Over the weekend, I ventured out to Akkar’s Ammou3a area for the first time ever with two friends tagging along. After a super long and arduous drive – those roads are horrendous – it only felt fitting to make a pit stop in Tripoli for a much needed food break. Naturally, Hallab is where we went.
Off-topic, but Ammou3a is a very beautiful area to visit and to do some hiking. The drive via the Fnaydeq road is much easier than driving up their through Akkar El 3ati2a, and discovering Akkar is an eye opening experience that every Lebanese should do.
Anyway, we got those menus and were informed that, exclusively for Ramadan – at least for now – they’re introducing new fusion sweets that they’d recommend we try. The three of us figured that would be more interesting than going for simple ice cream or knefeh, so off to that fridge we went and got an assortment of items, the most expensive of which is $3.
To say we were blown away is an understatement. I don’t even normally blog about food or anything remotely related to it, unless it is to turn it into a “to be or not to be” story of course, but this felt like it needed the exposure.
The amount of creativity in those new Ramadan fusion sweets is amazing, and most of them are based on Ashta, which is a Hallab specialty. As a person who absolutely loves halaweh and will miss it very much when I move to the U.S., the sight of that Halaweh tart was enough for me to foresake all reminders of diet and binge.
To say that tart was heavenly would be an understatement. As my friend put it, the most accurate description is: this is blasphemy.
We also tried the Ashta & honey eclair, and I have to say it was as good as the halaweh tart. The mix between what you’d expect to be a Western delicacy and what is very decidedly oriental works very well. I have to say, it was even better than the normal uneventful eclairs we’re all used to having at the many patisseries around the country.
The selection isn’t only summarized with those two items. There’s also an Apple and ashta tart, a tart with mhallbiyeh, as well as raha. A new maamoul with chocolate ashta, a tart with amareddine and a bunch of other items.
My friend tried the apple and ashta tart and texted – I quote: “The apple ones are orgasmic even after two days in my mom’s tupperware.”
Those items are only available at Tripoli’s Hallab, and trust me they’re worth the drive. In another highlight for the massive creativity, especially when it comes to the culinary field, that exists in Tripoli, there’s nothing I’d love more than to highlight this triumph for everyone’s taste buds that exists up North.
Another reason to make the drive is the possibility to win a suhour at Hallab. All you need to do is to take a picture of one of their ashta items – that Apple tart or eclair come to mind – and Instagram it with the hashtags #RamadanKashta and #HallabAddicts while tagging their Instagram account (@arhallab1881).
P.S.: This is not a sponsored post, nor was I given any freebies to write it.
awesome blog, keep up the great posts!!!
After all that decadence at Hallab, the three of you are gonna have to come back to Ammouaa for a full-day hike.
Elie since you seem to keep making annonymous jabs at the tarts you describe in such a tasty way, why dont you just contact the person you seem to be directing your cynicism towards that way you can speak more clearly and blog about a 2 sided matter. You probably won’t though because you are just another follower who likes to write about your thoughts without getting to know both sides of a story you have no idea about. I apologize if you are confused by what was said. I’m pretty sure she apologized herself to the people that matter. If you have any more questions try to contact that person instead of making more unthoughtful jabs. Thanks. And enjoy the USA maybe there you will enjoy the freedom on being more anonymous than such a celebrity here in such a small country. For sure you won’t receive any gifts for free there. Take care and have a safe flight.
Are you okay?
Yes I am are you?
To Askme —
Lebanese owned shops in the States will try to give Elie “gifts for free” (edible ones) — if they know he is Lebanese. I have to get in the traditional ‘fighting to pay’ scenario w/ them & I am in & near NYC… not some very unpopulated place. (Usually they win as the line backs up behind us — watching us shove the credit card back & forth for three minutes).
Welcome to the States Elie! (A bit sad though as those of us living on the Moon — NYC etc. — will not have your blog posts on Lebanon. Or will we somehow?).
I wish I could taste these sweets. Probably I am going to try & recreate the easier ones in my kitchen. I don’t know how I never thought of (or missed?) chocolate mamoul. It is difficult to imagine how chocolate would not overwhelm the other flavours. (Mamoul is probably the easiest thing as I have made it so often). Watch future news reports to see if I have accidentally killed people w/ my culinary *experiments* based on these.
Safe journey to the States. (& I hope you have been here before: the difference in manners & hospitality is shocking & the stigmatising of Arabs even those here for centuries can be traumatising… Had one of those attacks against me this weekend & despite I am Christian/do not wear hijab etc.).
I’ll still be blogging, don’t worry!
And yes, I’ve been there multiple times. Exciting times ahead!
Amazing how you assume that person is in nyc or lives on the moon. How do you know? Do you personally know of who I was speaking about? Where are your sources coming from? And considering I was directly speaking to Elie I did not expect a comment from anyone else. I too welcomed him to the USA but of course as i mentioned as you read, that there won’t be any free things. You must live somewhere in la la land if u think bc he is Lebanese he is going to get something for free. Of course he can try samples for free. That yes, but if he wants to buy a box he probably would pay for those sweets that he described up above in his post. And to he clear I am speaking about Lebanese pastries not reference to tarts or any type of noun. Just food. I am American Lebanese and I know many restaurants on the East and West coast. I don’t recall which restaurant I ever went to that I got free things. Maybe in a supermarket aisle but not in the la la land you might be living in. And about the credit card that is flashed in front of an employee… well just means he or she can afford such a price if needed be. So please when you lash out or write something think before you speak or write. Take care. Elie is a big boy and very smart I think he can think and speak for himself. After all he is a doctor and a very educated one as he studied in AUB: according to his about me section and posts. I’ve read several of his posts because I find his writing very interesting. Some posts are unbiased and some seem biased and well sometimes his blogs spark my attention. Anyway Elie, as i said enjoy USA and don’t get confused with the laws of a country that does enforce and have police. We do have very good customer service and with the right attitude I’m sure you will enjoy each state! If you ever need some help ask a nice New Yorker or anyone for that matter on the roads for direction they will help 🙂 Bon Voyage!!!
I would have replied yesterday but I didn’t get a chance!
I am sorry to read about your terrible encounter with a mean Arab. I’ve had a lot of unfortunate encounters everywhere I have been with people that wear hijabs and ppl that do not.. and I’m Christian too. Some people are just mean and others are just asshole. Sadly I can’t blame their religion and what they wear bc some people are allowed to have bad days. We can’t generalize a whole group of people bc some others are extreme. That’s life I guess we live learn and we get to choose who is good to us and who is bad. Have fun cooking in your kitchen!!
To Askme —
I jokingly wrote to Elie that I am “living on the Moon” since I will need his posts to know what is going on in Lebanon. (This part was half joking also — in case you will want to attack me about how there are other ways to know that). I was not criticising anyone else who does not live in Lebanon (beside myself). It is called ‘self-deprecating humour’. (Making fun of oneself).
I did not say I had an encounter w/ a “mean Arab”. (Your words). I AM the Arab. (Which is obvious from what I wrote). The gang of people who bullied me were NOT Arab. Therefore your lesson to me on racism & equality feels wholly unnecessary directed at me.
I am tired of defending myself against angry blog comment attacks — due only to other’s reading comprehension troubles.
PS — to Askme —
Also it was & is quite obvious that I wrote that I AM the one who is living in & very near New York City. I’m not sure who you think “that person” was that I was writing about.
I haven’t addressed any of your other attacks in your long comment — because frankly I can’t make heads or tales of them & also I do not have the time.
Lol Zoe I think I understand you now and my intent was not to lash out only on you. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.. I’ll be in that area soon too and I only pray that I won’t need to be reading in my newsfeed that I read almost everyday (not on fb) another insane person driving into the streets of a crazy or busy road and running down ppl. That is crazy and the garbage that is happening here in Lebanon as i currently type this response is horrifying. Elie is a good reporter in his blog as i said but there are times when I feel some stories are biased. Nevertheless, Elie enjoy the USA!! Take care 🙂