and production manager, who gave us a little tour. Several minutes later, we got downstairs to the main production hall, which was full of employees kneading, baking and mixing batters in giant mixers.
Uri showed us how to make a chalah bread (for the Shabbat), while Rinat started making Knaffeh with fresh goat cheese and rose water syrup. Another double espresso and some freshly baked pastries (David liked the chocolate Ruglach most), and we were ready for our next stop.
While driving around the city, we talked about his trip, blogging and food. I asked him what was his favorite thing about Israel so far, and with no hesitation he mentioned the meal he had the other day at Haj Kahil and all the Hummus he ate in the last few days. Following his Twitter and Instagram accounts I already witnessed his passion for this thick, fragrant paste of chickpeas.
We arrived to the Tel Aviv port and after a short walk on the deck alongside the water we got to the small Farmer's market, wandering around and taking pictures. That was also our place for lunch – a restaurant called Kitchen Market. David seemed to be happy with the vibe and looks of the place, as you can see in his Instagram picture.
He asked me what I loved most about Israel, and I could only answer that I just love the atmosphere in the streets: there's a natural flow in our main cities, which I have never seen in any other place in the world. It's not anything I can put my finger on, but it's definitely there.
While talking, eating and taking pictures (and did I mention more coffee?), he kept on writing everything down in his little notebook. I'm pretty sure that after 6 intensive days it was filled with great tips and recommendations for Israel.
Actually what I wanted most was to have a little baking session together, but I knew David would much enjoy seeing a few more spots in Tel Aviv, and get the spirit of the city. So I guess our baking session would have to wait for our next meeting, in Israel or in Paris.
Finally, I want to thank a few people who without them this experience may have never come true:
- The Kinetis team and especially Adi Kaplan.
- Inbal Klein and Meital Glam-Volk from I love food.
- Rinat Tzadok and Uri Scheft from Lehamim bakery.
- My amazing brother, Amir Levin, who designed the recipe booklet.
- Elyssa Frank from MADEinISRAEL for the first photo in the post.