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A Taste of Israel with
Joan Nathan

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Join Joan Nathan for an exclusive culinary tour of Israel. Learn about the importance of different foods in the region across time as you tour a modern vineyard that first grew grapes more than 1,500 years ago and meet leaders of an innovative food lab at the cutting edge of Israel’s start-up ecosystem.

Share home-cooked meals with Ethiopian, Druze, Bedouin, and Ashkenazi Jewish families, who all call Israel home. Visit a botanical garden and date plantation, an agricultural research center, and an olive oil factory, all parts of making Israel’s desert into a food-producing region.

With Joan Nathan, a James Beard award-winning cookbook author and a cultural expert, taste Israel differently.

Trip Details

Dates
March 6-14, 2022

Duration
9 days, 8 nights

Prices Per Person
$7,995 double occupancy
$9,820 single occupancy

Deposit
$1,000 per person

Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Bruchim Haba’im (Welcome)

Arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport and transfer to your hotel on the Tel Aviv waterfront. Enjoy an evening with Joan’s friends Colette Avital, Israeli diplomat and politician and Nathan Hevrony, Chairman of the Board for Tzora Vineyards in the Judean Hills for a private welcome dinner and reception. Nathan will be accompanied by Tzora’s master winemaker who will lead a wine tasting and share the history of the vineyard. (R, D)

Day 2: Past, Pastries & Personalities

After breakfast, visit the Museum of the Jewish People for an exclusive tour. Meet with the Museum’s CEO and Executive Vice President to learn more about the Museum and its mission to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity among the Jewish people over time. Celebrate this diverse history as you learn about different ethnic influences in Jewish cooking. Then, roll up your sleeves for a pastry workshop and learn some secrets of light, delectable pastries. This afternoon, enjoy a tour, curator welcome, and private rooftop reception at Asif, a nonprofit organization and culinary center dedicated to celebrating and cultivating Israel’s diverse and creative cuisine. Join Culinary Director Chef Ayelet Latovich and philanthropists for a tour of the site’s culinary exhibition and urban rooftop farm, learn about Israel’s diverse cuisine and cutting-edge food technology, and enjoy light bites of seasonal food from the test kitchen with Chef Latovich. Dinner is on your own. (B, pastries, R)

Chef Ayelet Latovich at the restaurant Asif
Chef Ayelet Latovich at the restaurant Asif

Day 2: Past, Pastries & Personalities

After breakfast, visit the Museum of the Jewish People for an exclusive tour. Meet with the Museum’s CEO and Executive Vice President to learn more about the Museum and its mission to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity among the Jewish people over time. Celebrate this diverse history as you learn about different ethnic influences in Jewish cooking. Then, roll up your sleeves for a pastry workshop and learn some secrets of light, delectable pastries. This afternoon, enjoy a tour, curator welcome, and private rooftop reception at Asif, a nonprofit organization and culinary center dedicated to celebrating and cultivating Israel’s diverse and creative cuisine. Join Culinary Director Chef Ayelet Latovich and philanthropists for a tour of the site’s culinary exhibition and urban rooftop farm, learn about Israel’s diverse cuisine and cutting-edge food technology, and enjoy light bites of seasonal food from the test kitchen with Chef Latovich. Dinner is on your own. (B, pastries, R)

Day 3: Druze Hospitality

Start your day with a drive up the Mediterranean coast to Kibbutz Magal for a tour and tasting at Masik Kibbutz Magal, recognized for the fifth consecutive year as the leading olive oil brand in Israel. Meet employees, learn about the growing and production process, and taste olive oil and almonds. Tour the greenhouse innovation center and learn about Israel’s use of drip-irrigation technology to conserve water in the desert. Then, visit a local Druze family in their home for a hands-on cooking experience and lunch, an opportunity to make your own stuffed grape leaves and learn about Druze culture. Druze people follow a monotheistic religion that incorporates bits of Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and other beliefs, with a focus on mindfulness and truth. Return to Tel Aviv, stopping to view the historic port of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great in the first century B.C. This evening, you can explore the Tel Aviv dining scene on your own. (B, L)

Day 4: Ancient Paths & Modern Vineyards

Depart Tel Aviv early this morning and drive into the Negev desert. En route, visit Avdat National Park, a station along the Nabatean incense route between 37 B.C. and A.D. 70 , now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a tour and taste the wines at the Carmey Avdat winery, a modern-day vineyard on the grounds of a 1,500-year-old agricultural settlement. Learn how its owners have preserved the property’s archaeological remains and ancient terraces to produce wine today. After, break bread in a Bedouin tent. Arrive in Mitzpe Ramon this afternoon and settle into the Beresheet Hotel. Tonight, enjoy dinner in the hotel’s Rosemarine Restaurant, which sources ingredients from local farms. (B, L, D)

Carmei Avdat Winery in Israel
Carmei Avdat Winery in Israel

Day 4: Ancient Paths & Modern Vineyards

Depart Tel Aviv early this morning and drive into the Negev desert. En route, visit Avdat National Park, a station along the Nabatean incense route between 37 B.C. and A.D. 70 , now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a tour and taste the wines at the Carmey Avdat winery, a modern-day vineyard on the grounds of a 1,500-year-old agricultural settlement. Learn how its owners have preserved the property’s archaeological remains and ancient terraces to produce wine today. After, break bread in a Bedouin tent. Arrive in Mitzpe Ramon this afternoon and settle into the Beresheet Hotel. Tonight, enjoy dinner in the hotel’s Rosemarine Restaurant, which sources ingredients from local farms. (B, L, D)

Day 5: Cooking in the Crater

Descend by jeep into Makhtesh Ramon, or mortar, named for its resemblance to a grinding mortar. The world’s largest erosion crater measures 24 miles across and is roughly 1,300 feet deep. After your guided jeep tour, join the owner of Lasha Bakery for lunch and an outdoor workshop connecting earth, water, fire, and wind in a unique bread-baking experience that links to the history of the Israelis who journeyed through the desert. Next, visit David Ben-Gurion’s desert tomb overlooking the Zin Canyon and learn why Israel’s first prime minister chose to be buried in the heart of the Negev Desert. As you journey north to Jerusalem, stop at an agricultural research center where you will sample vine-ripened cherry tomatoes and see — and taste — how Israeli innovation has made the desert bloom. Dinner is on your own in Jerusalem this evening. (B, L)

Day 6: Shabbat Hospitality

Explore the many facets of the different quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem this morning on a guided tour. Begin with the Jewish Quarter and a visit to the Western Wall, which once enclosed and supported the Second Temple. After, enter the extraordinary Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which contains two of Christianity’s holiest sites and where multiple denominations share responsibilities and ownership. Next, taste your way through the Arab Quarter with a hummus tour — learning about the importance of hummus in Jewish tradition and during biblical times. This evening, welcome the Sabbath with a home-cooked meal in the home of the legendary Ashkenazi chef and food historian Shmil Holand. Many of his dishes are inspired by his grandmother’s recipes from Eastern Europe. (B, L, D)

Day 6: Shabbat Hospitality

Explore the many facets of the different quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem this morning on a guided tour. Begin with the Jewish Quarter and a visit to the Western Wall, which once enclosed and supported the Second Temple. After, enter the extraordinary Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which contains two of Christianity’s holiest sites and where multiple denominations share responsibilities and ownership. Next, taste your way through the Arab Quarter with a hummus tour — learning about the importance of hummus in Jewish tradition and during biblical times. This evening, welcome the Sabbath with a home-cooked meal in the home of the legendary Ashkenazi chef and food historian Shmil Holand. Many of his dishes are inspired by his grandmother’s recipes from Eastern Europe. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Fortress in Masada and Floating in the Dead Sea

Depart early this morning for the eastern edge of the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea, to the palace complex of Masada. Herod the Great built two palaces on the mountain between 37 and 31 B.C., and the fortress was besieged by Roman soldiers in the first century A.D. This archaeological site offers a superb example of opulent architectural design, elaborately engineered and constructed in extreme conditions. Then take a short drive to Kibbutz Ein Gedi for home-cooked date cakes and tea with several of its residents. Learn about life on the kibbutz and see its botanical gardens and date plantation. Experience the buoyancy of the Dead Sea, one of the most hypersaline water bodies in the world. Return to the city for dinner on your own this evening. (B)

Day 8: A Taste of the Market

After breakfast, drive to Iza Pziza, a family goat farm and dairy, for a cheesemaking workshop and tasting. Next, meet with members of the Ethiopian Jewish community and visit the community farm. Attend a Buna (coffee) ceremony and traditional vegan meal to include spongy injera, a type of flatbread, and savory cabbage, potatoes, carrots and chickpeas with members of the community. Later this afternoon, tour the Mahane Yehuda open-air market, where ancient and modern collide in a kaleidoscope of flavors, aromas, and colors. Tonight, join award-winning cookbook author Adeena Sussman to toast your adventure with a biblically inspired farewell dinner at prize-winning chef, Mitch Basson’s “The Eucalyptus” restaurant, where each dish incorporates spices and herbs that were grown in ancient times in the hills surrounding Jerusalem and Judea. (B, D)

Day 8: A Taste of the Market

After breakfast, drive to Iza Pziza, a family goat farm and dairy, for a cheesemaking workshop and tasting. Next, meet with members of the Ethiopian Jewish community and visit the community farm. Attend a Buna (coffee) ceremony and traditional vegan meal to include spongy injera, a type of flatbread, and savory cabbage, potatoes, carrots and chickpeas with members of the community. Later this afternoon, tour the Mahane Yehuda open-air market, where ancient and modern collide in a kaleidoscope of flavors, aromas, and colors. Tonight, join award-winning cookbook author Adeena Sussman to toast your adventure with a biblically inspired farewell dinner at prize-winning chef, Mitch Basson’s “The Eucalyptus” restaurant, where each dish incorporates spices and herbs that were grown in ancient times in the hills surrounding Jerusalem and Judea. (B, D)

Day 9: Shalom!

After breakfast, transfer to Ben-Gurion International Airport for your individual flights home. (B)

Your Culinary Host

For more information about Joan Nathan, please visit JoanNathan.com.

Joan Nathan

Joan Nathan considers food through the lenses of history, culture, and tradition. She regularly contributes to The New York Times and Tablet Magazine and is the author often award-winning cookbooks. Her publications include cookbook “King Solomon’s Table,” Knopf 2017.

Ms. Nathan was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in French literature and earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University. The mother of three grown children, Daniela, Merissa, and David, Ms. Nathan lives in Washington, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard.

In 1994, Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America won both the James Beard Award and the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award. Eleven years later, these awards were bestowed upon her 2005 cookbook, The New American Cooking. In 2015, Nathan joined the Kitchen Cabinet, an advisory board at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. She was also honored as Grande Dame by Les Dames d’Escoffier International, joining the ranks of those like Alice Waters and Julia Child.

Nathan is an active board member of Martha’s Table, a DC-based nonprofit, which provides comprehensive support to impoverished individuals in both the short-term and long term. Annually she co-chairs Sips and Suppers, an event in which two DC-based organizations, Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen, team up to fight hunger.

Reserve Your Space

1155 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036

Accommodations

Set on Tel Aviv’s marina, this five-star hotel has a rooftop terrace with pool and views of the sea. Rooms have flat-screen televisions and free Wi-Fi.

Beresheet Hotel in Israel

The five-star Beresheet is perched on a cliff on the edge of the Ramon Crater with unparalleled views of the desert landscape below.

Standard room at Inbal Hotel in Israel

Enriched by the capital city’s unique ambience, vibes and spectacular views, the prestigious Inbal Jerusalem Hotel offers a doorway to the city’s grand culture, tradition and history.

What's Included

  • All accommodations and meals with drinks as outlined in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation within the itinerary unless otherwise indicated
  • All sightseeing as specified in the itinerary
  • Comprehensive educational program by professional on-site guides
  • Entrance fees
  • Gratuities to porters, guides, drivers, wait staff in restaurants during group meals, housekeeping at group hotels
  • The assistance of an ATA tour manager
  • Quietvox listening devices to facilitate audibility and social distancing while touring
  • The assistance of an ATA professional travel team to assist with pre-trip questions, travel arrangements, including flights, extra hotel nights and other services
  • Comprehensive pre-departure mailings and materials with information about the destination and what to expect on tour, including a suggested reading list.
  • Emergency evacuation insurance
  • Fully vetted program that meets COVID-19 health and safety protocols

FAQs

Our trips have a maximum group size of 25 people. They are large enough to meet new people with diverse backgrounds, but small enough to be on a first-name basis with everyone.

The safety and security of our travelers and tour staff are of the utmost importance. We have developed extensive policies and procedures for traveling during the pandemic in accordance with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels protocols. We continue to monitor developments regarding COVID-19, using many information sources. All trip participants (including staff) 12 years and older must show proof of having received a full dosage of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the start of the trip. Everyone will be asked to wear face coverings in enclosed/indoor spaces. Motorcoaches will be cleaned nightly, and all restaurants and sites will be screened to ensure that rigorous health and safety protocols are being followed.

Yes, absolutely! There are always a good number of solo travelers on our journeys, and they are welcomed with open arms. Group meals generally take place at medium to large tables, and our Tour Managers ensure that everyone is included in conversation. Because our trips are priced for doubles sharing a room, there is a supplemental cost for those who choose not to share.

Travelers should be in good health and able to walk up to two miles (with stops) over uneven terrain and be able to navigate stairs unassisted. In city centers, we do try to walk from place to place due to traffic restrictions and also in keeping with our commitment to environmental sustainability.

Our trips are designed to give our travelers special insight and understanding of the places we visit. The talks and commentary by our hosts and local guides are what make our itineraries special, and this kind of curated experience cannot be obtained on one’s own. For this reason, our trips generally do not incorporate long periods of free time during the day, although night times and some meals will be at leisure.

Every effort will be made to try to accommodate any special diet requests you may have (e.g., kosher, low salt, vegetarian or vegan). Group meals will be “kosher style” (i.e., no pork or shellfish); however, will not necessarily be kosher. Please discuss your requests with us when signing up for a trip.

Yes, absolutely! If you wish to arrive early at the first hotel on the itinerary or stay on at the last hotel, our Guest Services Advisors will be happy to facilitate the reservation of extra nights. Additional nights will be added to your final invoice and will be subject to the same Terms and Conditions of your main program. Room upgrades are also available for an additional cost.

We’ll send you a detailed clothing and equipment list well before departure so you know what you’ll need. We provide the rest: comfortable accommodations, an engaging daily itinerary, expert trip management and access to people and places that will thrill and delight you.

Yes! Tips to local guides, restaurant staff, bell staff and drivers are all included in the trip price. Your Trip Expert and Tour Manager however, will not accept tips. The only time tips are not included is during free time and meals on your own.

Nonalcoholic beverages are included at all group meals and wine is included in all group dinners.  Any additional alcoholic beverages are not included in the program price.

Airfare to and from the starting and ending point of the program is not included in the price in order to give you maximum flexibility in choosing your preferences for air travel. This way you can use frequent flier upgrades, depart from your airport of choice, or add pre- and post- trip extensions with no constraints. Please refrain from booking your airfare until your Guest Services Advisor reaches out to confirm your departure.

We currently have a flexible booking policy in place that allows you to cancel and receive a full refund up to 60 days prior to your scheduled departure. As always, you have the option to transfer your full deposit to a new departure. There is no refund for cancellations within 60 days of departure.

We strongly suggest purchasing travel insurance to help protect your investment and provide you with financial recourse should you face trip cancellation or interruption due to sickness or quarantine. When purchasing a policy, please consult with a trip insurance agent to review what COVID-19- related contingencies are covered. While ATA will do our best to recover any unused portion of your trip due to sickness, it is often the case that payments cannot be refunded. We recommend using our partner insurance provider, Travel Insurance Services, which offers three different policies for you to choose from.

After you reserve your trip and pay your deposit, you will be sent detailed information about your itinerary and destination, insurance information, a Participant Information Form, a packing list, and other information needed to prepare for your trip. Your Guest Services Advisor will reach out when it’s time to book airfare after a minimum of 10 travelers have enrolled on your departure. Final trip details will be sent roughly 2-3 weeks before departure.

Reserve your space now