Sirdeleh Workshop & Goat Cheese Training in Shouf

During the group session, participants discussed the challenges and opportunities of producing Sirdeleh

On July 16, 17 and 23, the Food Heritage Foundation (FHF) delivered three training sessions and workshops on Sirdeleh and soft goat cheese making in Deir al Qamar. These sessions were commissioned by the Secours Islamique France (SIF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Chouf Biosphere Reserve. FHF supports the SIF objectives in enhancing the preservation of authentic food in the Chouf region.

Doing so, Eng. Nadim Rawda began the first session with a general introduction workshop in dairy products and white cheese making. Local farmers, cooperatives and cheese makers where taught the extensive knowledge of Baladi Cheese making with a focus on the production of goat soft cheeses flavored with sun-dried ingredients such as herbs and tomatoes.

Preparing white goat cheese

On the second day, a participatory workshop facilitated by Eng. Mabelle Chedid and Mrs. Marwa Soubra gathered Sirdeleh producers from the Chouf area and aimed at identifying the Sirdeleh production method while pointing out the challenges that the producers face at different levels of the production process. The participants were motivated to share their experience and talk about challenges which they are facing mainly related to the lack of good quality clay jars and lack of marketing. The negative aspects of using plastic jars were addressed in the Food Safety session that was followed by a presentation on Occupational Health.

Everybody wanted to participate!

In an attempt to promote and preserve the traditional method of Sirdeleh making, SIF will distribute to the participants, later this summer, clay jars produced by a local potter.

All participants agreed that hygiene is a key success for the production of quality products

Finally on the third day of training, the basic training on Sirdeleh making was delivered: participants learned how to prepare the clay jar prior to use and how to safely fill in the jar with goat milk. At the end of the training they all tasted freshly made Sirdeleh cheese prepared by a local farmer from Baaqlin.

While pouring milk inside the jar, one should be careful not to splash milk on the sides to avoid molds


Sirdaleh is a climate-smart product which makes use of the seasonal goat milk production and is preserved for use during winter when goat milk is not available. Similarly to Ambarees, Sirdeleh is made exclusively with raw goat milk. During the production process, Sirdeleh cheese is removed from the vessel and used to make kishk, but the bulk of the production is left to ferment in the jar to gain its acidic taste and conserved in glass jars covered with olive oil.


The preservation and documentation of the Sirdeleh cheese by passing on traditional production methods and expertise is a major concern to FHF who has previously teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Zahle and the Bekaa (CCIAZ ) to survey producers of Ambarees, another iconic dairy product prepared with raw goat milk, and which is facing similar threats such as lack of good clay jars and absence of marketing. The collaboration between FHF and CCIAZ also included a workshop and distribution of jars.

Preparing the jar prior to use can also be fun!
Eat Local

Breakfast of Kings

The Lebanese Breakfast

Contributor: Nadiya Ibrahim
Zaatar man’ousheh ready to be baked!

Lebanese are renowned for their rich cuisine including their breakfast or “Terwika” in Arabic which is characterized by the variety of its dishes and the components that distinguish it from other cuisines in the Arab region and the world.  The term “Terwika”” comes from the word “Al-Rawak” which means “calmness”. That’s why Terwika occupies an important part of the daily life of Lebanese people for whom it is essential to have a clear mind and a day full of energy.  The Lebanese breakfast consists of a long list of varied and rich dishes, ranging from light to fatty prepared according to the availability of ingredients and preparation time.

Zaatar and cheese mana’esh in the oven
  1. Mana’esh (plural of Man’ousheh)

Mana’esh are Lebanese pizzas, much simpler than the Italian version as they usually have only one topping. The most common type of Mana’esh is the one topped with zaatar mix (thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, salt and olive oil). Mana’esh topped with white cheese such as akkawi, hallloumi or a mixture of both, are also common. Other toppings include: kishk (a Lebanese traditional product made from fermented bulgur and yogurt) with tomatoes and onion, labneh (a Lebanese dairy product) and even ground beef. Manaesh can also be baked on a special stove called “Saj” or even “tannour” which gives the dough a unique taste. Mana’esh topping changes across the Lebanese regions and can be very particular to some areas such as “arish” or “shanklishman’ousheh in Akkar, or tomato paste man’ousheh in the Chouf.  Mana’esh are usually served with hot black tea or fresh juices.

A man’ousheh topped with ground meat is called “lahm b ajeen”
  1. Lebanese Knefeh

Knefeh is a sweet Lebanese dish eaten for breakfast. Despite its sweetness, it is not a dessert but a meal all on its own. Knefeh is made up of two layers: De-salted akkawi cheese forming the bottom layer, and ground kataifi pastry with ghee forming the top layer. Knefeh is baked until the cheese goes super-stretchy and the pastry gets a deep, golden brown color. The huge tray on which the knefeh is baked is called a “sidr”. Knefeh is served in a special sesame seed bun called “kaakeh” and then doused with sugar syrup.  It is preferably to eat knefeh on the spot while hot and stretchy.

Knefeh (Source: Pinterest)
  1. Foul, Fatteh and Msabaha

This is a high protein kind of breakfast that can keep you full for the whole day. “Foul” consists of cooked fava beans seasoned with garlic, lemon, cumin and olive oil and served with vegetables such as radish, mint leaves, white onions or pickles.

Foul mdammas topped with chickpeas

Fatteh is usually prepared during the holy month of Ramadan as a main dish. On other occasions, it is more of a side dish. Fatteh is a mix of garlic-flavored yogurt, cooked chickpeas and crunches of baked or fried Lebanese bread.  A mix of fried nuts is served on the top. It is best served and enjoyed immediately, to avoid the bread from soaking in the yogurt. For a healthier option, you can grill or bake the bread instead of frying it.

Msabaha is a Middle Eastern chickpea platter that very close to “hummus”. The ingredients are the same for both dishes; however msabaha is served hot or warm.

  1. Kishk
Kishk soup or “kishkiyeh” (Source: youtube)

Kishk is one of the oldest known Lebanese dishes which consist of a soup prepared with dry mixture of goat or cow milk and bulgur cooked with garlic or with preserved meat and garlic together, and served hot.  This dish is mainly prepared during winter time to warm up.

Man’ousheh topped with kishk
  1. Raw meat

This is an extreme type of breakfast adored by many Lebanese. It is comprised of raw beef liver cut into cubes and served with onion and mint, raw ground meat mixed with kamouneh spices as well as raw kafta (ground meat mixed with parsley, salt and spices). Plenty of vegetables are served with these dishes. It is essential to make sure that the meat source is safe to be consumed raw.

Selection of raw meats served for breakfast

In addition to all the above-mentioned dishes, the Lebanese breakfast table usually includes a variety of cheeses and dairy products such as Labneh, Akkawi, Baladi, Bulgari, Double Cream and Kashkwan, as well as home-made jams. Fried eggs are also served sometimes with “Qawarma” (meat cooked with fat). Black and green pickled olives are always at the center of the table.

Scrambled eggs with “qawarma”

Starting your day “Lebanese style” is an embracing sensory experience that keeps you full until lunch time!

Cheese, labneh balls, olives and jam


In The Media

Reviving the cheesy dying art of Ambarees – The Daily Star

The Daily Star visits Ambarees producers in the West Bekaa and publishes this beautiful article featuring the Food Heritage Foundation’s initiative to revive Ambarees production and interviews with Mabelle Chedid president of the foundation and Amal Ghorayeb dairy producer from darb el karam Saghbine – West Bekaa.

Ambarees: The Daily Star

Check the full article here.


Shanklish salad

Shanklish balls  ©Rana Tanissa
Shanklish balls ©Rana Tanissa

Shanklish is an aged cheese covered with thyme, sumac or dried mint. It is made either with goat’s or cow’s milk.
Shanklish is traditionally made in the region of Akkar, and shanklish salad is a common mezze dish served in
Lebanese restaurants.

Total servings: 5
Calories: 150 Kcal/serving


1 shanklish ball

2 tomatoes, diced

1 red onion (or green onion if available), finely chopped

1 green belly pepper, finely chopped

Extra Virgin olive oil

Preparation steps:

  1. Crush the shanklish ball with a fork
  2. Stir in the red onion, green belly pepper and tomatoes
  3. Sprinkle with olive oil
  4. Decorate with fresh mint leaves and serve




Route of Mediterranean dairy products

Taste the traditional ice-cream made with goat milk!
Taste the traditional ice-cream made with goat milk!

The LACTIMED project, with financial support from the European Union under the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme, has prepared and published in 2015 a guide to all dairy products lovers!

Visit the local dairy unit and learn how different cheeses are made
Visit the local dairy unit and learn how different cheeses are made

The guide offers options of agritourism activities based on dairy products in 5 countries around the Mediterranean basin: Tunisia, Italy, Greece, Egypt and Lebanon! It describes the wealth of selected regions in each country, the dairy sector, sites and farms to visit, what to buy, where to sleep and eat etc.

The traditional Lebanese dairy products are described in this 78-pages guide and darb el karam – Food Heritage Trail is featured on page 57!

To access the electronic version of the guide press here.

Go for a hike with the local herder and his goats
Go for a hike with the local herder and his goats
Taste local specialties of the region in the guesthouses and the "tables d'hote"
Taste local specialties of the region in the guesthouses and the “tables d’hote”



Cheese maamoul

Cheese maamoul sprinkled with powdered sugar
Cheese maamoul sprinkled with powdered sugar

Total servings: 8 pieces (12 cm diameter)

Preparation time: 45-60 mns.


500 g of semolina

500 g of sweetened akkawi cheese

¼ cup of vegetable oil

500 g of powdered sugar

½ cup of liquid margarine

1 cup of water

Shape the dough into disks

Preparation method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the semolina with half the quantity of the margarine and the vegetable oil
  2. Add 1 cup of warm water thoroughly while mixing until the dough comes together and does not stick
  3. Shape the dough in disks, add a Tbsp. of the sweetened cheese and close the dough forming a ball shape
  4. Put the maamoul in a baking pan
The maamoul are ready to go into the oven
The maamoul are ready to go into the oven

5. Bake the maamoul in a heated oven (180 degrees) for approximately 15 min until golden

6. Add powdered sugared on the top and serve hot

Beautiful golden cheese maamoul
Food Tourism Activities Mouneh

Preparing Kishk for winter



Under the mid-summer sun, kishk is spread and left to dry on white sheets on the rooftops of Lebanese villages, before it is ground into powder. Kishk, a preserved dairy product made from cracked wheat fermented in milk and yogurt, is prepared in different ways and is used in the cuisines of Iran, Turkey, Mongolia, Transcaucasia and the Levant, namely Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan.

Kishk has been prepared and consumed in Lebanon since the 10th century. Kishk can be prepared using cow, sheep or goat milk; however the kishk found on the market is made with cow milk exclusively as goat milk gives it a strong, acidic taste, which might not be appealing to the wider public.

Traditionally, kishk is prepared with brown wheat bulgur; nevertheless, consumers prefer a light colored, whitish kishk powder. To satisfy their demand, kishk producers use white wheat bulgur instead of the brown one; however, for their house consumption, producers still use the brown wheat bulgur.



During the first 4 days after soaking bulgur in yogurt, it is rubbed by hand on a daily basis, to make sure that yogurt is fully absorbed by the coarse bulgur grains. Meanwhile, more yogurt is added gradually in order to keep the mixture from drying out. Salt is also added to the mixture to prevent mold formation.

Kishk is then left to ferment for 9 days, after which “green” kishk is obtained, which is consumed fresh like labneh, or conserved in extra virgin olive oil in glass jars. Green kishk is then spread on cloth sheets, on the house’s rooftop to dry under the sun. Every morning, it is rubbed between the palms of the hands to break the kishk mixture into smaller pieces and accelerate the drying process. When fully dry, kishk is sifted then ground into a fine powder to become the kishk mix we know.

Traditionally, rubbing and sifting kishk was considered as a social event when the neighborhood women used to gather on one roof to help each other, an occasion to share stories and anecdotes.

The use of dry kishk differs among Lebanese regions. Kishk can be prepared in different forms such as salads (Wild mint and kishk salad “Meeykeh”); soups (“shorbet Kishk” and “Kishkiyye”); fillings for turnovers or mana’eesh; hot dishes such as kebbeh with kishk (“kebbeh b kishk”), kishk with eggs (“kishk aala bayd”), cabbage with kishk (“malfouf aala kishk”), wheat-flour dough with kishk (maacaroon b kishk), meat raviolis with kishk (“shish barak b kishk”), etc.