Lone Tree Brewery beers are produced in a small facility in Gush Etzion. I had tasted them at the national beer event in Tel Aviv last winter, and like them very much. So when brewmaster David Shire invited the food bloggers and writers to the microbrewery last Friday, I was excited to go.
Bloggers Liz Steinberg, Emily Segal, and Mirj Weiss. Other writers and bloggers were present and eagerly tasting as well – in all, about 30 visitors.
It was a rustic display of Gush Etzion’s gastronomic goodies. Some manufacturers are just starting out and sell mostly in the Gush. Others routinely distribute around Israel, and some sell their products abroad.
There was plenty of chocolate and plenty of liqueurs.
Yekev Lavie produces black and white chocolate liqueurs, coffee cream, honey, cherry, caramel, and crème de cassis.
kosher medhadrin; some dairy varieties
Liqueurs are available in Israeli wine stores.
In friendly rivalry was Chocoholique, a boutique liqueur manufacturer who describe their product as “drinking chocolate.” They offer 8 varieties of chocolate-based liqueurs, some of which are unusual here in Israel, like their peppermint, chili pepper, and peanut butter ones.
Kosher mehadrin, pareve
Orders: Marc Gottleib +972-2-991-9443
Itamar of the Beit Lechem Bakery put out a sample of their extremely delicious breads. They have whole wheat, sourdough, and spelt breads – all natural, no chemicals.
Beit Lechem Bakery
Itamar, Tel. 054-4769-464
Breads available in Jerusalem health food stores.
Like fancy cookies? The amusing bouquets (first photo on this post) and business cards printed onto cookies caught my eyes. David and Suzie Gross of The Cookie Crave also bake amazingly good tarts and cakes. Hard to resist noshing!
The Cookie Crave
Kosher Mehadrin, pareve
Kosher mehadrin, pareve
Local distribution; ships world-wide
We weren’t done with chocolate yet. Zev Stander of Holy Cacao fascinated us with his story. He’s the only one in Israel who imports cocoa beans (some from his own plantation in Peru) and makes the finished product from scratch. The quality of Holy Cacao chocolates is exceptional. And Zev practices fair trade with his cacao suppliers.
Click on the link to Facebook below to view photos of these out-of-the-world chocolates.
Order via Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/nNAIq2
Ferency Winery is my kind of winery. Small, producing 10,000 bottles yearly at this time, and all-organic. Gershon Ferency is vineyard master and winebrewer, making Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and a blend of the whites that I found particularly refreshing. I liked Gershon’s attitude towards wine-making: going against the current trend of designing the wine to fit a particular profile, he “lets the wine speak for itself.”
I agree. The winemaker really only manages fermentation: the character of the wine will emerge from the grapes themselves.
I have to confess. I’ve always disliked herring. I know – I know. How could I possibly survive a kiddush at shul without tasting the herring? But I always sort of snuck past it.
At the Gush gathering though, was Mordechi Zucker of Kiddush Club. Based in Efrat, Mordechai brines and smokes the most delicious gravelox and herring. I loved his salty herring. Sweet, I can still live without. Yes, lovers of traditional sweet herring will jump down my throat. I am resigned. Mordechai makes 7 different varieties.
Another boutique food manufacturer with slow-food ideas, Mordechai is dedicated to old methods of preserving fish that are vanishing today. When asked, he said that he smokes his fish on his apartment porch. “I give lots of samples out to the neighbors!”
By order only.
Let’s finish with more wine.
At the end of the event, six or so of us traveled on to the Gush Etzion Winery, where we were offered a tour and tastings of their Nahal HaPirim and Emek Bracha series. The winery is located at the Gush Etzion intersection and is well worth the visit.
Apart from Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Gwwurtztaminer, Riesling, Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier – as if the wines weren’t enough – there is a lovely dairy/fish restaurant.
We feasted on hot quiches and egg dishes and a huge variety of salads (Mirj was especially taken with the chickpea/lemon salad). The menu offers a very large variety of dishes, including a red mullet tajine that I’d love to order next time I’m in the Gush.
Gush Etzion Winery
Click on the “restaurant” tab to see all the options in English.
What with the high mountain air and beautiful views and good food and drink, that was one of the best Fridays I’ve had in a very long time. Many thanks to David Shire of Lone Tree Breweries and all who helped him get the event together.
Lone Tree Brewery
Kosher mehadrin, pareve
To order beer:
To know more about David (who speaks with an intriguing Scots accent) and the brewery, see an interview with him on Foodbridge.