Tu B’shvat Higiyaaaaaa, chag la’ilanot… and we are celebrating with this adorable cheese board featuring (almost) all of the seven species of the land of Israel.
On Tu B’shvat, the new year for the trees, we celebrate all the fruits of Israel and specifically the Shivat Haminim, seven species. In Israel the custom is to eat dried fruits and make the blessings on each one. I wanted to create a board that highlights these specific fruits and grains, and not only the classic dried fruit.
Below I describe what I used and how you can Crete your own Tu B’shvat board.
What is Tu B’Shvat?
Tu B’shvat is the new year for the trees, today all over the world it is celebrated as Jewish “earth day” but in Israel it has practical, halachic implications.
The fruit trees that grow in Israel have laws that we must follow. For example, we are not allowed to eat fruit from the tree in the first 3 years of the trees life. These years are marked by Tu B’Shvat.
It is a custom in Israel to hold a Tu B’shvat Seder where we bless each fruit and meditate on the deeper Kabalistic meanings attributed to the fruit. Read more about this here.
What are the seven species?
The Torah describes Israel with this pasuk:
“For the L‑rd your G‑d is bringing you to a good land, a land with brooks of water . . . a land of wheat and barley, [grape] vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil-producing olives and honey [from dates] . . .”
- Honey (Dates)
Making a Tu B’Shvat Cheese Board
You can make a Tu B’Shvat board with any fruit and dried fruits that you can get. I wanted mine to be specific to the Shivat Haminim. Here I describe what I used for each, but feel free to be creative and use whatever you like!
I wanted to use crackers for wheat since they go perfectly with cheese and fruit 🙂 I used the famous crackers from Pat BaMelach since they are the best! I went with the beet and garlic flavors.
This one was challenging… I actually couldn’t find anything I wanted to add with barley – so I decided to use the dried stalks of barley as decoration. But you can use beer or black beer, or our family favorite barley soup to represent.
Since grapes aren’t in season in Israel in the winter, we usually eat raisins on Tu B’Shvat. I strongly dislike raisins in any form, but some of my family members love “raisonettes” or chocolate covered raisins, so those are the ones I included in the Tu B’shvat board as well as regular raisins.
I found fresh and dried figs in the shops so I added both.
Even though my pomegranate tree won’t be growing fruit until the end of the summer I found some fresh fruit in the store. I included pomegranate seeds in a small bowl on my board.
I used my sons favorite green olives for the board and I even found some with the leaves still attached which I loved!
The Torah says the word dvash which refers to date honey or silan but in modern Hebrew dvash means honey. So I decided to include both dates and honey on my Tu B’shvat board 😉
Not one of the seven species, but something I love and I think it goes great with crackers and fruit! Feel free to leave out the cheese if you prefer, or to use cheeses you like. I used Manchengo and Camembert.
Your Tu B’Shvat Board
I love when you make my recipes and are inspired by my ideas. I can’t wait to see what Tu B’Shvat boards you come up with! Please share photos of your boards on Instagram and tag me so that I can see them too!