[Music] It’s not enough to make one episode for the third largest city in Lebanon, the capital of the Bekaa We are back at Zahle, “the home of peace” but to us, Zahle is the home of the Berdawne, the inventors of the Lebanese Mezza The best “Kaak Bhalib” (Milk Shortbread) in the world! We are back at Zahle to introduce you to its unknown details. The trip to Zahle, the trip to the “Birthplace of the lions” begins, now. [Music] Anthony: Hello, hello; I really missed you
Elias: Welcome, welcome. Good morning. Anthony: How are you Elias?
Elias: Missing you too. Anthony: Elio! I came through Tarshish, visited the Statue of the Virgin Mary, and came to meet you here. Anthony: What a great bakery, I’ll never forget this place! Elias: You’re always welcome, we love having you here.
Anthoy: Thank you. Elio what are we doing today? Are we going around Zahle again? Today we are going to taste the things we missed the first time And then you will see the beautiful, hidden history of Zahle You told me enough, we’ll leave it as a surprise. The trip starts with the “man’oush”, that I still remember With it’s spongy texture! Let’s have some together… It’s great! Anthony: mmm… Anthony: Unbelievable, unbelievable
Elio: With Zaatar (Oregano mix)! No one can make “man’oush” like you! [Music] Anthony: This is ‘Abou Elias’s Bakery’ and you are Elias. Anthony: tell me about the bakery, about this diesel fuelled stone oven, tell us about you. These are old ovens that, 40 years ago, were fuelled using a type of hay and not diesel. After that, they started using diesel as it is more efficient, and provides a higher temperature. So they kept using diesel ever since. And the stone is heat resistant, otherwise it won’t last long, as it will break. Anthony: Is this the secret of the good flavour? Of-course, the secret is that the dough gets cooked from underneath. And the high temperature gives it the desired brown color, so no sugar is needed. The “Zaatar” has a strong flavor, the right amount of salt, a soft dough, a crunchy edge, enough sesame This is not a traditionally round man’oush. It has it’s own shape, and it’s own flavor. Anthony: How long have you been here? My deceased father was here since 1962, and I joined him in 1976. Anthony: I want to make it clear that you are not famous because of the “Zaatar”, but because of the “mishtah”. This is called “The mishtah of Abou Elias”. This is the bread, with a bit of “Labne” (Thickened yoghurt), olive oil, black olives… And I’ll leave the rest to your imagination! [Music] Welcome, welcome! Hello, hello. How are you? Welcome! You are too famous to be introduced, I don’t need to explain who you are. Your “Kaak Bhalib” (Milk shortbread) and “Kaak Bsamen” (Ghee shortbread), are the best in the world to me! I came back, not to eat them from the counter, but to see how they’re made in the kitchen. You are welcome! I’m going in. [Music] Since 1932, Salon de Famille or the Lounge of Families, which is not a coffee shop Makes the best “Kaak Bhalib”, and the best “Kaak Bsamen”. And I tasted something last time, that I just saw coming out fresh. The “Kaak Btamer” (Date filled Shortbread). [Anthony whistles] Mr. Elie, tell me about your secret, the smile on your face and this delicious food. This Ajwe (Date filling) is famous in Zahle. We are the only ones famous for it. Out of all the shops that make the Ajwe, here is where you will find the original. Everything is natural, we grind the dates ourselves. Anthony: Pistachio on the base. And this is the dough, made with plenty of natural Ghee. How much Ghee is found in this dough? Roughly, a kilogram of flour has 300g. And the “Kaak Bhalib”, is amazing! It unbelievably melts in your mouth. It even reached the U.S.A.! The “Kaak Bhalib” is a shortbread that looks dry, Until you take a bite, and it starts to melt, and you begin travelling with it. This is a dream. Second to none! Truly a dream! [Music] Perfect…God bless. [Music] Anthony, you go around Lebanon and taste sweets everywhere. In Sidon, Tripoli, and Ehden. Now I want you to try the sweets in Zahle. [Music] Gentlemen, we are honoured to have you in Zahle. Here, in our modest factory, we make desserts for all of Lebanon and in our branches throughout Lebanon. Now I will show you what we make here. First we are making “Tamer Bfistou’ ” (Dates with Pistachio) wrapped in shortbread dough. Here we have multiple dishes made with Ashta (Clotted Cream) Such as, “Madlou’a”, “Mafrouke”, and “Aaish El Saraya”. Here the young lady is preparing “Maamoul” with Pistachios, a famous dessert. This is “Kaak Bhalib”, made with Ghee. You can have a taste if you like. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to taste this warm, straight from the kitchen. These are desserts made with Arabian Ashta, such as “Hriseh bi Ashta”, And the famous “Mloukiye” with a layer of Pistachio. Here we have sugar syrup for “Knefe” (Cheese Dessert), and sugar syrup for “Baklawa”. Anthony: Imagine how much sugar is here! Imagine the calories! [Music] Anthony: Hello Hello, how are you? Welcome! They call you “Ezaa’im” (The Boss). You are very famous in the area. Everyone talks about your “Irben” (Qurban, Holy Bread) This bakery, has been here since 1949. Anthony: What is this bakery famous for? It started with “Lahem Baajeen” (Lebanese meat Pizza). They used to knead the dough by hand at that time! All by hand. This stone oven runs on diesel. Anthony: What should I taste today? You can taste the fresh “Irben”. We invented the “Irben”. This is the “Irben” Still hot, and soft! Zikhya: What do you think? Amazing! Zikhya: (Poetry) Lebanese history says; Zikhya’s famous “Irben”, helps you digest before a meal, and after to crave for more. Nice One! [Music] Anthony: Where to next? This is Maroon Zakhya’s Bakery. I remember it since I was seven years old. I used to skip school at 7 am to come here and eat their Brioche, known as “Birmush” in Zahle. This is one of the oldest bakeries in Zahle. It has a classic location. On the road, with a nice breeze, and the products displayed. We then stand here and say, One “Kaake”! Let’s go meet him. [Music] You called me yesterday to tell me that you found an amazing Croissant bakery. Maroon, we are now in the kitchen. Some of the Croissant you make are with Knefe, Olives or Labne (Thickened Yoghurt), and they come in 3 sizes. 100% Tell me more. You are in the kitchen of the “Maison du Croissant” (The House of Croissant). We have been in Zahle around 24 years. We specialise in the Knefe Croissant, and the Labne, olive and fresh mint Croissant. This one is special. I want to try all of them! I’m sure you will enjoy them all. Yalla (Let’s go), I want to try the huge one! [Music] Anthony: What are we starting with, which ones do we have? We have the Goat’s “Labne”, Kashkaval cheese, Chocolate And the Maison du Croissant’s speciality, Knefe Croissant. Lebanese style Croissant, with the required crunch, rich. This one looks delicious “Labne,” “Zaatar” (Oregano mix), and fresh mint. Amazing! But, this is the important one! Wow. Croissant is already rich, what about with ‘Knefe”? It must be good. Crazy, have you tried it? I brought you here because I tried it! In Zahle, there is a place called “Maison du Croissant”. Their croissant are one of a kind. Other than Chocolate and the “Zaatar”, there is the “Knefe” Croissant of-course. Even the Chocolate is melted inside. All made fresh in the kitchen as soon as you order them. [Music] Anthony: Hello! Welcome! How are you? Anthony: How are you today? Welcome. Anthony: Mr. Michael, they say that you make the best “Kaak byansoon” (Anise shortbread). Anthony: What else do you have? “Kaak Byansoon”, “Kaak Blaban” (Yoghurt shortbread), “Kaak Bhalib”, “Oris B’ajwe” that we are making now. It’s impressive that you can make all these in this underground bakery. We make bread rolls for restaurants, I’ll show you. In this very small place, he makes all these good things. Would you like to taste some? I want to taste the “Kaak” It’s flavor is more apparent when it’s cold. They’re still hot You cannot taste the full flavor What are you talking about, it’s great! When it cools down it becomes a bit firmer. That’s right It’s amazing! What’s the difference between this and the “Oris”? It’s the same dough, but most people like to have the “Oris” for breakfast. Are these cold enough to taste? Yes of-course. This is the “Oris Byansoon” We sometimes make “Oris Bsamne” (Ghee Shortbread) Similar to this one but with Ghee and covered in Icing sugar. It has a very strong Anise flavor. The flavor should be strong It’s great. I wish you good health Thank you, we’ll keep exploring Zahle [Music] Good morning. We were told that “Always” has been in Zahle for more than 30 years? Yes around 25 years And if people feel like fast food, they come to “Always”. What are you famous for? “Chicken Always”, steak sandwich, cheese burger, pizza… If I want to taste one, what do you recommend? Steak sandwich Ok, one steak sandwich with fries. [Music] It’s a sandwich, from a village point of view. Potato, Ketchup, Mayonnaise It reminds me of my childhood, but it tastes good. Pickles, traditional bread. Very nice. With fries. This is Zahle’s snack [Music] “B’aine Sweets. Our Forefather’s Heritage” Tell me the story of the “Simsmiye” (Sesame and sugar syrup bar). What do you call all of these? This is Zahle’s desserts in the Berdawne. I called my stand “Our Forefather’s Heritage” Because my father has been here for 70 years, and my grandfather before him. And both of them worked on this cart! This exact one. This is the same cart, but of-course each year I clean and paint it. Are these made in your home? My parents and I make them And you sell them here. What am I going to sample? This is the “Simsmiye” This is the famous one. Our best sellers are the “Simsmiye”, Coconut, Peanuts, and the “Miskeh” (Mastic) This makes good business for dentists! Yes they all love me [All laugh] They give me their business cards and offer me discounts! The “Simsmiye” is delicious. Listen, many say that they can make “Simsmiye”. But it has its secrets. Of-course I learnt the trade from my father, and it’s not a simple secret. It requires a lot of work. I can see that, with the large amount of sesame seeds, the caramalized sugar, it’s chewy…. It has other products that I cannot reveal, and this ensures the highest quality We know that it’s not good for ones with diabetes, but you’re saying it’s fine to try a bit? Well if he will buy a kilogram and eat it while watching TV, of-course not! [All laugh] Eat in moderation. We will continue our tour of the Berdawne, And we hope it stays forever so this heritage can continue to other generations. [Music] Today if someone would like to have some Ice Cream at the Berdawne, the Ashta flavoured one is the original. Tell me about your shop. My grandmother was the one that opened this shop, as a small shack. And then my father came, and started making Ice Cream. He learnt how to make the Ice Cream from an Italian friend. And it became famous ever since. Especially because of the location is close to fresh water and snow. What do you feel like having? The same, I’ll take an Ashta flavoured one, because you can’t miss it. I hope the Berdawne returns to the days when it would be busy, and attracting many people. We could come here for lunch, desserts, Arak… You’re welcome. What do you think of the Ice Cream? Amazing! This is the best Ice Cream in town. We will come past when we visit Zahle again. [Music] This is the second time we come to Zahle. I still can’t get over it. What a great day! Unforgettable history. There are still a lot of things that you have not told me. Correct, and the most important thing is the origin of Zahle’s name. There are three theories. First, they say that king Zahlan came to live in Zahle in the year 1600, and he loved its climate. They say that they named the city after him. The second theory is that it was named after the planet Zuhal (Saturn), that represents fertility. Zahle is known to have fertile soil, because of the two hills that surround it, for planting vineyards. The third theory, the most credible, is that our heritage is Syriac/Assyrian And the word Zahle in Syriac, means moving an item from one place to another. This is the most credible theory, because Zahle has a sliding topography. Another thing I would like to tell you about, is the Statue of the Virgin Mary, that represents Zahle. The statue can be seen by anyone that enters Zahle, and it is blessing Zahle. This statue, as we can see in-front of us, is 54 m high. It was built in 1960. The statue itself was sculptured using bronze in Italy, by an artist called Bernotti. It was then brought to Lebanon and installed, with great effort, at this elevation. The Lady of Zahle is carrying the vine and grape cluster, that represents Zahle’s goodness and blessing. [Music]