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Located in Ma'aleh Hahamisha, on the road from the village of Abu Gosh to Nataf, Ahuza catering is a take-away heaven for those who want to add something special to their usual Shabbat fare.
Step inside the pleasant factory store, take a cart and stroll among dozens of deep trays containing endless varieties of fresh homemade food for a fascinating culinary experience.
At the helm of Ahuza's kitchen sits chef Ahron Shasha who, until recently, worked as executive chef at the Inbal Hotel. During his many years as a professional chef, Shasha has repeatedly proved his talent to locals, worldwide leaders and Hollywood celebrities. He has also been distinguished by international culinary institutions for his kitchen prowess.
All dishes are cooked fresh on the premises, their preparation employing up-to-date techniques that meet the highest standards of international modern kitchens.
"I use a special method to quickly chill the food immediately after cooking," says Chef Shasha. "In order to keep ingredients fresh and meat tender the food has to be kept cold until you reheat at home whether in a hot oven or slowly on a Shabbat plate."
Customers can use plastic and foil containers to choose from the large selection of food presented in stainless steel trays that are built into wooden tables and protected by floating flexiglass covers.
Mediterranean is the dominant style of cuisine, combining some European dishes and flavors.
From Cornish hen with pistachio, to Moroccan style fish, from roasted beef to lamb kebabs in tomato sauce, each dish is spiced-up or marinated in a different sauce.
Think of a vegetable and you'll find it filled with rice or meat in one of the trays. The salads are fresh and tempting and the variety of breads is tremendous. To complete any meal, there is a scrumptious selection of desserts including malabi in red berry sauce, chocolate mousse, and a variety of cakes - all ready to take out.
The rustic decoration of the shop and the mingling of so many aromas create a feast for the senses. You are tempted to continuously pile more and more containers to your cart - who would want to miss a thing?!
We were given a short tour of the spotless factory kitchens including a quick peek at the preparations for Pessah. Starting on Monday, April 10, the production line at Ahuza will become kosher for Pessah, without kitniyot (legumes). Pessah orders must be received two days in advance.
For the Seder meal, Ahuza is offering a fixed-price menu including a choice of six salads; soup; first course with an option for gefilte fish / Moroccan gray mullet / chicken liver pat / artichoke filled with beef; two main courses to choose out of five options; and two side dishes for NIS 99 per person. An alternative upscale menu offering roast duck in orange sauce, lamb Osso Buco, and beef filet as the main courses is offered for NIS 149 per person.
Even if you are skeptical of take-out food, consider stopping by the store to sample few of the delectable items that are too time-consuming to make at home. You might be surprised.
The factory store at Ahuza is open on Thursdays from 12 noon to 8 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. until one hour before Shabbat. Tel.: 570-3094.