Mahane Yehuda Market is a visual feast for the senses and a must visit during a trip to Jerusalem. I had a couple of really different experiences within the market during my trip. From participating in a scavenger hunt through the market with Israel Scaventure to taking a private tour with a famous Israeli chef through the market.
Both activities were filled with trying new foods, taking more photos than I should probably admit and savoring being in this beautiful market.
Walking through the market with Chef Tali Friedman was a dream come true. Tali is a world renowned chef known as L’Atelie Tali Friedman. She guided us through the stalls showing us what was in season, explaining the layout of the market and teaching us about Israeli customs and traditions.
One of my favorite stops on the tour was the cheesemonger shop. This was a cheese lovers dream come true. They truly have every shape, size, and flavor of cheese you can imagine and many you would never dream of. I could have happily spent hours tasting cheeses and talking with the staff. They fly to Europe multiple times a month to procure the best cheeses for the shop.
Trust me you need to head to this cheese monger and try the truffle cheese and truffle butter! It is pretty darn life changing.
Another favorite from the market was the tea made with dried fruit and herbs. I am going to admit that I bought more tea than I can probably drink in the next tea and would do it again in a second. There were so many amazing flavors of tea available from caramel apple to fruity blends.
I loved learning that 99% of the fruits and vegetables in the market are grown within Israel. The fruits and vegetables are all seasonal and customers countdown to their favorite times of the year. While I was there the garlic was starting to hit the market and everyone was loading up on armfuls of garlic.
Chef Tali told me that by waiting for produce to be in season it heightens your joy in cooking that produce. You appreciate the food even more because you had to wait.
You will notice that there are no garbage cans in the market. You can drop any tasting remnants to the floor and someone comes by and sweeps the market every seven minutes.
Locals shop the market daily to get the freshest produce for their families.
For a totally different experience during the market, I suggest participating in a Shuk Dash with Israel Scaventure
You can participate as a family or as a group of travelers. You get a set of challenges and are sent into the market to complete them. This was so much fun! We found ourselves giggling as we tried to find crazy foods in the market, take a picture with certain fishmongers, and so much more!
I must admit that I kept getting distracted in the market by the amazing art and produce to photograph. My poor team kept having to remind me that it was a competition and I needed to pay attention. Though we were in competition with some native Jerusalem residents and Israeli residents so they did have a bit of an advantage.
Whatever you do make sure you visit Mahane Yehuda Market during your time in Jerusalem! You will find yourself in awe of all of the amazing produce, great people and atmosphere of the market.