Ramada Olivie Nazareth hotel serves peaceful culinary weekends

Returning to the Nazareth Ramada Hotel is always a pleasure. Far from the madding crowds, with rooms facing the beautiful historic old city, the lovely hotel offers its guests comfort and elegance at reasonable prices. This summer, celebrating coexistence, the hotel also invites guests to especially flavorful culinary weekends, mixing […]

Returning to the Nazareth Ramada Hotel is always a pleasure. Far from the madding crowds, with rooms facing the beautiful historic old city, the lovely hotel offers its guests comfort and elegance at reasonable prices. This summer, celebrating coexistence, the hotel also invites guests to especially flavorful culinary weekends, mixing the traditional with the contemporary and the Arab cuisine with the new Israeli one.

To celebrate coexistence, after a difficult year, the hotel invited celebrated chef Einav Azgouri from Tel Aviv to cook with the hotel’s own amazing chef, Rami Abu Lil, and the results were absolutely delicious. Combining traditional Nazareth cuisine with more modern contemporary cuisine, the two presented their magic at the weekend’s opening dinner.

One after the other, numerous salads and starters were served to our table – and we had to stop ourselves from eating too much (we couldn’t). Too full, we nevertheless continued with an array of main dishes including fish and meat dishes, grilled, baked and fried – too many to mention; they were all fantastic and innovative. One I particularly loved was ground meat spiced with traditional Arab spices and rolled tortilla style in thin pita. Wonderful idea for finger food. I made a mental note. There were the obvious suspects, such as kubeh and tabuleh (herb and wheat salad) but the presentation was different.

Desserts were served in a rich buffet, as one expects, but the highlight we all waited for was the Knafeh Crepe Flambé, Azgouri is famous for. A perfect example of combining the French cuisine with local flavors. Genius.
 Breakfast display (credit: AFIK GABAY) Breakfast display (credit: AFIK GABAY)

Both chefs walked around the dining room stopping to talk to guests and explain the dishes, talking about their inspiration and most of all of the mutual pleasure they derived from working together to create new and exciting dishes. “I was excited to learn traditional techniques of the celebrated Nazareth cuisine,” said Azgouri, “while Rami wanted to try new techniques and more fashionable dishes,” he confided.

The next morning started with the most amazing buffet breakfast you can imagine. Think the Israeli breakfast served in our hotels is rich? Wait until you taste the breakfast at the Nazareth Ramada Olivie. Rami and his fantastic team were there (do they ever sleep?) to fulfil every request, from delicious pastries (try the croissant – this one is one of the best in Israel), to local ones such as semolina cakes and filled pastries, burekas, katayef and more.

The cheese offerings, egg dishes and numerous salads are too many to mention and service is, as always, very attentive. One word of warning – do not leave your plate unattended for too long – the waiters here will clear it from under your nose.

The weekend continued with a wine-tasting workshop with the knowledgeable and charming wine journalist Mira Eitan, who, together with winemaker Assaf Paz, presented the wonderful wines from Vitkin Winery, explaining and answering questions. Everyone around the table was having fun and many rushed to order cases of the wines we tasted.

More fun was during another workshop – this time chef and food photographer Gil Aviram (follow him on Instagram), who disclosed the secrets of taking a great food photo like the pros.

Other workshops included a tour of “behind the scenes” of the hotel’s kitchens and learning to make local delicacies with the hotel’s master cooks.

Friday night dinner at the Ramada Olivie is always a grand celebration. Again the variety is endless and the traditional dishes play the major role, with a whole roasted lamb making an entrance sometime in the middle of it – do not fill up before it arrives or you’ll be sorry.

After dinner, guests are invited to the rooftop bar where famous Arab pastries and sweets are served with coffee and drinks while a beautiful belly dancer entertains the crowd.

The next morning, after yet another great breakfast, we were all invited to partake in a tour of the market with culinary expert and tour guide David Kichka who showed us all the hidden corners and secrets of the market.

The Ramada Olivie Nazareth plans to hold more culinary weekends in the coming months, focusing on different aspects of the Galilee cuisine. All weekends will include culinary tours of the old market, workshops, rich meals and more.

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