Monday, December 9, 2013

Beit Aaronsohn and Zichron Ya'akov

It was an overcast, slightly chilly December day yesterday.  But we had some very important visitors from Toronto so we had to find something interesting to do.  We decided to travel up to Zichron Ya'akov and visit the Beit Aaronsohn museum.  The museum tells the story of the Aaronsohn family - who were involved in setting up a secret spy ring - the "N.I.L.I." group to help the British oust the Turkish Ottomon Empire from its control over what was then Palestine during the World War I time period.  The museum also provides detailed information about the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Turks including copies of original historical documents that chronicled the number of Armenians who were massacred and the locations from which they came.  The Armenian genocide spurred the Aaronsohns to try to help the Jewish people avoid a similar fate at the hands of the Turks.

The museum tour includes a short movie about the history of the Aaronsohn family and then a guided tour through the family home and adjoining buildings.  It was a a moving and worthwhile experience for all of us.

After touring the museum, we took a short walk through the streets of picturesque Zichron.

We then took a short drive over to the Tishbi Winery.  Tishbi has an inviting visitors' centre with an adjoining restaurant, a wine tasting area and a huge selection of chocolate for tasting or for purchase.  The chocolate is Valrhona chocolate, imported from France.  It is quite pricey though Tishbi has a huge selection of many different types made from cocoa beans from all over the world.

The wine itself - well...from what we tasted - it is nothing fantastic.  The medium level wines - the "Estate" series were potable - but certainly not exceptional.  The next level up were the "Reserve" series - at 95 N.I.S.  per bottle - or about $28 Cdn.  While all of these wines are Kosher but generally not Mevushal, we were not particularly impressed by what we tasted.  However, the winery also sells wine from the keg - "fill your own style."  We bought a 2 Litre glass jar and filled with some of the 2012 Cabernet-Shiraz that was available.  We couldn't resist at the bargain price of 16 N.I.S. per litre (roughly $4.70) for drinkable wine and a  nice souvenir bottle.  The wine was certainly not nearly as bad as some of the stuff that I have tasted from Ontario wineries - but it was certainly not Napa Valley Cabernet...Nevertheless, since we were there and it was so cheap, it seemed worthwhile to grab a jug of it.

On our drive back to Ra'anana - which is about an hour away from Tishbi, we passed by one more winery - Binyamina - which I have written about previously.

While I can't say that the Tishbi winery was a huge hit, we did pick up some very tasty chocolate and some of the novelty jars of wine jelly that Tishbi also sells - to go with the 2 litres of plonk.  But Zichron Ya'akov was certainly worthwhile.  So overall, it was a fun and interesting day.

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