If you were to ask me a few weeks ago what I miss most from the US, the answer would be simple: cheese.  We’ve been told that for many years, there were two types of cheese available in Israel, גבינה צהובה (yellow cheese) גבינה לבנה (white cheese, almost like yogurt). The white has some character, but the yellow is industrial and flavorless.  Today’s supermarket cheese here is much more like Kraft American Singles.  There is good Feta and something like creamcheese with little black nigella seeds like in Armenian string cheese, but not much in terms of harder European cheeses.

We’ve now discovered several sources of alternatives:

  • There’s a sort of shuk in the Grand Canyon Mall on Thursday and Friday mornings. One table sells cheeses from Israel’s fledgling artisan cheese scene, made on small farms and kibbutzes, including a local Manchego that’s very good.
  • Suidan, an importer on Haifa’s Allenby St, right across the street from Konditory Allenby, which Sarah has written about. They also have really good salamis. They’ll let you taste anything.
  • Eden Teva, Israel’s answer to Whole Foods, which has a branch in the Krayot–the suburbs northeast of Haifa.  In addition to Cheddar, they also have flour tortillas and locally made salsa.  We can do Mexican!  On our first visit, they were giving out samples of a sharp hard goat cheese with herbs.
  • Pasta Carrolla, which has a restaurant downtown and a shop near us in Ziv, had a stall at the otherwise unimpressive Haifa Farmer’s Market, where we were able to find real Gruyere yesterday.
  • Eat hummus instead.  When in Rome…
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