Mouneh w Terwika in the process…

I attended the Mouneh course held at Mezzanine Cafe – AltCitythis on Saturday 20 September 2013. It was so much fun!

We learned how to prepare keshek, makdous, labneh, pickles and figs jam. Madam Renee answered a lot of our questions about the old traditional cooking.

We did pickles ourselves and we had the chance to take our pickles home with us… yaaayy!!


I’ve met a couple of interesting people from all over Lebanon and we shared some old village cuisine ideas such as the Kebbe Karanbiyeh & Moufat2a.

The buffet held at Mezzanine Cafe was very delicious and the place is very friendly. It’s as if you’re at home!

Here’s a couple of pictures 🙂



Egg station


White Cheese


Strawberry Jam

White Cheese & Jam


Mouneh Products


Pickling  (2)


Tabboule with Vine Leaves!

Vine Leaves, also known as Grape Leaves are famously used in the Lebanese cuisine. They are usually picked fresh and stuffed with a mixture of rice, meat and tomatoes then cooked and served with yoghurt. They are also stuffed with rice and vegetables and served as a mezze dish “Warak Inab bil Zeit” or pickled for winter use.

Vine leaves make there way on their mother vine early Spring, around April and March. Newly developed soft and bright green leaves are picked and eaten with Tabboule, as a lettuce replacement.

Simply delicious, you should try it 🙂

Why on a Sunday??

A lot of us long for Sundays to have those authentic gatherings with our extended families, around a table rich in traditional Lebanese food, from tabboule, fattoush, hummus, home-made mana’ich, to kebbe, grilled meats and Lebanese sweets; especially with brilliant cooks like our moms and tetas!

Food is indeed a very important part of our daily lives, better yet; food constitutes a crucial part of our identity and heritage! So what about a place, cozy and authentic, that prepares your Sunday lunches every day? This is what is all about!

On Saturday 1st of October 2011, I had an interesting visit with my colleague and friend, Paty from Paty M’s Nutrition World , a young passionate food and nutrition Lebanese blogger, dietitian and nutrition consultant, to Tawlet; that is located in Mar Mekhayel, Gemmayze, Lebanon.

What an amazingly delicious experience! We had a casual chit chat with Mr. Kamal Mouzawak, founder of Souk el Tayeb- Tawlet, and here’s how it went…

Tawlet Overview

Tawlet (Arabic for Table) is a farmer’s kitchen that simply revolves around “Shou tabkha el mama el yom?” (English: “What’s mom cooking today?”).
Each day, different food producers, cooks and also well known chefs come from all over the country to prepare traditional Lebanese home-made food from their own region or village.

The Menu

Visitors can serve themselves food buffet-style from a menu that varies daily, depending on the regional specialty for that specific day. You can definitely find foods that you are familiar with, but what is most exciting are those foods that are unique to every region of Lebanon! Such as Bemye bi debess el remmen (Okra with pomegranate molasses) from Jezzine, Koussa bel zet (Zucchini in oil) from Maaser El Chouf and Kebbe arnabiye (Kebbe with sesame paste and sour orange juice) from Kfaratra!

You can have some lemonade, jellab, arak or wine while the water is free to pour some from the traditional “bri2” (which is a rounded glass bottle with a tight neck and a nozzle from which you can pour water, mainly found at our granny’s!)

Tawlet uses preservative & chemical-free (products) produce in all the foods prepared! That’s why you don’t find any place for carbonated beverages, such as cokes and sodas; moreover they are not part of our cuisine, right? To wrap up, the menu is full of delicious authentic Lebanese dishes that you don’t get to have every day and which you can actually check weekly on facebook

The Place/ Environment

The place’s interior is earthy, green and warm. The chairs and table are wooden with plants and flowers all over the dining area!

You can feel at home, there are several stands surrounding the area, a stand where you have some old traditional kitchen utensils and cookware (Beri2: traditional water bottles; tea pots etc.); a wine stand (you can select wines from all over the country); a moune stand (traditional preserved foods that are usually prepared for winter use) and some other stands filled with cooking, traditions, events etc books…

During our visit, we also met Maya Zankoul; that had her amazing illustrative food poster exhibition surrounding tawlet’s walls, see for yourself…

As for the tawlet’s kitchen, the cooking and the serving space is quite the same, as if you’re at home; where you cook and eat around the same room.
Finally, tawlet is a smoking free area; despite you don’t see any “No Smoking” signs.

Tawlet under the Umbrella of Souk El Tayeb

Tawlet’s kitchen actually fall under Souk el Tayeb (Tayeb means tastes good/delicious) , a farmer’s market in Lebanon where producers from various villages around Lebanon present their moune, pastries, sweets, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. This Souk has specific rules and regulations to allow these produce to be part of Souk El Tayeb. These criteria are highly controlled to include only the freshest, local, seasonal food products – natural, traditional and organic! Paty M and I will visit this market very soon in Biel, which opens every Saturday in Biel from 9 am till 2 pm. But this Souk will definitely have its own post aiming to explain what the Souk el Tayeb actually, the goals of this Souk, how it regulates the produce presented there and the projects covered by Souk el Tayeb!

Kamal Mouzawak is doing his share of preserving our Lebanese culture and traditional Lebanese cuisine by supporting local farmers, organic and fresh produce and by focusing on the importance of our identities!

Food is a very important part of our daily lives; it constitutes a crucial part of our identity and heritage. If you ever crave your Sunday lunch or your teta’s magical cooking fingers,
Why wait for Sunday?? You can have some every day in the heart of Beirut!

Tawlet Contact Details

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 1 pm – 4 pm; at night, it’s open for private dinners and exhibitions
– Price range:
• “Producer’s buffet” and “Saturday’s Souk Brunch”: 27 USD $
• “Plat du Jour”: 10 USD $
– Phone number: 01- 448 129
– Address: Beirut, Sector 79 – Naher Street # 12 (Jisr el-Hadeed), Ground floor facing Spoiler Center, Beirut, Lebanon
– Facebook:
– Twitter:!/Tawlet
– Website:

*Photos courtesy of Paty M’s Nutrition World and Strawberry Blu.

Sumac and Lebanese Cuisine

Sumac is the berries of a shrub that mainly grows in the Mediterranean area. It is well known in all regions and harvested from almost all the mountains of Lebanon.

The sumac hangs on the branches of the shrub as clusters of dark red balls.

Sumac is harvested during the month of August, they are harvested during this season and then they are sun dried, the drying process can take several days up to weeks, when the sumac is completely dried; it is then grounded into a coarse powder. The main purpose of drying the sumac is to be able to use it during winter times.

The grounded sumac has a strong astringent acidic taste, where it’s used as a seasoning and a souring flavouring agent in the Lebanese cuisine, mainly in the “meza”. For example, the traditional Lebanese salad “fattouch” is characteristically served with sumac sprinkled on top. Traditionally, it was used with fried eggs, kabab, in stuffing { Fatayer ex. Fatayer Sulik}, and the famous Lebanese thyme mankoushe, others also add it to the tabboule salad.

Moreover, it is can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in salad dressing, and can also be added to meat and chicken marinades.

Sumac has considerable amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, some antioxidants (such as Tanin), and around 140Kcal per 100g. Some say it’s used as a herbal remedy for urinary disorders (yet I still don’t have any scientific evidence).


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: