Apr 192010
 

I am so lucky to live in a small country where I have the opportunity to meet so many interesting people. I especially enjoy meeting people who take pride in their work and make products with love, like Ziv Schwartzman does.

Early in our courtship, Mr. BT invited me to go away on our first weekend trip to the North. He booked a lovely zimmer in a sleepy village, known for its history, called Bat Shlomo, which is not far inland from Zichron Yaakov. Bat Shlomo was founded in 1889 and is one of the earliest Jewish settlements of the modern period. The original village consists of one charming street that contains beautiful stone houses with terracotta tiled roofs; the one above is my dream house.

However, we didn’t  manage to visit Bat Shlomo’s most important attraction during that trip because we were busy visiting other places and friends who lived in the area. It took us eight years before we had a chance to go back during working hours and make up for the missed opportunity.

When you enter the archway to the courtyard of Schwartzman Dairy, you are transported back in time to a period when the early settlers built the country with their hands, and cutting stones and setting them into walls was still backbreaking work.

The family has done a lovely job of decorating the courtyard with old pots, sewing machines, cartwheels, and plows in every nook and cranny.

The store, where you can taste and purchase all of their cheeses on offer, also serves as a museum displaying family photographs from 100 years ago, documents from the Turkish and British era, farm tools, household utensils, and family heirlooms.

The storefront brought a smile to my face and reminded me of the old dry-goods stores that were in most small towns in the United States. Okay, they didn’t sell labane and olives, but still.

Ziv Schwartzman is a third generation cheesemaker, olive grower, and producer of olive oil. He wants you to love his cheese as much as he loves making it, and you can’t help submitting to his enthusiasm, because all of his organic cow and goat cheeses are delicious, have depth of flavour and make you want to take some home, which of course we did.

We left with a bag full of goodies, including delicious labane with herbs, and black raspberry jam.

We also brought home a Tzfatit with herbs, Tomme, and a Chevrotine.  The cheese at the bottom of the picture is an English cheddar with cranberries that we purchased elsewhere.

We also sampled their delicious homegrown olives, olive oil, and jams.

They also sell a variety of spices, pickled vegetables, and bottles of soda pop from days gone by.

You can order a cheese platter and other goodies to eat on the premises and wash it down with their hot cider or if you’re lucky enough you can try their orgasmic malabi with carob and date honey, which Ziv graciously gave us to taste. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of the watery malabi with fake raspberry syrup, and the even worse parve version with fake chocolate syrup and coconut that you find in restaurants; but as Ziv said, “This is not Tel Aviv malabi!”. This, my friends, is the best damn malabi I have ever had and I am sure he will not part with the recipe. It is milky, silky, and not too sweet; the combination of date honey and carob honey is a perfect marriage and I am going back very soon to have another one.

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