Michelin-star chef Greg Malouf took a journey on “darb el karam” food trail of the West Bekaa during his last visit to Lebanon. Malouf, accompanied by a group of foodies and the Food Heritage Foundation’s president Mabelle Chedid, spent a whole day experimenting culinary activities on the spring trail.
The journey started with a traditional breakfast followed by a small hike in the village of Ein Zebde with local guide Elias Bou Khazen who explained about wild edible plants growing in the region and shared his local recipes. Around noon, the group headed to Kherbet Kanafar where they had a typical lunch at Lina Haddad’s table d’hôte who welcomed them with her generous family. Pumpkin zinkoul, wild edible plants salad and mufarraket batata were on the menu among other specialties of Lina and the region.
“This is very special to me, eating in people’s houses instead of restaurants. Thank you for your generosity and hospitality” said Malouf when he first arrived at Haddad’s house.
In the afternoon, the group visited the convent of Mar Takle in Deir Ein el-Jawze and enjoyed the beautiful view of the Qaraoun lake before they savored traditional goat-milk ice-cream at Joseph Masrouaa’s in Saghbine.
Born and raised in Melbourne at the heart of a Lebanese family – originally from Zahlé – Malouf grew up eating traditional Lebanese food prepared by his mother, grandmother and aunts. Malouf is renowned for his love to Middle Eastern and Lebanese food and for the innovations he added to this cuisine; he co-authored several cooking books. His participation and admiration to darb el karam food trail was a beautiful experience not only for him, but for the people who hosted him in their homes, orchards and shops as well.