Matana boxes contain products from various regions of Israel, including jams, sauces, teas, olives and vinegars. Matana boxes contain products from various regions of Israel, including jams, sauces, teas, olives and vinegars. Matana boxes contain products from various regions of Israel, including jams, sauces, teas, olives and vinegars. (Photo: Courtesy of Matana)

Israeli food subscription box is perfect gift for your foodie friends

Matana’s monthly delivery of artisanal Israeli products contains a personalized postcard that tells the story of one of the vendors.

If you’ve got a foodie or someone who loves Israeli cuisine on your gift list, Emily Berg is here to help. The Canadian-Israeli just launched a new subscription box service of artisanal products featuring some of the finest sauces, condiments and gourmet foods Israel has to offer. It’s called Matana – the Hebrew word for gift.

Berg always knew that there was a huge variety of Israeli products that would interest consumers around the world, but there was no easy way to access them. After living in Israel for several years and getting to know some of the most passionate and skilled producers and farmers, she set out to bridge that gap and offer a unique way for people to experience some of the finest and most exotic tastes of Israel.

Founder Emily Berg of Matana. Founder Emily Berg of Matana. (Photo: Courtesy of Matana)

Matana boxes contain products from various regions of Israel, including jams, sauces, teas, olives, vinegars, and a sampling of non-food items such as cosmetics and handwoven baskets. A typical box may contain a jar of stone-milled tahini, halva-flavored almond butter, merlot- and garlic-infused Dead Sea cooking salts, date honey, and za’atar pesto. Also in each gift box is a personalized postcard that tells the story of one of the vendors, creating a meaningful bond between manufacturer and consumer.

An example of a Matana box. A typical box may contain a jar of stone-milled tahini, halva-flavored almond butter, merlot- and garlic-infused Dead Sea cooking salts, date honey, and za’atar pesto. (Photo: Courtesy of Matana)

Berg, who grew up in Toronto, is fascinated by the fusion food in Israel that combines the flavors of so many countries – Ethiopia, India, Yemen, Iraq, Morocco, Russia and Turkey, to name just a few. She’s also passionate about social justice, and seeks out products that support peaceful coexistence, and are produced by family-run businesses, small enterprises and nonprofit organizations.

“We are curators and storytellers, exploring the land in search of hidden treasures to share them with the world,” is Matana’s creed. “Our mission is to give Israeli artisans a global stage to showcase their products.”

Garlic-infused Dead Sea cooking salts from Matana. Garlic-infused Dead Sea cooking salts from Matana. (Photo: Courtesy of Matana)

The service was originally called Blue Box, but about a year after launching Berg was asked by a major corporation to change the name of the company. She rebranded, renamed and relaunched Matana in 2017, gave birth to a baby girl several months later, and proceeded to automate and update her process to be able to ship out several hundred boxes each month.

“We ship to every country in the world,” says Berg. “Most of our customers are in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Netherlands, and Germany. We also have a lot of Israeli customers who send Matana boxes to family and friends abroad.”

A box is delivered to your doorstep once a month. A box is delivered to your doorstep once a month. (Photo: Courtesy of Matana)

“These boxes are the portal to a very beautiful and nuanced country,” says Berg. She has formed a close relationship with many of the producers, including Rish Lakish, a family-run farm in northern Israel. “They own a few acres of ancient olive groves,” she explains, “and the oil is made using a high-quality, cold-pressed method using a machine housed in an eco-friendly mud hut that the family built themselves.” Rish Lakish’s production is entirely sustainable, including feeding the mulch (leaves and crushed pits from the oil) to their neighbor’s cows. Some of the featured olive products are from 800-year-old olive trees in the Galilee.

For a foodie like me, knowing the foods I’m enjoying have such a rich history takes the culinary experience to a new level. And receiving a box of new and exciting high-quality Israeli treats each month? That’s something everyone on your gift list can appreciate.

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Israeli food subscription box is perfect gift for your foodie friends
Matana’s monthly delivery of artisanal Israeli products contains a personalized postcard that tells the story of one of the vendors.