Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Finding a tasty bit of icy inspiration in Israel

Israel is a tiny country packed with history and adventure, all euphonically blended with spiritual connections. It’s that one place in the world for Jews, Christians and Muslims that offers up a ready link to an ancient narrative that continues to inform and direct our lives.

So it’s not surprising that I’m most happy when visiting this tiny nation simply walking around, taking in the sights and sounds that often are foreign and discordant, but always alive and exciting. If forced to make a list of the touristy spots not to be missed, I’d have to include such iconic locations as the Old City of Jerusalem; Herod’s fortress at Masada and the spiritually rich village of Sfat; the always lovely city of Haifa and picturesque community of Zichron Yaakov.

Most recently I’ve discovered another spiritual connection, a spot of cosmic import hidden away on one of Tel Aviv’s majestic boulevards. Tel Aviv, of course, is filled with special delights, a happening city that is regularly listed as one of the most tourist-friendly destinations in the world. So it’s really no surprise that along with its beautiful promenade that nestles up cozily to the Mediterranean; its world-class shuk and nearby artist market; its theaters, museums, first-class restaurant, bars and nightclubs that it also offers some of the best gelato on the planet – and, yes, I’m talking ice cream!

If you’re in need of a real spiritual experience, and a sugary high, I strongly suggest the next time you’re in the area that you search out Siciliana, one of the ubiquitous cafes lining Ben Yehudah Street, just a few blocks south of Ben Gurion Boulevard. You really can’t miss it. On a hot summer afternoon, it will be the place with a long line of locals and tourist hanging about. Inside, heaven waits!
In fact, I’m thinking I heard a heavenly choir shout out the first time I stumbled across Siciliana just a few weeks ago. I was in search of something spiritual – gin with a splash of tonic. But once I saw the assortment of goodies on display at the café, I knew I had stumbled across my own little bit of paradise!

For only 19 shekels you can get a whopping large cup of manna that will tantalize your taste buds. When playing around with gelato, I like to keep things simple. So I went with a heavenly helping of whiskey chocolate, nicely paired with a scoop of creamy vanilla. It was divine, an inspired creamy treat that was smooth and tasty.
Of course, I could have opted for the fudge chocolate or crème brulee; strawberry, espresso, or mango delight; bourbon special, cherries jubilee or cookies and cream. I’m thinking you’ll want to give yourself a little time to make the right decision. After all, in this little corner of heaven, the devils in the details.

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