After four days in Jerusalem, our next stop was Tel Aviv, city by the sea. Our meeting schedule here was jam-packed. We were all inspired and excited by the companies and people we met, but we were all pretty shattered by the end of the trip. We crammed in an incredible amount in eight days in Israel (plus over 50 hours to get there and back, transit connections are not ideal so be prepared!). There were a few office sandwich and salad meals but we did have some lovely dinners.
One of the people we met was the Mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai. What a character! 18 years on the job and so full of enthusiasm and love for his city, very big on connecting people and creating community, physically and via their “smart city” technology.
For something different, we had a meal at Spoons in Jaffa, run by Hila Solomon, a private dining experience rather than a restaurant. Here we heard from six extraordinary women making a difference in different fields from medicine to law to impact investing, while eating some beautiful home style food. Among them was the leading neuroimmunologist Professor Michal Shwartz, whose work on the brain and immune system could have groundbreaking consequences on diseases like Alzheimer’s.
There was also Sivan Borowich Ya’ari, the founder of Innovation Africa, who, by bringing energy to remote villages, has had transformative impact; for instance many medical clinics could not store basic medicines and children’s vaccines because they did not have refrigeration but could once they had electricity, thus having implications for reduction in illnesses. Energy has also allowed villages to pump water out of the ground, so that children don’t have to spend hours looking for water, and can go to school instead.
This spatchcock dish, with sumac and pomegranate molasses, was a standout. I have asked Hila for the recipe.
And this bread was like a cross between a pita and a pancake. So fluffy!
My whole life I have disliked Turkish Delight, but that is clearly because I have never tried the real thing. On the left is Turkish Delight and quince cubes. On the right is an Israeli milk pudding called malabi; extremely smooth but on its own it does not have a lot of flavour and definitely needs the extras.
Here is lovely warm Hila. She divides her time between Tel Aviv and Sydney, and will be doing private dinners in Sydney later this year.
I thought it was fitting that after a dinner with nearly 50 women, a man did the washing up!
Between meetings one day, we did a super quick stop at Caesarea (“2000 years of history in five minutes”, joked our guide), a town built by Herod the Great. There is a lot to see and explore in this sea side town, but we only had time to stop at the amphitheatre, which is now used for very select artist performances.
As I mentioned in my post on Jerusalem, I’ve written about the business aspects of this trip separately, but I will mention one company here because I really like the potential global impact of what they are doing, and, it is food related! TIPA are making compostable food grade packaging. All those sandwich bags, cracker packets and so on, instead of taking 500 years to decompose, take six months in the TIPA product version. The founder, Daphna Nissenbaum, founded it after getting frustrated by the amount of plastic waste simply arising from her children’s lunchboxes every day. Here’s a (crushed from my suitcase) sandwich bag I bought home.
Now, a lot of us talk the talk on plastic waste, but will we as consumers walk it and actually pay extra for these kind of products? At the moment, having not achieved scale and manufactured in Germany, the products are more expensive than your 500-years-to-go-away stuff. So let’s see.
We had a couple of meals at Jaffa Port, a seaside port in the Old City of Jaffa, where there are a number of restaurants, cafes, and a few shops. It’s a pretty stretch.
One of the meals was at The Old Man and The Sea, which gave the ultimate opportunity for a flat lay shot!
We stopped in at this bar afterwards, not sure what the deal was with the camel’s head.
Do also go to the Carmel Markets, full of wonderful food, and the neighbouring craft market.
There are also some pretty boutiques and cafes around the upmarket area of Neve Zedek. We passed a real estate agent and nearly keeled over at some of the apartment and house prices.
One evening we had a meal at the home of a local Muslim woman as part of the Mama program. By catering for a meal for a group of women, it provides a form economic empowerment. Her home garden was a fertile surbuban oasis full of colour. While here we heard from the extraordinary Dr Orna Berry, who was Israel’s first female Chief Scientist, and was the first sale of an Israeli startup to a large foreign company, in her case to Seimens.
We also went to the Charles Bronfam Auditorium for a performance of The Marriage of Figaro by the Israel Philharmonic
I think we saved the best till last with a meal at Kimmel Restaurant. The food here was just fantastic, my favourite of the trip. Though the staff told me that the restaurant was closing at the end of June after 25 years, what a shame! However the chef does have two other restaurants, one of which is called Blue Rooster. I have gotten in contact and asked for a couple of the recipes, see how we go.
During the meal we heard from Emi Palmour, the Director General of the Department of Justice, who is absolutely awesome. What she has done in the department in terms of achieving diversity and inclusion deserves applause. She has built a department that is not only diverse from a gender perspective, but also diverse in its ethnic minority groups, age, and disability. There has got to be benefits in a justice department that better reflects the society it is serving.
A few other random Tel Aviv snaps below!