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For a current trip I’m taking, to avoid airport food, I made a sandwich. Since I was en-route to Israel, I though it best to avoid my usual jambon fromage and make a turkey sandwich with cornichons, cheese, egg, and mustard.

I’m not a condiment guy; I much prefer regular mustard than something jazzed up with a lot of flavorings. And I’m not big on mayonnaise either. Sure, it’s a great moistener. But is it really better than an immodest swipe of butter? (Or some mashed up fresh goat cheese?) I always hear about all these new sandwich spreads and so forth, and I guess I’m kind of boring because none of those things with honey or sun-dried tomatoes or anything “Ranch”-style sound all that interesting to me.

I’ll stick with keeping my sweets for dessert, thanks. Sun-dried tomatoes should probably stay back in 1986, and although I haven’t lived in a ranch, if I ever did, because of all the exercise I was getting working the fields and herding cattle, I would not be eating sandwiches or salads with bottled dressing. I’d be chowing down on bbq ribs and fried chicken, for sure.

savora mustard

So I’m not quite sure why I had a jar of Savora in my refrigerator. Perhaps it was because a while back, someone told me about its vaguely cult status in France as a condiment, and I grabbed one off the shelf at the supermarket. According to the jar, it’s been around since 1899 and contains exactly eleven spices and aromatics, including a “suspicion” of cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, cloves, cumin, celery, garlic, tarragon, malt vinegar and, yes, a cuillière (spoonful) of multi-flower honey.


For some reason, this seemed like the day to break open the jar. Bright yellow in color, reminding me of something American that’s got a French’s moniker, I smeared it on my baguette au sésame and piled everything else in there that I could – smoked turkey, sliced gherkins, aged Gouda, and a hard-cooked egg – and packed it all up.


When I got to the airport, looking at the options around me, I was – as usual – more than happy that I had not only remembered to bring my passport and e-ticket print out, but that I had a freshly made sandwich with easily discernible ingredients to snack on, rather than the shrink-wrapped sandwichs (sic) that everyone else waiting in the terminal were grimly stuck with.

So, how was the Savora? Well, let’s just say that I’m not ready to toss my jars of zippy Dijon mustard out with the mayo: it had a slightly gelatinous texture and the taste didn’t knock my chausettes off. However here on the sunny sidewalks of Israel, I don’t think I’m going to need them.


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    • Annabel

    It is pretty vile! There are a lot better mustards in France. Now, spread your bread with a little Maille, and you’re talking!

    • La Rêveuse

    Sorry to break it to you, David, but the sandwich still wouldn’t pass the kosher test. Meat + cheese is a nono. :( Sandwich sounded great, except for that stuff.

    • gugs

    I hope you have a safe trip! I am a little bit jealous, and if you hang out on Ben Yehudah you might very well bump into my mother who is visiting at the moment :). It is crazy hot so drink lots of water. I look forward to seeing your wonderful posts from there!

    • MJ

    No place like Israel – if you are in Tel Aviv you MUST visit the place of my friend Rima Olvera (a native californian who moved to Israel to follow her heart) – anyway please don’t leave Israel before going there.

    And enjoy Israel…

    • Jane G.

    You know putting cheese with turkey is just as unkosher as ham, right? Plus it would have to be kosher turkey. I mean, I don’t care at all – just enjoy your food! – but there’s no special magic thing about ham – food is either kosher or it’s not.

    • Patricia

    Ah, try it with a little tomato relish. You won’t regret it. :-)

    • Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi)

    I absolutely LOVE this sandwich. Seriously. It’s everything good about the world safely tucked in to gorgeous bread…. if only I was there to eat a bite. Oh heck, I’ll just have to make one now. Safe travels!

    • Leo

    Walcom to Israel

    • Jay

    Enjoy Israel. Eat as much Hummus, Fattoush, Baba Ganoush, Falafel, Kofta, etc.

    • Merisi in Vienna

    I can’t decide what looks better, the sandwich or you in flip-flops! ;-)

    At the Vienna airport, at least two bakeries have sandwiches that are quite good.
    Stroeck’s bakery has a Tofu sandwich which I am quite addicted to.

    • Chana

    Welcome to Eretz Yisrael! Enjoy the heat, the food, and the love of fellow Jews :)

    • debby

    You should try a sabiach_ -eggplant hard boiled egg tahini and other things have a great stay and welcome also remember you can get zaatar and etrog jelly here

    • Lior Shapira

    Hope you have a nice visit with us. If you’re in Tel-Aviv and need a recommendation or anything feel free to email me

    • Or

    Make sure to eat at Adora (in Tel Aviv) and Mechaneyuda (in Jerusalem). Two very good representatives of the “new Israeli kitchen” (and in a less “posh” manner, two places that took the melting pot concept of Israeli kitchen to really tasty places). Also, don’t trust public transport for meetings (or at all, leave fairly early if you plan on buses) and be aware that right now in Tel Aviv there is a lot of mess oging on with out version of the “Occupy” movement, so check the news to see if they block roads because of protests. Also, tommorow evening (and all through the night) there is a “white night”‘ in Tel Aviv, which means museums, galleries, shops and art fairs are open all through the night for free, and there are a lot of shows and such. I recommend the street preformers on Rothschild Blvrd. Also, many good retaurants there (HaMizalala, on Nachalat Binyamin 57, right next to Rothschild, is also Israeli fusion, and very good).

    • Asher

    Welcome to Israel! . Please do write something about our bakeries – it would be great to hear your view. Enjoy!

    • Claudia

    Here in Argentina we don’t ask for “mostaza” (mustard) but for “savora”, the brand. Much like Googling something or asking for Wonderbread, the brand became bigger than the product/service.

    • Wordbird

    It’s strange isn’t it, how truly appalling French prepackaged sandwiches are? It never fails to amaze me when I visit service stations on the autoroute and am faced by a range of semi-stale unpleasantness. Do French people always take their own jambon beurre baguettes and leave the rest of us poor tourists to eat the yucky stuff?

    Hope your Israel trip is fun and involves plenty of interesting eats to tell us about! :)

    • Rus

    Your comments about mayonnaise appeared above an ad for Hellman’s mayo. Strange how these things juxtapose. My expensive jar of Savora, gleaned on a day trip to Montreal, awaits inspiration.

    • Gene

    I used to love mayo, but really can’t be bothered with it these days. Like you, just give me some mustard and I’m fine. The fascination with Ranch Dressing here in the States baffles me. The trend of kids dipping their pizza in it, horrifies me!

    • FromJerusalem

    Well, David – I’ve been an avid reader (under another handle) for years so all I can say is: it’s about time you come to Israel! I hope you a gastronomically delightful and adventurous trip and look forward to your roving reports!

    • Peggy Sherry

    Your sandwich looks inviting and beautiful. You made me envious and now I am going to make bread.
    On the other hand for such a smart person, I would suggest (now to late) to have taken the tip of a spoon and gently dipped in the condiment and had a taste to avoid disappointment. Also, the sandwich deserved more love than the potential of a maybe like, from the unknown yellow culprit.

    • Simone

    I just got back from Israel 2 weeks ago!! I would love to hear about your culinary adventures if you eat out in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

    And, don’t worry about your sandwich, turkey’s don’t make milk so although it won’t past muster with the rabbis, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it….

    Enjoy your trip

    • Kelly


    If you are planning to go to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem email me and let me know. I would love to set up a vip highlights tour for you.

    Enjoy Israel!


    • LeeLee

    Call me weak, but I’m addicted to Wickles Sandwich Spread — a hot cherry pepper relish with cucumbers — and I have been known to order Maille Provencale mustard through Canada (since no one in the U.S. sells it) although I use that less for sandwiches than other purposes!

    • janele

    Ha! When I was studying high school French, I always got weirded out with les sandwichs. I *always* mentally added an “e” before the final s, even though it was correct French to spell it that way.

    • Lisa Brooks

    I have to say I am quite happy that you did not like the Savora. Because if you did I would have tried to find it here in Chicago with no luck I am sure. I have to agree about the whole condiment thing never really liked mayonnaise (I actually prefer Miracle Whip,blame my mother) but will always place a thin layer of mustard on my sandwiches.

    Happy Travels

    • latafiolesucrée

    Butter and Dijon, hold the mayo. I’m with you.

    • Susan

    The only thing I like any mustard on is a hot dog..and then, only at a baseball game! I’m with you about not wanting mayo…maybe a tsp at most, just to barely moisten the bread and that’s only if there’s no french dressing ready. I like a few rings of red onion or shallot soaked in the dressing a couple of minutes then tossed with romaine lettus. That’s my idea of dressing a sandwich. Your olive tapanade is pretty good, too.

    • former lebovitz

    Welcome to Israel Mr. Lebovitz. No place like home

    • Sheila

    Are you cutting on those beautiful wood counters?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, I am. I like the cut on wood directly, although anything that requires heavy chopping, I bring out the cutting board.

    • Nicole

    The bakeries in Jerusalem are great- I use them the way I used “fast food” joints in America- great to just stop in and spend $1 for a nice snack. Also, in Jerusalem there is a palce called Teanim. It’s not well known, but it’s beautiful and the food is nice and fresh. The dining room overlooks the Old City. If you want a dairy Kosher place that is not all over hyped liek the places on the food strip in town, this is an A+. Also, the Tikko house is good, though more pricey. I love doing food touring, especially in Jerusalem, so feel free to drop a line if you want some Kosher tips!

    • Diane

    I have to admit to never seeing this mustard on the shelves around here in France!!! I will stick to Maille. Diane

    • ellie

    If you are in Jerusalem, you have to eat sabich at Yigal’s on Shamai St. in the center of town. It is right across from a McDonald’s but you can smell the sabich down the block (and note that the McDonald’s is always empty). Yigal puts tons of love in his sabich and I swear by it! But make sure to go in the morning as he closes as soon as he runs out of fresh food. (Everything he uses is fresh from the Machane Yehuda shuk that morning).

    • Janet

    Since we’re talking sandwiches, I’m going to admit that I find the typical baguette sandwich painfully simple. Bread + cheese + ham is delish, but I miss the veggies spilling out the sides. Lettuce. I miss lettuce. Yesterday I got lunch with a long-time French friend. He started describing to me, rather excitedly, a new sandwich shop that adds much more to the meat/cheese/bread tradition. “I don’t know how they do it,” he said, “but its full of things!” And I thought, “God. You’re freakin’ adorable.”

    • Luna

    Your sandwich looks superb!!
    It is a shame that I was not blessed with a similar idea when I flew to Romania and back. My next one will be THAAAAAT huge, with cornichons and eggs too.
    I don’t know savora, but it sounds very delicious

    I vividly remember the times when I traveled with my romanian grandparents. They made a picnic out of every trip and never parted without hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, turkey, paprika, cheese, bread, schnapps and chamomile tee for the little one…

    It is so much more fun to eat home made delights. A trip itself.

    Have a nice stay!

    • v.j.

    are you sure you grew up in US? Your preference for butter and your dislike of mixing sweets and meat is so typically European. I am so with your food preferences. Mayo has a place. In potato salad.
    How do you feel about ketchup on scrambled eggs for breakfast? It turns my stomach.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      There are some condiments in Europe on the sweet side, such as Mostarda from Italy, which is sweet-spicy, and some of the relishes in Spanish cooking as well. But I’m not a big fan of very sweet condiments. Interestingly, as hamburgers are taking off in France, often the sauces are quite sweet that they put on them. Bring on the Dijon! (In my opinion…)

    • Carol

    Great looking sandwich; completely agree about mayo. Try Dietz and Watson cranberry honey mustard on turkey sandwiches.

    • the wanna be country girl

    Hope you’re having a wonderful trip! Your sandwich looks great. I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to add a hard boiled egg, to a meat and cheese sandwich. It makes perfect sense, and it’s making my stomach growl. I love your comment about sun dried tomatoes, I also think they belong in the past!
    ~ Caroline

    • DH

    My favourite sandwich spread is pureed artichokes! Goes well with so many things. I often eat a sandwich thickly spread with that and just fresh spinach.

    • greta

    Hope you’ll post some restaurant and market recommendations in Tel Aviv. I’ll be there in Sept. for 2 weeks. Have a great time.

    • Victoria

    The rich, earthy scent of sun dried tomatoes colors my memories of Sicily, where in some towns they are still made by individual households. When everyone sets out their trays of drying tomatoes, it’s really something! But the imported ones are often so disappointing–flat, too salty and pungent. I just prefer to roast tomatoes the way you showed a few weeks ago.

    Have a great trip!

    • sandra

    Have a wonderful time,read all of your newsletter,dreaming of joining your Paris-Laus trip.Hoping to experience/see Israel,please post all possible.Thank you..

    • Cynthia G

    Keep your shoes on.

    • Leslie

    Cannot WAIT to hear what you have to say about Israeli food. I LOVE It. Great salads everywhere and wonderful and various versions of humus and felafel influenced by immigrants from all over the middle east. Laffa bread…Yeminite pita….my mouth is watering. Try the resto Chakra in Jerusalem for wonderful modern food — and as someone already suggested, any food stand at Mahane Yehuda in Jeru. Very jealous. (Also try El Babour on the way up north, near Megiddo….you won’t believe your tastebuds…! )

    • ken

    was in israel in feb. had some wonderful food. a georgian restaurant in tel aviv was great. the best was a restaurant on a goat farm called ein gammin. everything they serve is made on site, everything. the wine comes from a few miles away. hope you enjoy your trip.

    • Catherine

    I’ve been addicted to Savora since living nearly a decade in Paris. Now that my set of blue Savora mustard glasses is complete I can now buy Savora in the recently available yellow plastic squeeze bottle: much safer and lighter in my luggage.
    bon app!

    • richdad

    Whatever you do, DO NOT BUY SAVORA!

    • diana

    Have fun – but don’t burn the tops of your feet!

    • richdad

    Sorry, pressed the submit comment button prematurely. Don’t buy Savora because it is addictive. At David’s recommendation,I brought back a jar from my recent trip to Paris, where I paid a little over 2 euros for it at the Monoprix. I just finished the last little gelatinous drop and now I’m ordering 4 more jars from Amazon at 4X the cost. I particularly enjoy as a dip for cheese, great with Gruyere. I may be in Savora rehab before the end of the year.Cheers all and have a great time Daveed.

    • Liza in Ann Arbor

    I cannot believe you just wrote a post about Savora! It takes me back, believe it or not, to 1997, when I was studying at the Alliance Francaise. My friend Valerie taught me to make vinaigrette with it (I knew next to nothing about food then, except how to get a jar of spaghetti sauce to open). I think I’ll need to add it to my souvenir list once again when I’m there in July. Thanks for the blast from the past! By the way, that sandwich looks divine.

    • Laurie G

    Meir Adoni’s Catit (4 Hechal Hatalmud St. Tel Aviv) is a must-eat (haute) destination, altho your friends have most likely already made reservations there. Then there’s his lower-browed Mizlala, which (James Beard Foundation award-winning) Adoni describes as “its crazy younger sister.”

    I’ve been an avid follower of yours (hate the word “groupie”) for years-ever since first laying eyes on your Dulce de Leche Brownies recipe. It’s no wonder all those Parisian store owners fawn over you;)

    Enjoy your stay here.

    • Laurie G

    In Hebrew, it’s actually “Hamizlala”.

    • Elle Hyson

    Lucky you to be in Israel, even with the excessive heat of June/July. You can’t go wrong in eating in the local eateries where the crowds flock for lunch – during our visits there we had just one meal we didn’t enjoy but that was a fish place away from Tel Aviv but considering we stayed a month at a time, I’d say that was wonderful.

    In Tel Aviv on the promenade walk by the Mediterranean, there is a vegetarian restaurant run by a kibbutz – if you are nearby, stop in and enjoy – you can’t miss with whatever you might order.

    Enjoy your visit to Israel – I’d give almost anything to be able to go back.

    • BeBe

    Savora sounds interesting. Will look for it here. We have an excellent vendor whose shop offers many, many products from France – she may be a possible source and is nearby.

    Now, tell me about those thong sandals/flipflops. Where did you get them? I used to buy sandals with a similar cut (the wide one piece thong) but can no longer find them.


    • BeBe

    Interesting – Savora is English!

    Colman’s Savora Mustard was Colman’s very first prepared mustard.

    Introduced in 1899 for the export market, it did not appear on British tables until 1915, and now is only available to the export market once again, or, exclusively to the UK, through Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum.

    It has a very distinctive picallili type flavour

    Ingredients: Wine vinegar, water, wheat flour, mustard flour (6.7%), sugar, salt, spices.

    • Helena

    shall look out for you on rothschild tonight – the best place to be

    • parisbreakfast

    Speaking of the horrors of airport food reminds me of the time I was late boarding because of hideous lines at CDG customs.
    I grabbed what looked like an elegant smoked salmon salad at the very dark $$$ Chef Guy Martin MIYOU stand before boarding.
    I was quite surprised onboard to unwrap my salad and see the backside of a tomato staring up at me.
    Not smoked salmon at all!

    • Oakjoan

    Here in Oaktown, CA, I can get Moutarde de Edmond Fallot at Berkeley Bowl. I have made the day I discovered it (and thereby could bid farewell FOREVER to Grey Poupon) one of the important holidays on my calendar.

      • Cynthia

      This reply comes 9 years after yours. It’s Feb. 2021 and Fallot is on the shelf at my local Guerneville Safeway! (I only shop there when pressed, bought a jar and told the cashier this is considered the best mustard in France by many people. She left the cash register and ran down the condiments aisle and grabbed one for herself!

    • Gary

    I like the idea of being immodest with butter :-)

    • naomi

    I grew up with steamed artichokes and home-made mayonnaise, so good mayonnaise is comfort food, especially in a tomato sandwich. I’ve met many though, including my beau, who just don’t care for it. As he usually makes the sandwiches, it always a surprise, like when I’ve opened my lunch and found a cheese sandwich with some indian chutney. That’s good.

    • Michael Gardiner

    Ahhh…Israel, one of the street food capitals of the world! The shawarma and falafel … brilliant. But hit the Hatikvah Quarter for the foie gras kebabs!

    • ClaireD


    A question. What are the approximate dimensions of your lovely baguette au sésame? The baguettes I buy here in Austin at Central Market are about 2 1/2 to 3 feet long but only about an inch or 2 in diameter. It makes it hard to make a lovely sandwich like the one in your photos.

    Thank you,

    • Amanda

    I’ve always wished I was organised enough to prepare food to take when travelling. I’ve spent one hell of a lot of time in airports this year, seriously bringing home to me the necessity for decent food.
    Lovely looking sanger (Australian slang for sandwich!) David.

    • Sue Piner

    The Old Man and the Sea Restaurant on the Mediterranean Sea outside Tel Aviv has
    the most wonderful food and the waiters are all handsome.

    • Anna

    gorgeous sandwich. nothing like decent food to cheer up a long airplane ride. have a nice trip! (also sun dried tomatoes are completely terrible, and i’m glad you’re taking a stand)

    • Meems

    But David, turkey with cheese is just as bad (in terms of kashrut…) as ham….

    • Margie

    The photo of the jar had my interest peeked…I thought for sure that you would tell me it was wonderful (the photo is exceptional!).

    Safe and happy travels to you, David.

    • Maureen

    Ever notice how other travelers look at you when you pull our your beautifully prepared food while they’re eating crap?

    • sabi

    Savora is fantastic on steak – it goes better with warm/hot food, especially when fatty, than cold cuts.

    • Paris Paul

    I’ve never been a huge fan of Dijon mustard; it always burns my nose and I can’t enjoy the food. When I first moved to France I used to bemoan the irony that French’s yellow mustard wasn’t. I would force visitors from the States to supplement my stash and I always smuggled extra bottles through when I went back.

    The an American cook in Paris recommended Savora and it was love at first bite! I find it even better than French’s!

    Now the only trouble is, when I tell French people of my affinity for Savora, they look at me as though I just told them Boursin was my favorite French cheese!

    • Stephanie

    Hard boiled eggs on an airplane?! You are soooo French :) They all bring hard boiled eggs for road trips.

    • The Fingal Foodie

    I am incredibly jealous. From your tweets and blog posts you appear to be having the most amazing trip. Enjoy!

    • Sharyn Dimmick

    Well, you can send any sun-dried tomatoes that come your way on over to me, David. I love them on cheese sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, but then I also like cheese and chutney, so I am not averse to sweet flavors in mostly savory sandwiches. I refuse to eat any kind of mayo and go with mustard or oil and vinegar as my chief sandwich condiments. Your sandwich looks appetizing even with the evil yellow Savora, which I have never tasted.

    • Eyal

    Wow David,what a great sandwich.
    Everytime I fly abroad (From Israel my homeland) I do just the same,have a delicious sandwich packed and ready,so I won’t have to “meet” the “great” airport or airlines meals.
    Your sandwich is yet another graet idea to quick sandwich making,I would add some hot chili paste (Yamanite Sehoog) and some turnip for the crunch.

    I realy enjoyed reading your trip to Israel notes.Glad you had a good time.
    Don’t forget to come back soon.


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