The Holiday of Shavuot - the Milk in "Milk & Honey"
Posted by Rachel Rose Shalev
Shavuot is the holiday that falls seven weeks after the Passover Seder. Indeed, the word Shavuot in Hebrew means weeks.
There seem to be a few opinions about the true origins of the holiday. Like so many Jewish holidays, there is most certainly an agricultural aspect and celebration of harvest. Over time, the holiday has taken on the celebration of the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai.
In Israel, the agricultural aspect remains a part of the traditions, especially the rich tradition of dairy farming.
Israel is indeed a country flowing with Milk and Honey and both cow and goat milk products takes center stage during Shavuot.
The shelves are filled with everything you need to make a cheese cake. (Don't tell anyone, but I dare say the Israeli versions never compare to a good New York cheese cake with Philadelphia Cream Cheese.)
Lighter fare of blintzes, ice cream, casseroles and quiches all make their seasonal debut, after a winter of hot, hearty foods. The beaches officially open as the weather is getting increasingly hotter.
Watermelon is showing up on every table. Invariably the conversation around a watermelon covers tricks for knowing if it is ripe or if you eat watermelon with Bulgarian cheese or not! (Bulgarian cheese is most likely an Israeli invention but go for Feta if you don't have anything else)
As for knowing if a watermelon is tasty or not, most places in Israel that sell them - including along the side of the fields where they are picked - will cut it and give you a taste before you buy. Such is the produce sellers pride in his watermelon.
As for eating sweet watermelon with salty white cheese, if you have never put them both in your mouth at once, now is the time to try! Once you've tried it, you'll never go back.
Bulgarian cheese resembles Feta, but the process creates a less crumbly cheese that can be cut into cubes. Perfect for a fork full of watermelon and cheese together!
Just to be fair, I could link to an Amazon product that resembles anything I've mentioned above, and eventually you might buy something on Amazon and eventually I might get a few cents. But I take my cheese and watermelon experience too seriously to steer you wrong. Try Feta for lack of anything else. Here is link to the Bulgarian cheese we have in Israel. It must be at the top of your list for things to try when you visit during the warm watermelon months!
** Any images depicted in this blog article are a CCO public domain image)
** The links to Amazon include the author's affiliate id.
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