Love & the Fruit of the Vine

A good grape harvest in mid-summer was cause for celebration in ancient Israel, promising an abundance of fruit to make wine, raisins, and syrup for the coming year as well as vine leaves to be brined and stuffed with meat, vegetables, and rice.

Because the harvest began on the 15th of Av (the fifth month in the Jewish lunar calendar), the celebratory holiday was named Tu B’Av (Tu means 15). In time the festival also came to celebrate love and its pursuit. The Talmud describes how unmarried girls, rich and poor alike, would dress in plain white clothing and sing and dance under the full moon in the vineyards surrounding Jerusalem (Ta’anit 30b–31a). Many betrothals ensued.

Today the grape harvest is still celebrated in Israel, and many Israeli couples choose to get married on Tu B’Av for the “luck” it may bestow.

I hope you spend this Tu B’Av with someone you love and enjoy these recipes that give thanks for the fruit of the vine. Try Chicken Salad Veronique with Avocados and Wine Jelly & Frosted Grapes.