Not far from the most sacred places in Jerusalem are exquisite dishes made with biblical ingredients. This means food cooked with artisan methods, using herbs and spices.
The owner of this biblical restaurant is Moshe Basson. He is a Jewish chef from Iraq. He specializes in ancient cuisine of the Middle East. It could be said he is an expert in archaeological gastronomy.
“I love the Bible; I love the Bible. I find connections such as the use of hyssop when Moses is commanding the Israelites. It is when they are leaving Egypt, they are told to take some hyssop with the blood of a lamb to mark their doors with three points. This is so it will be a sign for the angel not to kill these people.”
This passion for Holy Scripture is transmitted through “seven species.” These are seven fruits, mentioned in the Bible that belong to those lands. They are wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. These are ingredients that are included in one way or another in their dishes.
Since 2001, Moshe Basson has been part of an initiative called “Chefs for Peace.” It is a group of around 30 Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim and Christian cooks. They are all convinced that sitting at a table and sharing a good meal can build bridges of peace and dialogue.
“I started using the recipes of my mother and my grandmother, and also other mothers from this region. I belong to a group called ‘Chefs for Peace.’ We are Muslim, Israelites, Jewish and Christians. My teachers have always been mothers. These mothers made food that for me it is all connected to the Bible.”
In his restaurant, “The Eucalyptus,” people from all over the world and all religions sit together. He says that good gastronomy does not know creed, race or nationality.
“Food brings people together. When you eat, you open your mouth. When you open your mouth, you also talk. When there is a separation between people, there will be unhappiness, troubles and problems.”
For this reason, after eating at “The Eucalyptus,” the chef wants his diners not only to be satisfied; but also to take with them the taste of a land capable of welcoming everyone.