The place for boutique goat cheese and organic olive oil. This dairy farm and restaurant has been the Avrutzki family's project for over 20 years. Started by Amiram Avrutzki, it's now run by his son and daughter.
Look for the sign as you travel down route 85 between Kedarim (Nahal Amud) junction and Hananya (Sheva) junction and - it's on your right if you're going towards Karmiel.
Amiram Avrutzki got into the dairy business "by chance" when a friend asked him if he could look after a goat herd because he was short of space. Drora, his wife, who didn't want to waste the goats milk, started to make cheese from it. At first, she made it in her kitchen by trial and error but this led her to start studying cheese-making seriously and she attended several courses abroad for producing boutique cheese.
Amiram, recognizing the potential in raising goats, started to collect information about the different breeds of goats in other countries. He discovered a breed of Alpine goat which produces 1,000 liters of milk a year as opposed to 140 litres produced by the goats found in Israel. After a long bureaucratic struggle, Amiram got permission to import these Alpine goats from France, and he hasn't looked back since. He has become an expert in his field and exchanges information with other goat breeders around the world.
When we were there, the weather was warm and we enjoyed sitting outside at wooden tables in the middle of the Galilee countryside, but there is also a rustic restaurant if you want to eat inside.
The specialty at Ein Camonim is the all-you-can-eat menu which includes a goat cheese platter of soft and hard cheeses made on the premises, delicious freshly-baked wholemeal rolls, home-made salads, local wine, coffee and dessert. I think we paid around 90 shekels and it was really "all we could eat"!
The restaurant is open 7 days a week. They close the kitchen around 8:00 so if you're thinking of visiting in the evening, I recommend you call to check opening hours or to make a reservation. Their phone number is: 04-698-9680.
The shop next to the restaurant sells various types of boutique cheese, organic olives and cold-pressed olive oil, which they have been producing since 2001. The oil is made from Syrian-type olives which are grown without chemical sprays and the olive groves are far enough away from the industrial areas for the air to be unpolluted.
Other cool places to visit in Upper Galilee:
Hula Nature Reserve - A must-see for nature lovers.
Sfat (Sefad) - Mystical city and home of the Kabbalah.
Tiberias - Tourist centre on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret).
Taiko Tea House - Authentic Japanese Restaurant in romantic setting.
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