As you drive in a state of beauty, watching a world pass through your tinted windows, Jezzine unfolds in front of you. Surrounded by mountain peaks and pine forests, Jezzine, the most picturesque town in Southern Lebanon, is famed for its glorious waterfalls that cascade down from a height of 40 meters. The town rises on the Tumat Niha hills amidst lush pine forests, sweeping vineyards, and orchards, overlooking the beautiful Bkassine forest beneath it.
The broken clouds and the serene hills around this stone castle lay soundless. The straying wind of time passed flies fast from deep within and though the shrubs desolated by time still stand, while time takes its grip, the grounds never sleep on this sullen earthly strip.
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.
Saida, Arabic for fishing, takes its name from the old Phoenician word sidouna, also meaning fishing. In Genesis Sidon is a son of Canaan, a grandson of Noah. One of the most important, and perhaps the oldest, Phoenician cities dating around 4000 B.C., and perhaps even earlier, in Neolithic times, it was twice destroyed in war between the 7th and 4th centuries B.C., and again during the earthquake in the 6th Century A.D. It was the base from which the Phoenician’s great Mediterranean empire grew. Of all of Lebanon’s cities this is the most mysterious, for its past has been tragically scattered and plundered.
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.
The Ark of Taste, which is a foundation created by Slow Food International, Slow Food Italy, and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, is an operational body for the protection of food biodiversity. They travel the world collecting small-scale quality productions that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet: an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets and cured meats. The Ark was created to point out the existence of these products, draw attention to the risk of their extinction within a few generations, and invite everyone to take action to help protect them. In some cases this might be by buying and consuming them, in some by telling their story and supporting their producers.
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.