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  • Israeli haute cuisine hits its stride

    OCCIDENTAL, Calif., June 19 (JTA) — Few tourists head to the Holy Land with haute cuisine in mind, but those who still think that “Gourmet Israel” is an oxymoron will be pleasantly surprised. “During my previous visit in 1993, the fancy food was stodgy — meaning French — and not very interesting,” says John Kessler,…

  • The making of kosher wine

    OCCIDENTAL, Calif., June 19 (JTA) — Grapes are the only fruit from which sacramental wine can be derived, so Judaism treats the fruit of the vine with special reverence. Whenever wine is on the table, a prayer is offered. The codification of kosher wine, which began in the days of Maimonides, girded it with strict…

  • Israeli wines hit the big time

    OCCIDENTAL, Calif., June 19 (JTA) — For decades, wine culture in Israel was synonymous with the cloying treacle sipped during Pesach: Children loved the stuff, connoisseurs winced. But in recent years, dozens of new vineyards have emerged, restaurants are serving a wider range of wines and wine-tasting classes are all the rage. While average Israelis…