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A Historic Bakery in Jaffa Produces Pastry and Peace

8/4/2014 12:13:00 PM

Tags: food heritage, historic preservation, Israel, Meredith Sayles Hughes, Tom Hughes, The Food Museum, New Mexico

Abouelafia BakeryEstablished in 1879 by an Arab-Israeli family, Abouelafia, an iconic bakery in Jaffa near Tel-Aviv, is open all day and all night, and is a place returned to by tourists and residents alike. It clearly has become embedded in the personal food histories of many. As one blog commenter put it,” This is a well known bakery in ancient Yafo (Jaffa), which most people would consider to be a "must". I know this place since I was a child.”  Its bakery specialties are a calzonist-looking treat called sambuska, stuffed with any number of combinations, pita breads, and much more.  A blogger on Herbivoracious described one sambuska as “ filled with silky smooth mashed potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and cheese. Big deal right? When you order it, they put it on the grill for a minute, then cut it open and add a sliced hardboiled egg. The warm, creamy potatoes, the rich egg and cheese, slightly chewy but tender dough, lots of black pepper.”

As important these days as its products, are the food historic bakery’s positive efforts to promote peace. Coincident with the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, its employees are wearing tee-shirts that read in Hebrew,  "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” The bakery, featured in the Facebook page of the same name, is offering the tees free to anyone who comes by.  “We have been around long enough to know that nothing but co-existence is the solution to this conflict!," said one of the bakery managers. 

The blogger at The Travel Affair wrote this a few years ago: “Owned by an Israeli-Arab family and staffed by Jews, Christians, and Moslems, here is a place where people of all religions both literally and metaphorically break bread together every day.”

We would welcome details on the history of this bakery, which thus far is not easily found on the web. For a  2008 BBC News video interview with Said Abulafia, click here.

Photo: Bakery from Avishai Teicher via the PikiWiki - Israel free image collection project. 

 



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