Over the last few years the Mahane Yehuda Shuk (Hebrew for market) has seen some major changes. The marketplace has recently undergone several renovations, and upgrades. Following these renovations, which made the market very accessible (assuming that one is not trying to drive up Agripass St.) and clean, the shuk has now officially transformed into a “hang out” and not only a place to shop for food.
If you really want to feel the Jerusalem vibe, the shuk is the place to be. Personally, I love the shuk; the vibrant energy, colors, scents, tremendous diversity, seasonal fruits and vegetables and most importantly, the people who make it the best marketplace in Israel. Like most shuk fans, I also have my favorite shops and restaurants including: Azura, Baher's Fromagerrie, Mousseline (an excellent ice cream parlor – try their red grapefruit and basil sorbet), Burekas Ramleh, Chachapuria - offering excellent Georgian baked goods and the newly opened Jacko’s Street, among others.
I recently had the opportunity to join Chef Tali Friedman of the Atelier in a launch event of her new spring menu alongside a variety of wines from the Golan Heights Winery. After working in the culinary field and gaining her expertise, in 2009 Friedman established the Atelier, a culinary workshop in the heart of the market. Friedman offers visitors a unique and tasty tour throughout the various stalls (bastot) in the market, tasting their way through the alleys and purchasing fresh produce. After the tour, the group heads over to the workshop where they jointly prepare a delicious meal under Friedman’s guidance. Unfortunately, this time I missed the tour but I have done it in the past and, as a regular at the market, I can testify that Tali visits the best of the lot – hey, we even use the same butcher.
Tali’s interpretation of a spring dishes was very tasty drawing on the wide variety of fresh greens and vegetables currently on offer. Smooth fish bouillabaisse (more like a bisque), vegetables grilled to perfection, traditional Bucharian bread and facus (also known as an Armenian cucumber – crunchy, excellent in salads or for pickles) with a drizzle of olive oil were served as starters alongside the Gamla Brut sparkling wine and the semi-dry Gamla Riesling. The Gamla Brut is a crisp, fresh and tasty sparkling vino produced in traditional methods similar to those used in the production of quality Champagne.
Next to arrive was a seabass fillet in a crunchy herb crust aside grilled artichokes and sautéed green fool (Egyptian fava beans) which was served alongside the Gamla Chardonnay. Fresh green fool is a real treat and after preparing a traditional Moroccan fool and lamb soup for my fiancé during passover, peeling over two kilos of fool, I was happy, that this time Friedman and her team were the ones doing the peeling. A bit of homemade sorbet before biting into succulent sweat breads served in a mini pita with charred onions, tomatoes as well as a trio, comprising different cuts of grilled beef. These were served with the Gamla Syrah which proved to be a good choice - medium to full bodied red wine, a bit oaky but overall good fruity character, black pepper and a touch of smoke came together and really went well with the meat. Needless to say, I was content.
Friedman offers an excellent, tasty and unique way to experience the shuk, for tourists and Jerusalemites alike. Enjoy!
Some of you may already know, but this year the Golan Heights Winery is celebrating its 30th birthday. As one of the leading wineries in the country and a driving force in the quality revolution, the Golan Heights Winery will be coming to the Tel Aviv Port and offering a wide variety of wine tasting options (including aged and premium wines from different vintages) and other attractions. The event will take place every evening (except Fri.) from 23rd -30th of April. Registration to the sessions and tickets are required. L’Chaim!