Category Archives: Lebanon

Ashoura Traditions: The Commemoration And The Abbas Cookies

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Picture From TasteOfBeirut

Ashoura Day is commemorated by Shi’a Muslims as a mourning day for the martyrdom of Hussein, the son of Ali and grandson of Prophet Mohammad during the Battle of Karbala some 1300 years ago. Re-enacting the battle has been long a tradition among the Shiite communities and involves in few areas self-flagellation in order to remember the blood that Hussein shed for them.

To be honest, I am not a big fan of the Tatbir, or self-flagellation act and I’d rather see people organize blood donation campaigns on that day (Like Hezbollah does) but some areas in Lebanon such as Nabatieh like to maintain this tradition, which seems to attract foreigners every year.

As far as Ashoura food traditions are concerned, there’s the Hreessé dish and the Abbas cookies and I absolutely love both! I don’t know why I had never heard about Abbas cookies until this year but they’re definitely worth a try. If you are interested in the recipe, Taste Of Beirut wrote about it [Here].

Check out more pictures from Nabatieh [Here]

J2 Vodka: The First “Lebanese” Vodka

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It’s technically Polish made but using Lebanese mountain water. I think it’s a very ambitious move to compete with the likes of Grey Goose, Russian Standard and Belvedere but it’s definitely worth a try. I will go grab a bottle in the next few days.

J2’s journey began two years ago when Aboulhosn’s brother-in-law ­­— who works in the wine industry in the United States — told Aboulhosn he had made some contacts in the spirits industry and was looking to create a local spirit in Lebanon. Aboulhosn, whose background is in finance, liked the idea of creating a Lebanese spirit and together they started the Middle East Beverage Company.

After assessing the potential alcohols — which included wine, whiskey and beer — the decision fell on vodka because of its relatively straightforward production process and the fact that it is the fastest growing spirit in terms of consumption in Lebanon and the rest of the world. In 2010 Lebanon imported more than 1 million liters of vodka. “This is a huge chunk and the potentials are enormous,” says Aboulhosn. “If we only manage to capture 2 percent of that market, we would still be doing well.”

A bottle of J2 will retail for somewhere between $40 to $50, less expensive than their competitors in the premium vodka market such as Grey Goose which sells at $60 or Belvedere at $90 but still a high-end price. Aboulhosn says they chose to produce a premium vodka for two reasons. “If you look at the Lebanese brands that do well, they are usually high end ones and the Lebanese have pride when it comes to brands like that,” he says, giving the examples of Lebanese fashion designers and wine producers. The other reason was that they would not have been able to compete with current low-end vodka producers when it came to the economies of scale required to make a profit. [Executive-Magazine]

Eagle Shot Down by Lebanese Hunters In Akkar

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These reckless hunters must be put in jail.

This photo depicting an eagle hunt down by two men who were identified as being residents of the northern district of Akkar has been circulating on the major social media platforms and provoking activists’ resentment.

In the absence of a hunting regulations in Lebanon, this ‘sport’ is taking place without any restrictions almost anywhere across the country and wrongdoings have alarmingly increased.

A law was drafted in 2004 to control the situation by allowing the hunting of some common birds only.

The said law includes the implementation of bird counts in some stopover areas and the administration of training to the hunters but the draft was put on hold following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. [Link]

Mir Amin Palace Hotel: A Perfect Getaway

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The Chouf is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful areas in Lebanon. It boasts the biggest Cedars forest in Lebanon, historical palaces built by the Emirs of Lebanon, most notably the magnificent Beiteddine palace, as well as beautiful old Lebanese houses, monasteries and attractions. It’s the perfect getaway from the city, the noise and the pollution and the Mir Amin Palace Hotel is the ideal place to stay when you’re planning a weekend in the Chouf.

The Mir Amin Palace was once a residence of the last Emirs of Lebanon back in the 19th century, and has been restored and turned into a splendid five-star hotel overlooking the Chouf Mountains. I went there to spend the weekend in September and I was completely blown away by the beauty of this palace, its historic courtyards, its room and suites, its spacious terraces and its great food and ambiance.

It’s really hard to describe in words how awesome this place is, so I will let pictures speak for themselves and add small captions below them.

The road from the highway to Mir Amin Palace is well paved and surrounded by trees and forests.

Entrance road to the Mir Amin Palace Hotel

Entrance to the Mir Amin Palace Hotel

After you check in, you step out to see this beautiful terrace

Mir Amin Palace’s spacious rooms decorated with antique beds and furniture

Walk around the palace and check its beautiful courtyards

An Arabic lounge outside the hotel’s suites

Hall Arcades

What was once the residence of a Lebanese Emir

View of the Palace from the pool

Beautiful pool and a breath-taking view

The Outdoor terrace

Great Lebanese food

and entertainment

Overlooking the Chouf mountains


Overlooking the spectacular mountain valley view’s to the sun kissed terraces and the shimmering Mediterranean below, Mir Amin Palace Hotel Beiteddine Lebanon welcomes you to experience a tangible sense of history escaping from life’s stresses in the city.

This is exactly what this hotel offers its guests and more. It’s a great escape during the summer and I can’t wait to spend a weekend there during the winter with all the snowy mountains around us.

You can check out more details on the hotel’s [website].