The President has come!
The visit was intense and, like so many events, a lot of preparation for a very short period of time. I will start from the beginning.
It really began on Monday. I woke up in the morning and worked in the dairy again preparing all of the cheeses and yoghurts we would need. Normally, I am greenhouse girl but Devon went to Jerusalem for a couple of days so I took over for her. I LOVE the dairy (like any beech would). It is amazing to make all of the cheeses and see the process from start to finish. The girl who Adi and Ynon have hired to work in the dairy permanently is named Ruth and she is so friendly and a great teacher. (She has a fascinating story which, unfortunately, due to time restraints, I will not go into). I woke up in the morning at 7:00 and started work which was a sleep in actually compared to greenhouse and immediately started to clean and package Tom Cheese. This the hardest, strongest cheese we make. The ones we gave to the president have been drying for around a year! It is similar to parmeasan in texture and taste but has a harder shell. After we finished that, we began to pick and package the other cheeses. We took out tiny camemberts and dipped them in different spices: herb, paprika and saffron. Finally, we picked the Amelie cheese we would use (which is definitely my favorite- it is sort of hard on the outside, soft like melted brie in the inner ring with a semi-soft core- INSANELY GOOD). Afterward, we put it all on trays and picked out the drinking yoghurts (vanilla and almond flavors) as well as the dulce de leche devon and ruth had made last week. Then it was lunch time!
Devon arrived around lunch, the same time as Ynon's brother-Iddai. Iddai writes a food blog in Tel-Aviv and was going to be the chef for the event and he immediately put us to work. From 1-6, we were polishing, cleaning and drying all of the antique serving plates and silver he bought at a market in tel-aviv. After nearly going crazy/ being slightly intoxicated from the wine we were drinking while polishing, it was time to woof down some pasta and start cooking for the event- anything we could do the night before. George, the other volunteer bailed, so Devon and I stayed up with Ynon and Iddai until 11 chopping and cooking. It was so fun. We were all joking around and chopping, mostly making the main dish- Shuk Shuka. Shuk Shuka is a traditional Israeli dish and comes in 3 types: red, green and purple. The colors come from the vegetables used. It is mostly a stew of peppers, tomatoes and onions for the red and spinach, chard and green onion for the green, eggplant and tahina for the purple which cooks for a bit on its own. After a while, you break eggs on top of it and stick it back in the oven so that they can cook on top. It is seriously delicious.
We went to bed and woke up at 6 to start cooking again. What did we make? We made salads-what felt like thousands of them. We made a tomato and herb salad, a lentil salad, a radish and carrot salad, cut raw vegatables with pesto and olive tapenade dips, beet salad, tabouleh- all of it for around 60 people which is the number of individuals that make up a presidential possee. Around 9:30, we went to the goat shed which was where lunch was to take place.
Now, before I go further, you ask: goat shed? Really? For the president? Yes. BUT. Their goat shed is the coolest, cleanest, most beautiful goat shed you can imagine. The goats have TONS of space to move around, everything is open so the wind can move through, it is white and simple architecture. They had rented a wooden table to fit all of the guests with simple, white plates for them to eat on. We set out all of the wine glasses and plates and then began to prepare all of the food. Before we knew it, Hurricane Peres made landfall.
Out of nowhere, SUVS arrived with security to check the place out. They were all talking in their ear pieces, just like the movies, and, about 10 minutes later (not a super strong check out if you ask me) the prez arrived with his crew. I cannot imagine travelling like this. He is constantly surrounded by tons of people and security, doesnt have any space, could barely hold the baby goat he was milking without someone his face. And he is 89, not the most fast moving character ever so he must feel completely suffocated. Iddai showed him how to milk the goats and let him hold the babies. They all sat down for lunch and Iddai told them about the cheeses and yoghurts. Then came us. We served and served and served food, water, desserts, more food, more water, slight break, more food. It was CHAOS. After the fastest 2 hours in your life, they were gone, in the blink of an eye. He signed autographs and sort of talked, but other than, he seemed totally overwhelmed. He left for his scheduled naptime, and all that was left was the dust in his trail.
It was 3 pm by this time, and we were all starving. So we kind of cleared the table but pretty much transformed into vultures and ate the leftovers (which was a ton because we had made enough for a small village). We had a lot of friends come by, not to mention the volunteers, so clean up was fast. We got back to the farm and the family went to relax in the cool, breezy shade and we got to do...MORE DISHES. It wasn't so bad because in the middle of it, we got a new volunteer. Her name is Allison and she is really awesome, jumped in and we were done by 6. LONG DAY but totally worth it because by then the reviews had come in on the newscast, and it was a big hit! Everyone was saying how impressive the spread was and how much everyone enjoyed the visit which was great.
Normally we would do pub night on Tuesdays, but we were all so exhausted that we just drank some wine around the table and relaxed. It has been a crazy week but so much fun. This is my last week at the farm, I leave on Sunday to a new place (which I will write and philosophize on soon) so it was great to take part in such an impressive event. Today-we relax- HAPPILY