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Israel’s Answer To Hot Chocolate–“Sachlav”

A True Taste of Israel--Sachlav

The stormy weather that  has recently showed up in Israel makes every living soul want to curl up under the covers and just watch the rain coming down, preferably holding a hot cup of choco in their hands. While I fully support this as a valid and reasonable option, sometimes taking the brave decision of leaving the house in this stormy season can really pay off.

Israeli winters are famous for their sachlav which is basically, Israel’s answer to hot chocolate. This sweet, thick and creamy drink made from ground orchid bulbs can be found all over the place during  the winter and is the perfect way to warm up when it gets chilly outside. We’ve got the inside scoop on the delicious drinks that will warm your soul this winter.

 

restore your sould drink sachlav

 

From Istanbul To Tel Aviv

Sachlav is central to a few different cultures: Israelis call it sachlav (pronounced “sock-lahv”), Turks call it salep, and Lebanese call it sahleb. The beverage has been consumed in the region since the Roman ages, and when it’s made with actual orchids, it’s considered an aphrodisiac. Thanks to trade routes and colonialism, it even made its way briefly to Europe and the Americans, although it was quickly eclipsed there by tea, coffee, and hot cocoa. In the Middle East, however, it remains utterly beloved.

In Tel Aviv, sachlav holds almost mythical status, appearing on menus only when the mercury drops in December and vanishing just as quickly as the warm weather returns in the early spring. Bid farewell to winter and step out for a warm mug of Israel’s best.

 

Sachlav--Its your Israel

 

Everyone has a comfort food for cold winter days. I discovered mine soon after moving to Israel.On one of my first winter trips to the local shuk in Jerusalem I noticed large metallic urns from which merchants were serving a thick aromatic drink.

After pouring a cup of a mysterious steaming thick white liquid the merchant sprinkled some cinnamon. crushed walnuts and dried coconut over it and sent me on my way.

It was then that my love affair with the ever elusive sachlav started.

I have spent hours and hours over years trying to find the best cup of sachlav. Most places will serve you milk, thickened with cornstarch and flavored with rose water and a few spices.

 

the real deal--homemade sachlav

 

Best Places To Get Your Sachlav On

The best place to warm up on a cold Jerusalem day or night with a fresh sachlav is at the Mahane Yehuda market. While there are plenty of options to choose from, Mifgash HaSheikh, which is full of personality, is famous for its sachlav.
Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem

Malabi Dajani (Sderot Yerushalayim 94) is a no-frills dessert shop in the oldest and most southern tip of Tel Aviv. The Levi family has been whipping up perfect sachlav and its sweet after-dinner cousin malabi, a rosewater-scented dessert, for 60 years.

Aroma (Jabotinsky 7) is the ubiquitous Israeli coffee chain with many locations throughout the city. This location in Ramat Gan is just a short walk from the Hotel Indigo

Tel Aviv – Diamond District. Here, the thick and creamy sachlav is garnished with coconut, walnuts, and cinnamon and served in a big glass mug. It’s just perfect for warming your cold hands.

 

sachlav is garnished with coconut, walnuts, and cinnamon

 

Can’t Get to Israel This Winter? Bring Israel to You!

Here is a simple yet delectable make your own sachlav recipe. Like a comfy pair of slippers, sachlav is a creamy drink thickened by ground orchid bulbs (our recipe is thickened with rice flour or cornstarch) and scented with vanilla and rose water.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour or cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon rose water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Garnishes: shredded coconut, ground cinnamon, finely chopped pistachios, finely chopped walnuts, raisins, dried cherries, chopped dried figs, chopped dates, cacao nibs
  • 3 cups almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour or cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon rose water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Garnishes: shredded coconut, ground cinnamon, finely chopped pistachios, finely chopped walnuts, raisins, dried cherries, chopped dried figs, chopped dates, cacao nibs

 

Bring A Taste of Israel To Your Home

 

Preparation

  1. Simmer almond milk, sugar, vanilla bean, rice flour, rose water, and sea salt in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly until hot and very thick, about 3 minutes. .
  2. Serve in mugs and let everyone garnish and top as they prefer.

 

I really enjoyed sharing my favorite places to escape the winter weather. Relax, catch up and just enjoy the homey feeling of that perfect homey feeling, that you have been craving since you arrived.

Let me know how these cafes rank with what your used to at home.

For more places to enjoy Israel’s winter wonderland check out:

Chase Away Winter Chills With A Bowl of Israeli Soup

“Missing Coffee: Don’t Stress”

Delightful DIY Tu’Beshvat Chocolate Lollipops

 

 

Beth Zuckerman
Beth Zuckerman
Beth is a former Upper Westsider, who made aliyah 8 years ago. She is a coffee addict and a lover of classical rock. Beth is the content and marketing manager at talknsave, in that order.

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