I went to Israel for two weeks and I came back at least 10 pounds heavier. My downfall began with a trip to Mahane Yehuda (the “Shuk”), Jerusalem’s oldest and largest market where I discovered Israeli cheese, halva, pastries, cookies, olives, fresh and dried fruits - I indulged!
My weakness though came in the form of the ever so tasty Israeli breads. My nose brought me to this man’s shop on Eitz HaChaim Street – that intoxicating, yeasty smell of freshly baked bread was too enticing to deny. For four shekels, I bought a piece of the pita bread topped with a spread made from olive oil and za'atar, the spice mix ubiquitous to the Middle East. My mistake was taking a bite of the bread before I left the market. I had to have more. The next thing you know, I was down another a few more shekels for another piece of the pita, a bagel and piece of taboon bread to try out. During my short stay in Jerusalem, I visited his store several times and tried out all the other varieties he had.
Of course, Mahane Yehuda has a lot more to offer than bread so if you’re a market person, a visit to Mahane Yehuda is a must. For 99 NIS, you can buy a ticket called Shuk Bites which gives you a map and a punch card that you use to take a self guided tour through the market with curated tasting samples along the way – a perfect way to explore the this foodie paradise!
You can get to Mahane Yehuda via Jerusalem’s light rail. Just get off at the station stop by the same name.