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 Phoenician 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 its 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 are some 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, 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.

There is so much to do in Lebanon, it’s a fascinating country. Our tour focused on the gastronomy, plus key sights.

I plan to share more from the trip but in the mean time, here are lots of food and drink photographs from the trip:


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24 Comments to "We Tasted Lebanon… And We Loved It!"

  1. Mamta

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

  2. James B

    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!

  3. Kavey

    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!

  4. Su-Lin

    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.

  5. Kavey

    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…

  6. Su-yin

    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… 😀

  7. Kavey

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

  8. Mickle in NZ

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

    I will be following your “writeups” very keenly,

    Michelle down in Wellington, NZ

  9. Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets)

    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.

  10. Kavey

    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!

  11. Daily Spud

    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!

  12. kitchen princess

    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.

  13. tasteofbeirut

    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!

  14. NickyB

    Sorry to be a little late to the (4th birthday) party, but I hope you don’t mind! This was a post I really enjoyed – it made me buy the Lebanese Kitchen cookbook which I love (and am cooking from tonight, coincidentally) and one day I promise myself I will get to the Lebanon. Thanks K xx


    That’s wonderful, how lovely to know a post of mine inspired you a little. Thank you so much x


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