World famous food bloggers and Instagrammers tour Israel

‘Israeli food brings something new and exciting to the table,’ says Vibe Israel CEO Joanna Landau.

Famous food bloggers and Instagrammers try different flavors of Tehina at Mahane Yehuda (photo credit: AMIR MENACHEM)
Famous food bloggers and Instagrammers try different flavors of Tehina at Mahane Yehuda
(photo credit: AMIR MENACHEM)
“Israeli food brings something new and exciting to the table,” says Vibe Israel CEO Joanna Landau.
“Sababa is my favorite word,” yelled one of Instagram’s top food bloggers Diala Canelo as she stood in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market this past week.
Together with several top Instagram foodies, Canelo is on an Israeli food tour until Monday with Vibe Israel, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on energizing and inspiring the next generation about Israel.
The Jerusalem Post joined the group for a priceless tour of Mahane Yehuda hosted by well-known chef Tali Friedman.
The tour began at The Original Bourekas from Haifa, where the group tasted all types of bourekas made with canola oil, not margarine. The foodies shared their excitement and also took to tasting real Israeli pickles that were served. “These are the best pickles I’ve ever had,” said one of the Instagrammers. “I’ve never tasted anything like this before.”
From there, the group went on to taste some of the best seeds, dried fruits, cheese, wine, halva and tahina. Along the way, the Instagrammers discovered some of the best secrets of the shuk and the culinary delights it has to offer.
For most of the group, the cheese and wine tasting was the highlight of the tour. Three different types of Gouda cheese, cheddar and even basil flavored cheese kept their palates watering for more. “It’s so different to what we have in America,” explained Evi Aki as she tasted the cheddar. “It almost doesn’t taste like cheddar.”
Aki, who is the author of the Flavor of Africa cookbook and a well-known Instagrammer, told the Post that she worked for an Israeli pop-up and had always loved Israeli food. “So when the opportunity came to visit Israel and see the food scene, I thought why not?” she said.
Food blogger Melanie Lionello, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, said she had been back to the shuk five times in the few days she has been in Israel.
Asked about her favorite taster on the tour so far, she said that the Nougat Tehina was incredible. “I’ve never tasted anything like this before, we don’t have this in Australia,” she highlighted. Lionello said she was most looking forward to the pickling workshop and visiting the markets in Tel Aviv.
Asked why she decided to say “yes” to the trip, Lionello told the Post that she has met a lot of Israelis on her travels “and they’re always so friendly and the food is delicious.
“The food, the culture and the people are so far removed from what I know and it’s great to be able to experience that,” Lionello said.
For Rachael Yerkes, who has over one million Instagram followers and is famous for her eazy peazy mealz website, said that she has always loved seeing and experiencing the “local flavors” of countries she visits. She said her favorite part of the shuk tour was tasting the basil flavored cheese. “It’s so different – food and Israel, what could be better?”
A Simple Pantry’s Karly Gomez said that she loved “the Hummus, salads and just being able to dip,” when they visited an authentic Middle-Eastern restaurant in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter on Wednesday. “It was this big meal, and it was simply delicious.”
Gomez said she hadn’t left the US in almost two decades and saw this trip “as the perfect opportunity.”
For Canelo, who is a famous pastry chef in Canada, Israel and the Jewish people have always intrigued her. “I’ve only heard wonderful things about Israel and I thought I’ve got to go,” she explained. “I love Israeli food, so there was no question.
“I’ve only been here a few days and I’ve already fallen in love with the food, the culture and most of all the people,” she said.
Although she said that everything had so far been a highlight, Canelo said that the visit to the Western Wall was emotional. “I was raised Catholic so I am so grateful to have gone there,” she said.
Canelo also said she is most looking forward to exploring Tel Aviv and learning more about the history of Israel and the Jewish people “because I have heard so much about it.”
Founder and CEO of Vibe Israel Joanna Landau told the Post that “food is a wonderful way to showcase what Israel has to offer. “It’s photogenic, relatable and as the food influencers we are currently hosting can tell you, huge on social media,” she said.
“Take the Israeli Breakfast for example,” Landau explained. “It offers a healthy, fresh option, which is a major trend around the world today, and its diversity and sharing experience reflect our local culture.” She highlighted that Israeli food “brings something new and exciting to the table, which is why we see Israeli restaurants overseas are so popular right now.”
Landau emphasized that Vibe Israel believes that for the country’s image “to improve dramatically, the Israeli public and Israel’s stakeholders around the world need to take an active part in telling its story.
“Food is only one great example of how well it can work,” she added.