• Michal Ben-ari Manor

Efrat Moskovitch - Taste of the Golan

Culinary tours and food baskets of the Druze Cuisine

The catering and hospitality industries severely affected by the economic consequences of the COVID-19.

But it was only a matter of time before entrepreneurs from these sectors recognized the potential, thought a little out of the box and came up with alternative and creative ideas in order to keep their heads above the water.

One of the solutions is kits or baskets full of local goodies. Phood Kitchen from Eindhoven, for instance, made such a basket in the first wave.

Efrat Moskovitch is a culinary tour guide from the Golan Heights, who focuses on the Druze villages in the Golan. During Corona’s lockdowns, she decided to bring the special flavors of the Golan with unique baskets, which also contribute to society.

Culinary tours and food baskets

What is your background?

I am a graphic designer and an independent studio owner, I have always been attracted to work with designs in the field of food and tourism, I have started a blog called 'How to impress your mother-in-law' where I photograph and write about food and life. And, not surprisingly, I continued to guide culinary tours and deliveries of delicacies baskets.

When did you start guiding culinary tours?

About a year and a half ago, as part of collaborations with a group of food bloggers, I invited them to visit the Golan and myself. I organized a day tour for them in the Golan with an emphasis on culinary and it was very successful. I decided to leverage the success of a new project in the Golan - food tours focusing on the Druze villages and Druze cuisine, which include cherries and apples from the orchard, stuffed grape leaves, pateir, kataif and knafah and many more.

We are neighbors, we live together and we work together and I am fascinated by their culture and food—that’s why I decided to build a tour that shows people the wonders of the Druze cuisine in my area.

What makes your tours special?

The Druze villages in the Golan are a unique microcosm. Due to the long-standing affinity for Syria, we experience on tours Damascus culinary richness, powerful stories of local women, and know a culture unparalleled in the country. I always said, and in Corona even more than ever, that it is as close to a visit abroad as possible.

Druze Culinary tours and food baskets

How did the corona affect your business?

In the year of the Corona, the tours were canceled and my main activity was to return advances... When I realized that the Corona is not going to disappear I quickly built my new product, the Delicacies Baskets.

Tell me more about this idea:

We all noticed that delicacies and food deliveries flourish during the Corona period and I wanted to do that too, but in a different way. It was important to me not to repeat things that are done elsewhere, that my basket would have a special value of its own.

In my search for a special package, I found the shopping basket woven with colored cotton ribbons, produced by disabled people, Druze, Jews and Arabs, at the Kochav Hatzafon Association's centers in the Galilee and the Golan Heights. As a foster mother of a girl with Down Syndrome I knew that bingo, these are my baskets, they combine social contribution, multi-sectoral integration, and they are so beautiful and romantic for my personal taste.

Inside the baskets I collect boutique products from quality Golan's manufacturers, so the basket is very rich, both what is inside the jar and the jar itself.

Druze Culinary tours and food baskets

What are the challenges you face with?

The challenges are the shipping, since the shipping companies in the periphery do not work every day and the shipments are handled carelessly, so I found a private driver.

Gathering the delicacies requires trips of tens of kilometers to reach producers at all ends of the Golan Heights, so I choose only delicacies that are preserved for a long time.

Another challenge is the limited amount of braided baskets, which are made by hand, at the pace of the members with disabilities.

However, the reactions are flattering and encouraging, as in the tours, so also in the baskets, I look back and do not understand why they did not actually do it before in the Golan.

Buying the basket is a contribution to the rehabilitative employment of workers with disabilities. The baskets themselves and all the products are made by hand, with lots of love, made in very small and boutique series. They are the fruit of my collection and search, to bring a fine Golan's extract that varies according to the season.

What are your dreams for 2021?

I am writing a drama film, the story of which takes place in the Golan. I won a script development grant from the Galilee Film Fund, and the dream for the coming year is to finish the first draft and find a production company.

Druze Culinary tours and food baskets