It’s taken me a quite while to get around to this post, despite the fact that it is inspired by the best vegetarian food I’ve ever eaten. That’s because this post is about Tel Aviv, in Israel. I have decided to split this in two, with part one explaining why it’s taken me so long to sit down and get this written up.
The back story
Back in June, I was lucky enough to attend the wedding of a very good friend of mine, and it took place in a beautiful forest on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. It was a magical experience; 350 people in a beautifully lit forest, eating and drinking fantastic food, dancing until the small hours, and having the time of their lives. I’ve never experienced a wedding like it. But it wasn’t just about the wedding. Wanting to make the most of our time in a new place, our little group of good friends spent a total of six days soaking up the atmosphere in this achingly cool, coastal city, and sampling it’s wonderful bars and restaurants. Tel Aviv won us over big-time.
Then everything changed
Then, on our last day in Israel, whilst we were waiting to get on the plane at Ben Gurion Airport, everything changed. Suddenly, frightened looking staff started shouting at us to “get away from the windows!” and we were rushed in to a corridor at the centre of the building. Suitably panicked, and knowing that the quickest way to find out what the eff was going on would be social media, I jumped on Twitter, and found out that rockets had been fired towards the airport by Hamas, but had been intercepted by Israel’s ‘iron dome’ of counter-fire. What it eventually meant for us was an annoying delayed flight and a bit of drama, but nothing major. For the people of Gaza however, it meant the start of a period of intense conflict with Israel that would result in 2,100 Palestinian deaths and many more casualties – a horrible number of which were women and children. In the days and weeks that followed our return to the UK, it became harder and harder to believe that our hot, fun-loving, sexy Tel Aviv, was part of all of that death.
So, as you can imagine, it’s taken me a while to sit down and put fingers to the keyboard and write about Israel. About the amazing, fresh and mostly vegetarian food that we ate every day. About the mix of Mediterranean and middle-eastern flavours and the fusion of Jewish and Muslim cuisines. It all seemed so frivolous and spoiled to start talking about something so unimportant in the midst of all that violence.
But, having said that, at the end of the day one of my blog’s key aims is to try and get people to eat less meat, and if there’s one place where it would be oh-so easy, it’s Tel Aviv. I want to write about the food, because it was exciting and fantastic, and this is a food blog – I just hope that it doesn’t make me sound like a massive tit.
Stay tuned for my foodie blog post, coming later this week.