Another slow food foundation for the protection of food biodiversity is our very own keshek el foukara (poor man’s cheese). Majdel Zoun is located around ten kilometers from the ancient city of Tyre, a small village of Muslim farmers situated in a dry stony landscape. Their Keshek el fouqara in fact uses no milk, whereas keshek is commonly made with goat’s milk yoghurt.
Tyre is a fabled place where monumental ruins recall as they change character with the daylight, the grandiose architecture and the vision, which its roman conquers, acquired from the orient. It evokes in equal measure the splendors of Phoenician times and those of Rome and Byzantium.
Hamra Street runs parallel to the Mediterranean coast. It is one of the main streets of Beirut. Due to the numerous sidewalk cafes and theaters that used to be around it, Hamra used to be the center of intellectual activity in Beirut during the 1960s and 1970s. It remains one of the last authentic bastions of liberalism and tolerance in the Middle East and the only cosmopolitan street in all of Lebanon. It’s the one place where sectarian, religious, and political differences don’t matter much for the people who live there. Streets have a life of their own, a life that they claim. They don’t just document the walk of history, the sound of wars and victories; they also go a long way to establish the culture of a city.
In the heart of a beautiful village in the north of Lebanon resides a 19th century Lebanese house that has just been turned into a bed and breakfast. As you drive by the old village center of Douma with its beautiful old buildings and picturesque views of the sea, perched on a hill just a top the village center resides this beautiful old house with yellow and burgundy shutters
Qana sits in the rolling hills of the south of Lebanon, inland from the ancient port of Tyre. As you begin to head inland from Tyre towards Qana, the lush orange groves and banana plantations that hug the coastline give way to an undulating, rocky and sparsely vegetated terrain. It feels like you are taking a mystical journey into a forgotten piece of land.
As the sun rises and the sky is not yet blue but waking up from its deep sleep, the forns (ovens) are hard at work preparing this dough pressed flat and baked with a topping of choice (zaatar, cheese, minced meat, vegetarian), The man’oushé.
L’Atelier du Miel, located in Tabaris – Achrafieh, is solely dedicated to Lebanese honey and honey products. With their common passion for nature, craftsmanship and good taste, they produce pure honey with only natural methods. In its boutique, they share their passion for beekeeping by offering more than 30 different types of honey produced in Lebanon as well as a variety of honey-based products.
As the light starts to fill the sky and the warmth of the sun spreads on the Mediterranean Sea, a flicker of human shapes spread along the Cornish from a distance. Old men and some young ones too scatter along our beloved Cornish, one of the last democratic public spaces in Beirut, holding their fishing rods and their wicker baskets. There is nothing I love more in the morning than that little picturesque strip that has become a landmark of Beirut and its mix of people.
When exiting towards the poorer southern districts of the city, it’s a world away from the affluence of downtown Beirut. Checkpoints are more frequent and the surroundings become more impoverished. The urban landscape consists of disorganized heavy concrete buildings, masses of people and chaotic bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Lebanese singer Samira Tawfik, original name Samira Ghastin Karimona, was born in 1937 and began her career singing in major theatre productions in Beirut at the age of 13. She worked in Jordanian radio in the 1960s, distinguishing herself from her peers by singing Bedouin songs, a style that she became known for throughout her career. Samira was introduced to the Egyptian musician Tawfiq Bayoumi who gave her stage name “Tawfiq” (Success) when he told her al-Tawfiq Min Allah (success will come with the blessing of God). She also starred in several films during the sixties and seventies. Her songs are still repeated and sang by the public until today, despite her absence from the artistic scene.