February 02, 2014 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

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

Every Saturday morning, my father-in-law and his friends gather around for hefty breakfast, or what can better be described as the weekend feast. They enjoy the best of what out tradition has to offer from a selection of eggs, kawarma, knife, kaak, croissants, labneh, cheese and jams, to name a few. A whole table is set up at home, just ready to be enjoyed in the company of good friends. From time to time, some unique creations are added to the table, making the gathering even more special. I was lucky to be a part of the gathering last Saturday and enjoyed discovering something new. Safsouf_Sweets_Beirut35 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. Safsouf_Sweets_Beirut17 On the menu:

  • Madd Mchakkal 15,000L.L
  • Mchakkal 14,000L.L
  • Madd bel Achta w festo2 7alabe 16,000L.L
  • Madd Achta 14,000L.L
  • Madd Joz 14,000L.L
  • Mad Tamer 14,000L.L
  • Mad Festok halabe 16,000L.L
  • Sfouf 12,000L.L
  • Nammoura festok halabe 14,000L.L
  • Maamoul Chamiyat 16,000L.L
  • Chamiyat festok 18,000L.L
  • Baklava mchakkal 22,000L.L
  • Baklava Festo2 Extra 28,000L.L
  • Hadef 22,000L.L
  • Cha3biyat 14,000L.L
  • Maamoul Festok 16,000L.L
  • Maamoul Joz 14,000L.L
  • Maamoul Tamer 12,000L.L
  • Kenafe kilo 15,000L.L
  • Mchabbak 12,000L.L
  • Maakroun 12,000L.L
  • Awamat 12,000L.L

Safsouf_Sweets_Beirut07 While waiting to be served, Joe asked the welcoming employee for a piece of sfouf, 'a quick bite' he said. This was the beginning of a love story which started with a simple bite. A yellow piece of sfouf that's fresh, moist and tasty, melting under your teeth while exploding into little pieces. Every piece dissipates rich aromas and flavors. And just when you think the experience is over, two roasted almonds crunch to add more flavor. We ordered:

  • 1kg nammoura
  • 1kg maamoul madd bi ashta w festo2

Safsouf seems to be known for its maamoul madd. A simple photo I posted last week on Facebook was seen, commented and reposted by thousands of people who know this place and believe in its quality. Safsouf_Sweets_Beirut12 Outside, on the sidewalk, are two knefe trays which are changed at the speed of light. I think they sell more than a thousand portions per day. It was a premiere for me to see a basket of French bread next to the traditional knefe galette. You can choose, and for only 2,000L.L, yes, only 2,000L.L -when Sea Sweet sells it for 5,000L.L, between knefe in a traditional kaak or knefeh in French bread as a sandwich. Safsouf_Sweets_Beirut23 "A Knefeh for the road", Joe tells me? Boy was I happy to have said yes. I enjoyed a unique knefeh served in a small fresh bun, filled with a rich and generous portion of Knefeh, topped with sugar syrup. I liked the uniqueness of the bun that's close to the Lebanese kaaka 3asrouniya, as well as the ingredients that were not too sweet and did not give me heartburn afterwards. Safsouf_Sweets_Beirut39 Kenafeh, also spelled knafeh, is a Levantine cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup, typical of the regions belonging to the former Ottoman Empire. Knafeh or Kunafeh Cheescake is a dessert specialty of the Levant, especially in Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Syria and northern Egypt. It was 10am when we reached home to find the group eagerly waiting for what we got. After enjoying some savory treats, the sweets we brought from Safsouf were served...

  • Ma'amoul are small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts (or occasionally almonds, figs, or other fillings). They are popular in Levantine cuisine and in the Gulf countries. They may be in the shape of balls or of domed or flattened cookies. They can either be decorated by hand or be made in special wooden moulds. Maamoul cake is very similar to Maamoul cookies but it is served as layers in a tray. This idea started with the need to save some time when making desserts in holidays. With time, the main recipe was modified to include pistachios, walnuts, dates or thick cream
  • Nammoura or Lebanese semolina cake

Safsouf_Sweets_Beirut50

Simple desserts produced with passion and love. Simplicity is key in such creations that can best be described as fresh, soft and tasty as each bit melts in your mouth bursting Levantine flavors - ashta, peanuts puree and smeed mixed with sugar syrup and roasted almonds. I loved the strong aftertaste that stays in your mouth for sometime enticing you to eat more. It is addictive...
 
Safsouf_Sweets_Beirut58
 
Very affordable, tasty and unique... Safsouf is a must try.
 
Categories: Tasty Discoveries

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