It appears to me that Israel is the sesame capital of the world.

In America, we’ve got the classic sesame seed bun…but that’s about it. Israel’s got sesame on their challahs, in their desserts and on their street food. It’s everywhere.

Which brings me to the topic of tahini. I dare you to try pronouncing this world in Hebrew because it’s virtually impossible. A (poor) transliteration would be something like tchina. Imagine pronouncing the t and guttural ch one after the other (#linguistics).

Better yet, try it out loud. Make your friends try it. Laugh when you all fail.

I don’t know why this place was ever called the land of milk and honey, because it definitely should have been called the land of milk and tahini.


Photo by Kirby Kelly

Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds and olive oil. While some people claim it has the consistency of peanut butter, I like to think it’s more comparable to cookie butter or Nutella (probably because I’m thinking about dessert 100% of the time).

It’s creamy, oily, bitter, nutty and smooth, so many people use tahini like a nut butter.

However, in Israel you’ll find it:

As a Salad Dressing

Forget the vinaigrette and try tahini instead.

On Top of Falafel, Sabich, Shwarma, Eggplant, Everything Else

Tahini = magic sauce. It tastes amazing on literally anything and everything.

As a Dip for Pita and Veggies

It’s almost better than hummus.

In Baba Ganoush

Because it’s impossible to escape the eggplant in Israel.

As a Main Ingredient of Hummus

#dinneathome #hummus #humusaddiction #dinner#healthychoices

A photo posted by Ausra Gorodeckaite (@alacka) on


In Cookies, Ice Creams and Desserts

אופס… נעלמה לה עוגיה ?

A photo posted by Raheli Krut (@raheli) on

Like seriously, so good. Try making some at home.

In Halva

Halva for days #carmelmarket #telaviv #israel #backpacking #foodporn #nom #wanderlust #travel #halva #middleeast

A photo posted by Laura (@the_traveling_gypsy) on

Halva is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever tasted. Though it’s a dessert typically made from tahini and sugar, it’s not exactly sweet but it’s not entirely savory. Halva has the nutty taste of sesame but often has other mix-ins, like cookie crumbles or nuts.

It’s kind of like the Israeli version of fudge. There’s classic halva, vanilla halva, halva with cocoa, halva with nuts, etc. It’s created in large bricks and cut into slices like fudge, but it’s stringy when you pull it apart.

The best donut from inside a car wash. @underwestdonuts #tbt #nyc #halva

A photo posted by Ian (@ian.freeze) on

The consistency of halva is what I think makes it most bizarre. It’s dense but crumbly. There’s a strange grittiness to it but it’s also soft and malleable.

Next time you’re making pancakes, vegetables, nice cream (or pretty much anything else), try adding a halva drizzle. You can also use it in replacement of nut butters or cookie butter in various recipes.