Posts Tagged ‘fruit’
Market stalls along the cobbled alleys in the Machne Yehuda shuk (market) in Jerusalem are overflowing with dried fruit. As the sudden abundance of donuts reminds Israelis that Chanukah is coming, so the mounds of dried fruit are synonymous with the arrival of Tu B’shvat.
Not well known outside of Israel, the minor Jewish holiday of Tu B’shvat celebrates the ‘New Year of the trees’ from which the correct tithes were calculated in the times of the Temple. Today, many Israelis take Tu B’shvat as an opportunity to eat exotic dried fruits. Some even go as far as to hold Tu B’Shvat seder, a Chassidic custom that traditionally included fruits and wine from the seven Biblical species.
Alongside the piles of dried fruit in the market are bottles of homegrown Israeli wines also ready to grace the Tu B’Shvat table. The relationship between fruit and wine is clear. Fruit is transformed into wine. But from there things become more complicated. Wine is frequently described in terms of fruit. We hear phrases like, ‘notes of cherry.’
But, what do these terms really mean? If no artificial flavors are added to wine, then how can the simple grape produce a flavor with ‘a hint of orange blossom?’
Fruit flavors as described in wine actually only refer to the scents that are identified as we smell the wine. They could be classified by the chemical names, but would hardly appeal to the average wine drinker.
Instead, a common language of wine tastes that uses common scents as analogies to the flavors present in wine has developed. Referring to such association enables the experience of wine taste to be universal and allows the exchange of knowledge and impressions.
To experience a wine’s true scent, you should smell the wine twice. First, gently swirl the wine in the glass, then sniff deeply; this is called the ‘first nose.’ Then swirl the wine again and smell a second time, the ‘second nose’, which allows you to identify a greater range of flavors in the wine. The best sommeliers are able to identify as many as 60 flavors in one wine.
Once identified, each fruit flavor teaches us something about the wine. Fresh fruit flavors like apple, pear, quince, peach, apricot and strawberry are usually signs of a young wine.
Cooked fruit flavors like compote or jam indicate a very ripe harvest year with hot weather conditions during the fruit ripen period.
Exotic fruits such as papaya, mango, pineapple, passion fruit and litchi are only found when the grapes were very ripe at the time of harvesting.
As you might expect, sour fruit flavors, such as citrus, green apple, kiwi, red currant and raspberry indicate a wine that was produced from grapes with a greater acidity.
Flavors reminiscent of dried fruits or nuts are usually found in sophisticated white wines.
Obviously, every wine contains multiple flavors. For a full tour of fruit flavors this Tu B’Shvat try these suggestions, found in local wine stores throughout the UK, to bring a taste of Israel to your table this Tu B’Shvat.
Grown in the footsteps of Mt Hermon, Gilgal White Riesling is fresh and makes a great aperitif with notes of citrus, melon as well as lemon and honey. Swill the glass to see if you can identify the subtle character of lime peel.
To accompany your dried fruit, try Yarden’s T2, produced from two different varieties of Portuguese grapes – Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao. This rich wine was fortified with brandy to stop its fermentation and increases its alcohol content while preserving the grapes’ natural sweetness. Look out for the aromatic blend of ripe cherries and plums in the scent.Daniela Berkowitz
(JNi.media) Condé Nast Traveler, which is part of a network of 20 print and digital media brands reaching more than 164 million consumers, focuses on literary journalism and hard news reporting. This month, it declared that Israel’s trend-setting city Tel Aviv has become a Mecca for herbivores. The magazine extols the city’s Carmel Market, with its “gleaming pyramids of eggplants, peppers, and cabbage heaped like pinups.” It is astonished by all the gastronomic influences: Russian, Polish, Arabic, Moroccan, Bulgarian, Iraqi, which “can coax a world of flavors out of the most humble potato.” And best of all, for the religious Jewish traveler, Tel Aviv’s abundance of no-meat, no-dairy restaurants are “kosher by default,” if you trust the owner, of course.
The article divides the eateries into outright Vegan and “veggie friendly.” Vegan food, in addition to being vegetarian, does not contain animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products or honey. The list of top notch, Tel Aviv Vegan joints is impressive (served here with choice lines from each):
Café Anastasia: tofu crepes, macadamia or chickpea omelets, and veggie scrambles.
Caffe Kaymak: fundamental bean soup is a medley of nutty al dente beans sitting in a sweet tomato broth roused by black pepper.
Nanuchka: hand-made dumplings, include a pastry pocket stuffed with potato, paired with eggplant salsa, as well as a pirashki filled with seasonal mushrooms.
Tenat (Ethiopian): crepe-like Injera bread, which you can wrap around the accompanying lentils, root vegetables, beetroot leaves, and potato salad.
Bindella: open ravioli piled with green-pea puree, mushrooms, and green-vegetable ragu.
Chiripom: Tip the party hat and out roll croquettes made of fried onion, parsley, and white potatoes.
Dallal: A forest-mushroom-and-mascarpone tortellini with hazelnut and truffled goat cheese makes for a rich starter.
Incidentally, Carmel Market, Shuk HaCarmel in Hebrew, is a vast, open air marketplace in old Tel Aviv, bordered by Allenby Street and Magen David Square. The market is open every day of the week, except Shabbat, and sells mostly food but also home accessories and flowers. Tuesdays and Fridays are the days when independent artists and vendors sell unique crafts, art, and jewelry nearby, along Nahalat Binyamin Street.JNi.Media
The Ginosar Agro team says they come from a deep understanding of the challenges banana growers are facing worldwide. You may not know this, but the Cavendish, that lovely, big, yellow banana you so love, is in grave danger. Tropical Race 4, a fungus which has already destroyed acres of crops across Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia, is threatening the plantations of Australia and South and Central America. In those areas, banana plantations are guarded by barbed wire fences and patrols.
The Ginosar elite-cultivars of disease-free banana plants are the result of decades of stringent professional selection from our mother plantations, located in northern Israel. The clones are globally recognized as a premium brand, due to the high quality of the plants and their superior performance in the field.
So, before you know it, those BDS folks are also going to have to go with just berries in their morning cereal…
And now a bonus image: a vendor at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem who discovered a brand new use for his bananas.Yori Yanover
A Hong Kong symphony of sounds fills the air as local laborers shout across the shul courtyard in Cantonese while tossing bamboo in a pile for the sukkah: Filipino maids chatter in Tagalog hovering over the children in their charge, the radio of the Nepalese gurkhas, the Synagogue security, crackles and jackhammers provide the background music. The thick air and humidity within the walls of the partially constructed bamboo sukkah sharply contrasts with the crisp fall air of Sukkot in the northeastern corridor of the United States, where the sukkahs of my childhood were laden with dried fruit and autumn color. Dozens of colorful miniature Chinese paper lanterns dangle from the sukkah and here replace the burnt orange and golden gourds of autumn.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Lantern Festival or the Mooncake Festival, falls on the 15th day of the eighth Chinese month, which not coincidentally coincides with Sukkot every year. The Chinese calendar, also being lunar, has a familiar rhythm. Side by side, we celebrate our Jewish festivals with our local Chinese hosts. While they gaze up at the moon, we speak of seeing the night stars through the s’chach. Both of our festivals are reminiscent of the harvest, though we have both journeyed seemingly far from our agricultural roots living here beneath the shadows of Hong Kong’s glittering skyscrapers
Despite the exoticism that life in the Far East might evoke, our children and those of our friends certainly still sit on the floor and color, cut and paste to decorate the sukkah, just as they would had they still been living in New York, London or Melbourne. That being said though, our themes here do tend to combine more pop culture and modernity with the tradition that I remember. And while Sukkot brings about the sense of impermanence and wandering, for me it is somehow about everything but that. It is a time to reflect on the meaning of home. And to emphasize my point, this year’s Wizard of Oz themed sukkah at the Ohel Leah Synagogue features a giant banner bearing the words, “There’s no place like home.”
And for most of us, being high-rise city dwellers, the community sukkah is in fact our only sukkah. While empty it seems cavernous, but it will quickly fill with friends who are our family and congregants who are our community. As a result, we all have a sense of ownership over our synagogue’s sukkah.
And for all the talk of what my children miss by living in the Far East and in a large Asian city, I counter with all they have gained. While it is true that they will never have a sukkah in their backyard, nor will they ever have a backyard (which the British have influenced them into believing is called a garden), they live in a world where by age nine it is safe to wander around on your own and by 11 taking public transport and a taxi alone is the norm. They live in a place where they are immersed in a foreign culture, free from the dominance of Christian culture and holidays, void of anti-Semitism and where they are exposed to multiple languages on a daily basis.
They can also actually sleep in a sukkah, without freezing, so long as they remember the mosquito spray. They have an understanding of diversity and culture and don’t fear things they don’t understand. They are born travelers and adventurers and see possibilities as limitless. Living within five minutes from their Synagogue and school, and most of our closest friends, in many ways they live in a small town but with little risk of developing a small town mentality.
And Sukkot, for them, while it will certainly never conjure up a nostalgia for dried fruits and cranberries on strings, dried gourds and Indian corn, cool weather or fluttering crisp leaves painted with brilliant autumn colors, they won’t think of themselves as rootless as some think the expat experience suggests.
Sukkot, while maybe framed in memories of Chinese lanterns and bamboo, perhaps takes on a greater meaning for them. Aware that China is our adopted home, a “temporary” dwelling for them is in some ways played out here on a daily basis. Home for my children is not a solitary image. It is bigger than that. It will likely always remain somewhat fluid, not fixed to a singular place but a feeling they can carry with them. It will be connected to synagogue and Sukkot, Israel, China and the US; to the places where they can find common language and ground, where welcomed and where they are loved.Erica Lyons
With the exception of bananas and apples, fruit will no longer be brought from Israel to Gaza is, according to the Agriculture Ministry on Monday.
But the story is not one of the victimization of fruit-loving Arabs by the strong arm of Israel, but rather of a severe ban imposed by the Hamas government on locals for the purpose of “resisting” the Jewish state and causing Gaza residents to rely on Gaza agriculture to meet their need for produce.
The ban will result in a 50 percent cut in imports. The estimated value of fruit sales to Gaza in 2011 was $26 million.
While Hamas says the ban is related to Israel’s refusal to allow Gaza to export its produce to the world, Israel categorically denied the claim, saying requests to export agricultural products from Gaza are almost never denied.
Gaza fruit importers decried the Hamas ban as difficult on Gazans who have little local fruit to choose from, and said that the advance payments they made to Israeli fruit suppliers would likely be lost.
Since the ban went into effect on Friday, the price of peaches doubled, with the price of dates rising 57%.Malkah Fleisher
As we explained in the previous blog, people tend to place more value on the final achievement of a goal, rather than on the endeavor itself. For instance, many people focus on getting their salaries at the end of the week, rather than on their actual work. How happy they feel when the work week is over and they have their paychecks in hand! For them, their work is merely a means toward receiving their money. This phenomenon is known to cause anxiety and even depression on the job. It can even lead to accidents, when a worker, daydreaming about the future, stops paying attention to what he is doing.
If a person approaches t’shuva with this attitude, he will always focus on his shortcomings and sin, and not on his yearning and efforts to redress them. As the saying teaches, one should not focus on the half of the glass that is empty, but rather on the half which is full. Not understanding that his efforts to improve are what matter, and not the idealized vision of himself which he has not as yet achieved, he will always feel anxious, unfulfilled and forlorn.
Rabbi Kook explains that this misplacing of priorities between the means and the goal stems from the sin of the earth during the days of Creation. By understanding the depth of this teaching, we can learn to be happy, not only when we finally attain our goals and ideals, but also at every moment of our lives.
When G-d curses Eve, the snake, and Adam, in the story of Creation, the earth is cursed with them, as it says, “The earth shall be cursed on your account” (Bereshit, 3:17). The Midrash asks why? Rabbi Yehuda Bar Shalom answers that the earth transgressed God’s command that the ground should give forth fruit trees which are fruit — not only was the fruit to be edible, the bark of the tree was supposed to be edible too, with the same taste as the fruit. The earth, however, brought forth trees which produced only edible fruit. The bark itself was tasteless (Bereshit Rabbah, 5:9).
Rabbi Kook writes:
At the beginning of Creation, the taste of the tree was supposed to have the same taste as the fruit. All of the means which are needed to sustain any lofty, all-encompassing spiritual goal, should rightly be experienced in the soul with the same exalted pleasantness which we feel when we picture the goal itself. However, the laws of nature, along with the instability of human life, and the heaviness of the spirit when it is enclosed in a physical body, caused that only the taste of the fruit — the actualization of the final, original, ideal goal — is experienced as pleasant and sweet. The trees which produce the fruit, though they be indispensable in the growth of the fruit, have become hard, solid matter, losing their taste. This is the sin of the earth, for which it was cursed along with Adam. But every blemish is destined to be perfected. Thus we are assured, without doubt, that the time will come when the world will return to its original state, when the taste of the tree will be the same as the taste of the fruit. For the earth will return from its sin, and the necessities of practical life will no longer restrict the pleasantness of the ideal light, which is supported and brought into being by these preliminary, practical means (Orot HaTshuva, 6:7).
How is the gulf between means and the goal, between the imperfect and the ideal, to be bridged? Through t’shuva. What will cause all of the details of human endeavor and the final building to merge in pleasant harmony? T’shuva. The light of t’shuva penetrates all of the details of life, all of the stages of mending and repair, and fills them all with the taste of the final ideal.
The discrepancy in taste between the fruit of the tree and the bark represents a vast, cosmic concept. Originally, God intended that everything in the world would be perceived in the same deep, inner light. According to the intended plan, people would have experienced every moment with the same joy as the final goal. They would have understood that the means are as important as the ideal, that all of the incompleteness and detailed work which go into achieving something are a part of the whole. With the sin of the earth, mankind lost the ability to appreciate the small things in life. People talk about the ideal future, about world peace, about universal equality, saving the environment, and the like, but the housekeeper’s boycott against ozone- destroying aerosol cans is seen as something less grand. On the contrary, what joy and sense of accomplishment she should feel knowing that she is making the world a better place!Tzvi Fishman