A taste of Tuscany at the Gezer Wine Festival

The three-day Gezer Wine Festival is a great chance to visit this lovely part of the country.

A taste of Tuscany in Gezer (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
A taste of Tuscany in Gezer
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
One of the greatest events that takes place at the end of every summer is the three-day Gezer Wine Festival, which offers a variety of free events including wine-tastings, live performances, children’s activities, an artists’ fair and food vendors.
The Gezer Wine Festival is a wonderful time to feel as if you’re in Tuscany without even having to buy a plane ticket. This is the fifth year that this free agricultural-culinary- art festival is taking place, and visitors will be able to purchase locally grown produce, taste wines produced at local boutique wineries and participate in experiential workshops.
The opening event will take place on Thursday, August 30 at the Barkan Visitors’ Center in Kibbutz Hulda where Assaf Amdursky and Israel Gurion will give a free concert. On the Friday and Saturday of the festival, a shuttle will run between the locations of the festival, including the artists’ fair in Karmei Yosef. Guests are also welcome to join a guided tour of the region.
COCHIN CUISINE One of the most exciting parts of the festival is enjoying a meal prepared by local chefs, such as Ofira Bar from Moshav Petahya, who cooks amazing Cochin cuisine. Bar has joined with pastry chef Chen Yaakovi from Karmei Yosef and the two of them create a unique culinary feast together.
The meals, which are held at Bar’s home, include mostly Cochin cuisine, which Bar learned from her mother, who made aliyah from India. Bar once went on a heritage tour with her mother to her hometown in India, where Bar was introduced to a number of methods for cooking with local spices.
The meals begin with a platter of dips, such as peanuts and coconut, sweet potato, eggplant, dal and potatoes with mustard. Bar also prepares samosas, naan, chapati, yellow rice with almonds, chicken curry, and spicy fish. For dessert, Yaakovi prepares Indian-style treats, many of which contain fresh fruit and spices.
To reserve a meal: 054-421-0646, 054-421-0646, 052-397-2979
HULDA OLIVE OIL Kibbutz Hulda has recently established its new Hulda Olive Oil brand, which has received the Israeli Seal of Quality. Four different types of olives – Barnea, Picholine, Arbequina and Coratina – are grown in the kibbutz’s 90 acres of olive and pomegranate groves and grape vineyards.
Guests will be able to taste the Hulda Olive Oil at the opening event of the festival, or at private tastings at the kibbutz’s visitor center. Tours of the olive groves, which include tastings, cost NIS 10 per person. This amount is deducted from the price of a bottle of oil upon purchase.
Reservations: 050-730-0670
ETI GIRON One of the best parts of the festival is meeting with artists in their natural spaces. I was lucky to meet one such artist, Eti Giron from Kibbutz Gezer, who has lots of dreadlocks wrapped around her head. We sat in her garden, which is full of interesting statues and works of art.
Giron began drawing on tiles and carpets, without ever having gone to art school. She feels a very strong spiritual connection with her artwork, and loves helping people overcome emotional barriers through art.
Shorashim Meditative Art: 054-793-2555
BEAUTIFUL BAKER In addition to the artists’ fair, you’ll also find an incredible boutique café in Karmei Yosef called Beautiful Baker, which is run by Sari Lotati. A year and a half ago, after her father died, Lotati decided to change the course of her life and made a sharp career change.
Her father had loved cooking, says Lotati, which was her impetus to begin baking sweet and savory pastries, and making homemade pastas and pizzas.
Open: Sunday through Friday Location: 2 Hagefen Street, Karmei Yosef
TUTEI GIL The public is invited to pick the last strawberries remaining on the hanging vines at Tutei Gil in Moshav Petahya. For the families who don’t arrive in time to reach for the last strawberries, there are still plenty of baladi tomatoes in the fields ready for picking. Visitors are welcome to fill their baskets high with these juicy treats.
In addition, guests can purchase locally grown cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants and a number of fruits on site.
Location: 19 Habrosh, Petahya Info: 050-461-4406 Translated by Hannah Hochner.