Israel can get mighty chilly during the winter months, and if you’re out and about in the nippy air and want to warm up without the buzz of coffee, consider ordering a serving of “sachlav,” “a milky, orchid-based drink” beloved by Israelis.
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Pronounced SACH-lahv and also known by its Arabic name “sachleb," this sweet, piping-hot concoction's name appropriately means "orchid," since it is traditionally thickened with a ground meal of orchid tubers. In many restaurants and cafes today, cornstarch is used in place of orchid powder.
The thickening agent, be it made of corn or flower, is added to a delicious mixture of boiling milk, sugar and vanilla and whisked into a gloppy frenzy. Rosewater or orange blossom is added to the drink for both fragrance and scent, and many purveyors top it off with coconut, raisins, nuts and cinnamon.
Buyer beware: As its heavy consistency suggests, Sachlav is as filling as it is sweet, especially if you order it with all the toppings. But with no caffeine and plenty of body-warming goodness, it’s great to drink on the go during a rainy, windy day of sightseeing.