Tourist Tip #164 / Savta Gamila's Home-made Soap

For more than three decades, Savta Gamila has been making soap with her secret recipe. You can visit her store up north and, if you're lucky, share a cup of tea with the gifted granny herself.

Plenty of people out there swear by their grandmas' home remedies, whether they're as tasty and universal as chicken soup or as unappetizing as the egg, milk and honey concoction called gogel-mogel that some of us were forced to consume. Then there's Savta Gamila, who makes soap.

Born and raised in the predominantly Druze village of Peki'in, Savta Gamila ('savta' is Hebrew for grandmother) began collecting herbs from the surrounding environment and combining them with olive oil to create soaps, creams and other beauty products more than 30 years ago. Over time, her goods have attracted legions of devotees in Israel and are sold across the country. Several years ago, she was "discovered" by an investor and now her products can be found in 22 other countries.

If you happen to be up north near Peki'in (or Buqe'ia in Arabic), you can visit Savta Gamila's store and visitor's center, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with the granny herself and learn more about her life and her products.

A short video at the entrance tells the story of how Gamila got started in the beauty biz and offers a glimpse of the production process at the brand's factory in the Tefen industrial park. You can test the 100-percent-natural products, and buy some soap, which contains more than 670 active ingredients and comes in rose, verbena, lavender and mint fragrances, among others.

Just don't expect her to share the tightly guarded formula for her soap – it's about as top secret as the original recipe for Coca-Cola.

The store is open daily from 8 A.M. – 6 P.M.; demonstrations of how the herbs are distilled and soaps are made must be arranged in advance.

For directions, it's best to call 04-9920197

For a factory tour in Tefen, call 04-9567035

http://www.gamilasecret.com

Eyal Toueg
Wikipedia