Over the last month or so, we’ve had a delightful time discovering that the Galil and Golan are filled with great, gourmet foods. All the places we went to were within an hour of Ma’alot, with most places being only about 30 minutes away.
Rimon Winery : Starting off on our culinary journey we went to the Rimon Winery (rimonwines.com) in Moshav Kerem Ben Zimra. The winery is located in the midst of the Nechmias family pomegranate orchard 30 minutes east of Ma’alot, being between Safed and Lebanon. There we sampled some delicious dry and dessert wines made from pomegranates. What a treat!
After the wine tasting, there was a brief tour with an explanation of the wine-making process.
Who would have thought you could get great, full-bodied wines from rimonim?
Johncolad : Chocolatier John Alford (johncolad.com) makes some amazingly rich chocolates and truffles in his little chocolate factory in Manof, just 40 minutes south of Ma’alot. The process appears simple and the result are amazing!
Here is the oversimplified version of how John’s chocolates are made:
Step 1 – Making the Chocolate. In this step John mixes premium chocolate products with natural ingredients to produce a chocolate “dough” with centers the flavors of brandy, caramel, mocha, etc.
Step 2 – The Chocolate Snake. After all the mixing and blending, John forms chocolate snakes of about 1/2 ” diameter, which then go onto his conveyor belt for further processing. Half way down the conveyor belt (to the right of John’s hands) the chocolate snake is cut into approximately 8″-10″ pieces, which at the end of the line get dropped into two counter-spinning grooved rollers, slicing the snake into a dozen or so little “balls”.
Step 3 – Coatings. The flavored chocolate centers are then placed into the spinning drums (pictured above) for repeated application of chocolate coatings, nonpareils or cocoa powder, depending on the desired results.
His tour is interesting, informative and takes about 15 minutes, followed with samples for the children.
When you go, make sure you bring plenty of cash or checks (credit cards not accepted) and sample your purchases in the parking lot. That way you won’t have to go back for more after 10 minutes of driving and eating.
La Bonita : La Bonita (labonita.co.il) in Karmiel, about 30 minutes south of Ma’alot, tastefully fills the need for authentic Mexican corn and wheat tortillas. The tortillas are made on location, and you can buy them fresh off the conveyor belt.
Recently, La Bonita went through some renovations, automating some steps and installing more equipment for higher production.
Wheat tortillas are available in a small and large sizes and are amazingly delicious. Corn tortillas are available in a standard sized 8″ diameter (or so). Also available are fresh sauces and tortilla chips.
The owners and workers are delightfully cheerful and are always happy to see us!
In Part 2 we will explore some profoundly fantastic olive oils of the Golan and some delicacies from Tzippori.