My brother just came from the United States a while back. I haven't seen him in 2 years, he greets me, then says let's go to Bandalai. I was like WHAT!! 😂
Bandali is a popular Foul wa Hummus restaurant in old town Ramallah; that’s not only because he was hungry, but usually, when he comes back from the States he craves Palestinian food and plans out his days around eating shawarma, falafel, Musakhan, Mahashi, and whatnot. That’s when I only see my mom in the Kitchen. Food Fiesta!
To us, Palestinians, food is a very important part of our culture, and that is due to us being an agricultural society, which makes our cuisine very rich and diverse due to the varied regions of Palestine. Even when different cities share the same content of the food, it usually tastes different because obviously everyone adds their taste and ingredients that are available in their surroundings.
For example, in Hebron, there are recipes of Qalayet Al Bandoura, a simple tomato stew cooked with animal fat instead of regular olive oil, adding a different flavor to the dish. That was new for me. What about you? (share in the comments below)
Palestine was once a haven for its people. But the drastic changes in socio-economic life due to occupation and Al-Nakba left so many communities struggling to thrive. But the beauty stems from the resilience of our culture which gave us the means to produce and express the richness and strength of its people.
Today I’m excited to share with you a list of handicrafts, made by local artisans for you to use or put in your kitchen
Here is a list of our favorite home & kitchen gift items:
Olivewood Kitchen Bundle
This hand-carved olive wood kitchen utensil set is the perfect gift to your friends who have been newly married, or as a housewarming gift! They will love it.
Moreover, you are gifting a made in Palestine gift, 100% made by the hands of Palestinian artisans. The olive wood they use is from ancient olive trees in Nablus and Jenin.
Usually, each olivewood workshop in Bethlehem specializes in making certain items, and sometimes even parts of an item which are then assembled. So you are lucky to find all of these in one place ready to ship to your address ;)
The kitchen gift set includes:
- Capsule Serving Bowls
- Skinny Spatula
- Slotted Kitchen Spoon
- Lemon Reamer
- Honey Dipper
Ceramic Gift Set
For decades Palestinians excelled at making different handicrafts. Hebron which won the World Craft City Award has been known for making ceramics and clay pots for over 400 years, even dating back to the Canaanites.
For generations, many families in Hebron like Al Natsheh for Ceramics kept the tradition of making ceramics alive, exporting ceramics internationally. But nowadays, due to lack of local support and global competition by Chinese replicas, the number of factories fell from 13 to 5 workshops only.
The designs on the ceramics feature floral and arabesque designs. It’s also good to mention that ceramic pots and dishes are also produced by other makers from Jerusalem and Nablus such as Nisf Jbeil society.
(Collection is only available upon request)
Kitchen Aprons & Tote Bags for your grocery shopping
These folks use a locally produced fabric called Mansoury, sewn by a tailor in Hebron, and printed in Dheisheh Refugee Camp.
They have reusable tote bags and aprons that feature “balady” or heirloom plants as well as traditional Palestinian dishes, designed by Ayed Arafah.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Palestine
This organic Palestinian olive oil is amazing. It's cold pressed and extra virgin. You will taste the difference!
The Jenin extra virgin olive oil is a blend of early harvest and late harvest oil, producing a wide range of flavors. The fresh green grass and bitterness of the early harvest, mixed with the ripe fruit, sweet and buttery finish of late harvest olives, makes for a special and savory olive oil that can be useful for all kinds of cooking and serving food. Use this fine olive oil every day for cooking, drizzling, and dipping.
This oil represents the pride of Jenin’s olive trees. The blend undergoes several pressings, in the same way that the farmers have pressed oil in local villages throughout each season.
Olive Oil Soap
From a family-run soap business in Nablus. The factory has been making this traditional olive oil soap using a secret family recipe for 8 generations (~500 years).
It is a gentle soap that can also be used to hand wash the fabric as well as wash your face or body. They also make a lovely version that adds fresh goat’s milk to the bar.
Many other makers also add flavors to the soap such as honey, chamomile, thyme, lavender, and so on.
These prints are perfect to add a natural tone to your kitchen, and they come in different sizes.
Prints feature Wildflowers of Palestine, originally painted in watercolor by artists Lois Nakhleh and Joan Musgrave.
The art shows the details of Palestine’s small but mighty wildflowers. There are many species of protected orchids and Ophrys flowers that are especially stunning.
All profits from the sale of Wildflowers of Palestine botanical prints are used for wildflower conservation in Palestine.
Palestinian Food recipes
Meanwhile we don't have a cook book to recommend to you yet! We can't say enough about the great content by Wafa Shami who started writing recipes about her mother's food from Palestine, on her blog in 2018. You can go to her blog palestineinadish.com and read her recipes for free.
She also has vegan and vegetarian recipes as well as desserts from Palestine! How amazing is that! 😋
We hope this guide was of benefit to you! Tell us in the comments which is your favorite gift from Palestine? Or get in touch if you have any thoughts or questions
Great article and beautifully written.