Saturday, 28 May 2011

We Tasted Lebanon… And We Loved It!

What comes to mind for you when I ask you to think about Lebanon?

Is it the mass exodus of Palestinian refugees into Lebanon during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948?

Is it the Lebanese civil war, which lasted from 1975 to 1990, during which Beirut in particular was so often on the news? Internal conflict between political and religious factions within Lebanon, Invasions and attacks by Israel, counterattacks of Israel by the PLO and other Palestinian Liberation organisations and factions, and a Syrian intervention to name but a few facets of a long and very complex period of history.

Or perhaps the more recent 2006 conflict between Israel and Lebanon that resulted in 1,200 Lebanese deaths and 160 Israelis ones?

Or do you think of the Hezbollah, the militant political party and paramilitary resistance movement that emerged in the early 1980s, in response to conflict with Israel?

For me, it is all of the above, yes, of course - the civil war was almost a permanent news story during my childhood - it's inevitable that it's part of my consciousness about Lebanon.

Sometimes, though, it seems these responses are all that people associate with the country.

But what about the food and culture of Lebanon?

I have long been fascinated by the (much longer term) history of the wider region, reading tales about the Phoenicians sea-traders and the fertile crescent, often considered to be the cradle of civilisation.

And I've been drawn by the reputation of pre-1975 Beirut as a glamorous, cosmopolitan city much appreciated by commercial and tourist interests alike. In it's heyday, Beirut was popular with the rich and famous and was said to offer the best of both the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

More than once I've heard it said that the Lebanese must surely be one of the most welcoming and hospitable people on earth.

And, of course, I've enjoyed what small fraction of the cuisine I've been able to try here in the UK.

Culinary Tour

So it was without any hesitation at all that I signed us up to Taste Lebanon's culinary tour of the country, lead by Bethany Kehdy, fellow food blogger and also food writer, photographer and nascent tour operator.

The tour is designed to give participants a "well-rounded taste of Lebanon through each of its region’s specialties" and is very much aimed at food lovers.

I won't share every activity and place we visited - all the better reason for you booking to do the tour yourself.

But over the coming weeks, I'll be sharing a short series of posts on some of my favourite foods and places from the trip. I hope they give you a small taster of this wonderful country and encourage you to book your own holiday there soon.

In the mean time, here are lots and lots and lots of food and drink photographs from the trip:

LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8113 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6545 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6890 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6558 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7118 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6510 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6511 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8095 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7320 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6570 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7582 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7489 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7577 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7583 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7849 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7106 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7863 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8131 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8132 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6601 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6863
LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6990 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6524 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7897 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6532 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6956 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7035 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7099 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7039 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8115 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7919 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7052 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6514 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7097 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7101 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7026 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7111 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6536 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7123 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6880 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7329 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7173 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8121 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6531 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7256 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7317 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7904 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7322 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7328 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6513 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7332 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7129 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7337 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7408 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7871 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7410 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7436 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7711 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7736 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6992 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-6981 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7834 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7892 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7921 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7924 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7997 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7047 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8119 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8014 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8118 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8120 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8114 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8122 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-8123 LebanonFoodPicsBlog-7929

22 comments:

Mamta said...

Wow! It all looks so fresh and delicious!

Dom said...

Looks amazing!

Mamta said...

Lovely pictures! I bet the food tasted even better. What is the second picture? Is it some kind of milk pudding?

Kavey said...

Well spotted, mum, yes a milk pudding dessert, and on top is some flower petal jam!

Mamta said...

Looks Yum! What flowers, rose petals?

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

if I can interupt you both for a moment and say WOW... what an experience!... can't wait for those posts xxx

James B said...

A business trip to Lebanon in September 2002 first comes to mind, and what a fantastic time we had in Beirut. One of the friendliest places I have been too.

Really want to go back and explore more of the country and history as well as the food. One day I will go back, maybe on this tour - it sounds great. I wait in anticipation for your other posts. The photos look amazing!

Kavey said...

I think that one was probably rose petals, can't remember!

Dom, I'm working on it! :)

James, do consider this tour, I really do recommend it!

Gourmet Chick said...

OOh Kavey as you know I have been hanging out for this post! Such an amazing country - love it.

Su-Lin said...

Yummy! What's the little green things in the big bag? We have that in our local shop but I've never known what they are.

Kavey said...

We tasted them and they were REALLY sour, but we weren't sure what they were. Bethany guessed they might be some kind of green cherry or plum but we weren't sure...

Su-yin said...

Gorgeous photos. I hope to visit Lebanon one day, hopefully it will be sometime in the not-so-distant future!

p.s. I understand that there is a lot of garlic in Lebanese food? If this it true I'll fit in perfectly there... :D

Kavey said...

Su-yin, lots of garlic and lemon and olive oil, a trinity of ingredients that are used in many dishes! Garlic is fabulous!

Mickle in NZ said...

Dear Kavey - I'm drooling after just the first three photos.

I will be following your "writeups" very keenly,

Michelle down in Wellington, NZ

Nordic Nibbler said...

I love , love, love Lebanese food. It looks so fresh and vibrant. Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts from the trip.

Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) said...

What a lovely post Kavey and such great images you've captured. It was so lovely to have you and Pete join the tour and I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Hope we can make it happen again :)

Su-Lin- If i'm not mistaken they look like green plums.

Kavey said...

Michelle, thank you! Will be coming soon!

Nordic, thank you, I'll work on those this week.

Bethany, thank you so much and I hope so too!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a wonderful food filled tour! Some great photos you have there and just makes you want to jump on a plane there!

Daily Spud said...

Beautiful Kavey, just beautiful. I'm getting all nostalgic for the trip - and also thinking that I really need to do a proper sorting out of my own photos!

Tales from the Tiny Kitchen said...

What beautiful photos, it makes me want to head over there right now! Lebanese food is amazing, I could eat it every day.

kitchen princess said...

I'm not sure that I recognise all the things in the pictures. There are a lot of really good looking foods there though. I hope you got lots of recipes.

tasteofbeirut said...

So glad you enjoyed your visit to Lebanon; hope more people sign up to this and other tours and we can get our country back to its original purpose: A tourist Mecca!