The Best of Beirut
on Jan 5, 2015 By Danielle Issa
Lebanon is starting to see a wealth of local creativity in the health foods department. In fact, a number of individuals are bringing to market locally-produced specialty products that are both nourishing and wholesome, putting the country on the nutrition map. From energy bars derived exclusively from dates and spelt, to juice cleanses incorporating ingredients like kale and fennel, a plethora of goodies is now at the disposal of Lebanese health nuts.
These are the guilt-free treats you’ll want to commit to for your New Year's resolutions.
BreadBasket Square (BBS) is the first wheat-free artisanal bakery in Lebanon. Based out of Tripoli, BBS uses high-quality local products like spelt which are reviving ancient grains and empowering local small-scale farmers. This first-of-its-kind bakery arose amid ambiguity over the gluten-free craze seizing the food scene, as well as a desire to shed light on the benefits of alternate grains. Try their incredibly delicious and filling Taqa (“energy” in Arabic) bars in flavors like hazelnut chocolate, pistachio orange blossom, almond rose water, and coconut lemon.
Rita Food Health Shop
Offering various savory and sweet bites in the form of cups and rolls, aptly, the Cup & Roll team operates from a central kitchen in Zalka and delivers to almost anywhere in greater Beirut. The company, co-founded by best friends Wassim Haddad and Khajag Apelian, began in a home kitchen and quickly catapulted into a full-fledged startup employing mommies as cooks. They’ve got toppings as delectable as Spinach & Caramelized Onions, Mexican Chicken, and Cheese Meatballs. And just in time for the holiday season, there’s a new lineup of Salmon Supreme, Shrimp Extraordinaire, and Prosciutto Primo!
You can find Biolicious at Souk el Tayeb in Beirut Souks every Saturday from 9am-2pm. A gluten-free and vegan product dubbed “raw to-go vegetable crackers,” they’re available in flavors as eclectic as carrot-wild thyme, celery-beetroot, and beetroot-carrot. The seaweed look-alike crisps are dehydrated at low temperatures to preserve the highest levels of natural enzymes and nutrients. Crafted by hand and sold in limited quantities, a box of these edibles goes for 19,000LL.
Souk El Tayeb
Right next door to the Biolicious stand is The Bread Inc., a local bread bakery that’s serving authentic bagels to the Lebanese public. You heard right—the ring-shaped novelty with a dense, chewy, doughy interior and a browned, sometimes crisp exterior is finally being baked on local soil. There are plain as well as more adventurous varieties like chocolate chip, multicereal, and cheese. These hand-rolled, all-natural, preservative-free bagels come five to a pack and sell for 6,500-7,000LL each.
Souk El Tayeb
Founders Leila and Hana are behind the cleansing Qi Juices, which go back to the basics of eating and drinking clean, unprocessed natural foods. Green juices supply the body with the vital nutrients it needs to function at its best, and Qi’s offerings are all about fresh fruits and vegetables preserved in their very raw states. There are seven potions, from Morning Greens and Carrot Boost to Red Magic and Green Magic. For something along the lines of sweet, try Lows Love, comprised of almonds, cinnamon, carob, molasses, date, water and sea salt.
Danielle Issa is a food blogger in Lebanon. You can find her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her blog, Beirutista.
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