January 06, 2015 Lebanon Middle East

2014: Tasty Discoveries on Must Try in Lebanon

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Salon des Famille' Extravagant Milk Cookies

When I think Zahle, the first thing that comes to mind is “Kaak bi 7alib”… I love those cookies so much that I always ask my friends to get me some whenever they’re going up t the capital of the Bekaa. Today, visiting Zahle for our next Mechwar episode, Salon des Familes was first on the list. Not only that I could get some bags with me to Beirut, but I had the chance to taste them warm, directly out of the oven.

Don Baker: A Dark Chocolate Crepe with Hints of Perfection

This dark chocolate crepe (Chocorange), a blend of 100% Callebaut dark chocolate, orange jam and crushed almonds. Ouf! An overwhelming extravagant crepe presented in an uneven way and filled with a melting dark chocolate that's equilibrated by a small portion of orange jam that has a subtle taste while the almonds add this fine end enjoyable crunch. A fine piece of redefined finesse in every bite filling a thin dough that's crunchy on the sides and slightly chewy on the inside putting up-front the ingredients. Not only the filling is unique but the dough extremely special. To make it even more exceptional, a gently sugar powder covers it. Breathtaking to say the least!

A Tasty Discovery: Honey Maamoul from Nicolas Audi

I've written about them before and here I am again... Those deserve an article by themselves. An airy light biscuit filled with an authentic honey from the village. An adequate sweetness, powder sugar and really life in every bite. I loved them!

M de Noir: A Local Chocolate with High, International Standards

Each trip starts as the little piece of chocolate melts on your tongue and you feel the quality and class of the chocolate, afterwards the aromas take over, preparing you for best bit. Alcohol or saltiness comes next, and your brain might well reel with the shock. Yes, it’s shocking! Anyway, you might think I'm exaggerating, so please go try them for yourself. 

Cookielicious: Creative Cookies in Hamra

The name is mouthwatering... The logo just makes you want to come in... when I did, and I am going to be honest, I was not too impressed to see the cookies stacked in plastic Tupperwares. But after trying the cookies, all was forgotten... 

Safsouf's Maamoul Madd bi Ashta: Back to Authenticity...

The special item added to the breakfast the time I was there was some sweets from a special place in Beirut. I joined Joe, a family friend, who wanted to introduce me to something he claims to be "out of this world", the best sweets Lebanon has ever witnessed. Meeting in Antelias at 8am, we went down to Tarik el Jdideh and reached "Safsouf", a place where fine sweets have been produced since 1931. We reached a super busy small place where a strong positive vibe is felt early in the morning. Tens of hungry men waiting in line for some knefeh, out on the sidewalk while inside, three persons with their generous smile and nice welcoming, fill in those carton trays depending on the clients requests. Behind the display protected with a glass facade, the wall is filled with green metallic boxes, often used to pack sweets for traveling.

Al Daoukieh: A Dessert to Try Before you Die

A layer of pistachio purée, green like grass, topped with cashew nuts and followed by a layer of ashta, and on top of it more pistachio mix with little sugar bits shining beautifully in between the nuts. The pistachio mix is so unique that it slides under your teeth, erupting with a rich taste while a strong flavor of pistachio caress your taste buds. Premium quality, cold and fresh ashta (clotted cream) follows all this, melting together under your palate until you crunch into those fried cashew nuts which will put a smile on your face. While enjoying those heavenly bites, all you have to do is close your eyes and feel a perfume of orange blossom and rose water taking over your brain cells. 

Roger le Boulanger: The Excellence of an Artisan Baker

Two years ago, Roger Nasr a photographer and cinematographer who worked all his life producing documentaries decided to start a new chapter in his life, a new career. He learned the chemical and scientific details of bread production all by himself making him one of the few, not to say the only artisan baker I know to personally produce bread on his own using ancestral techniques. Down in his small atelier in Achrafieh, I went to meet Roger. It all started a few months ago while having dinner at "Le Bistrot de Michel". The smell, the crunch, the bite... I was falling in love with a piece of bread. I immediately asked where this bread was made and this was how I reached "Roger le Boulanger" or the baker. I went to him not knowing what to expect but was so happy to meet the man behind these innovative creations.

Yahia Rabiha Charafeddine: Fine Lawzieh From Aley

I was recently invited to a dinner party and all we talked about was 'food', and where to have the best 'this' and the best 'that'. I left with a long list of places to discover... One of which was Lawzieh at "Yahia Rabiha Charafeddine" in Aley.  The next morning I found myself driving to Alley to try some Lawzieh...

Chidiac: The Best Karabij in Lebanon

After publishing a review on "Safsouf's Maamoul Mad Bi Ashta" many have asked to point out some of Lebanon's most special bites. I don't mind doing so at all... I enjoy plunging into the vast amount of authentic and traditional bites this country has to offer. Whether sweet or savory, we have many places around and each establishment has something original to offer. Some names include Daouk, Safsouf and Chidiac...

My Latest Discovery: Soft and Tender Tasty Sfouf

Sfouf is a Lebanese almond-semolina cake. It is made from semolina flour flavored with turmeric, sugar, and pine nuts. This simple to do creation has many advantages other than being delicious - plus it doesn't contain any eggs or milk. Known to be served around lent period, it can be enjoyed during breakfast or a relaxing five o'clock tea.

Banana Cream Pie at Magnolia Bakery

Banana Cream Pie: Uffffff... Wowww... Extraordinary, fantastic. A slight crunch, an enjoyable yellow light pastry cream and whipped cream on top. I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I was while eating it. It's so awesome! So excellent! So exquisite!

The Cupcakery: Rich in Colors and Flavors

Sometimes I come across a place, new or old, that seriously makes me love what I do. The Cupcakery is one of those places that make you want to come always - first it's nice English feel is very welcoming and second, the Cupcakery is always working on developing new pastries that are truly mind blowing and you know me... am not the one to exaggerate.




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