It is near impossible not to drool while writing about (and reading about) the Village Flavors (Ta’am Ha’Kfar) Festival set to take place in the Druze town of Julis on September 27.
Phyllo pastry sheets, pistachios, stuffed vine leaves, wheat grains, sweet butter, tahini, home-pickled olives, garden-grown produce, and spices galore will take center stage at the one-day gastronomic event.
But it’s not just a celebration of food. Village Flavors is a cross between a regular food fair and an “open houses” event.
“It’s authentic Druze food from our homes,” Adnan Kvishi, festival organizer, tells ISRAEL21c. “You won’t find hot dogs, schnitzel or falafel at this festival. It’s our traditional foods with home-grown apples, pomegranates, etc. Not junk food.”
Druze cuisine is hailed for its special blends of spices. Whereas “each savta [grandmother] has her own way of mixing spices,” all secrets from the kitchen are put on the table during this event, says Kvishi.
Visitors can take part in cooking workshops and learn how to make muchmar, majadara, stuffed vegetables, vine leaves, makluba, kabasi and a whole range of other delicious dishes. Kvishi says the Druze women of the village will also impart the order in which spices should be added to dishes.
For the sweet-tooth folk among us, the Village Flavors festival includes a knafeh stand that will offer different varieties of this cheese pastry soaked in syrup according to each region’s traditions. “There will be Nablus knafeh vs. Nazareth knafeh, Syrian knafeh and Jerusalem knafeh,” says Kvishi.
And while food definitely takes the focus at this third annual event, the festival also includes storytelling sessions, free entry to the Druze Heritage Museum, concerts and free guided tours along the alleyways of the village. The day will also include a traditional debka dance performance.
Kvishi says he expects 1,000 visitors to attend this year’s event.
And if you’re already in town, Julis has one of the country’s most romantic spots: El Mona Gardens, boasting a waterfall, trees, flowers, mosaics artwork, wooden and stone sculptures. This is one of the top sites for pre-wedding photography among residents of the north, be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Druze.
Festival-goers must call ahead: Adnan Kvishi, 054-789-0557.