Tahina, Tahini, Tehina… however you write it, this creamy and oily sesame paste is the main ingredient in hummus (after chickpeas of course). Nablus is famous for producing top quality tahini, and if you are in the old city it is definitely worth it to try to get a tour of one of the factories.
We visited the Alul Tahina factory, which is just by the main roundabout at the start of the old city, but definitely worth asking locals for directions!
Now largely modernised, the Alul factory nevertheless still uses the traditional grinder… which includes two large stones. You could still see the incisions where large wooden poles were inserted into the stones, to which donkeys were strapped to move the stones around!
This traditional method is still used for the less popular ‘black sesame’ paste. Black sesame doesn’t actually exist, but the name is frequently used for this particular seed, which is unrelated to sesame. Delicious!