& Wine of Lebanon
Lebanese sweets & culinary delights
Tourists enjoy a tasting at one of
top wineries, Chateau
in the Bekaa Valley.
Hors d'uvres, or mezzes, are the savory beginning
to a traditional meal while traveling in Lebanon, and typically include hummus (pureed garbanzo
bean dip), baba ghanoush (purée of eggplant), tabouleh
(parsley and cracked wheat salad), and lebneh (yogurt dip with
garlic). Hot pita bread, small bowls of olive oil, and fresh
thyme accompany these dips and salads.
follow and could include any or all of the following: stuffed
grape leaves, triangular pastries stuffed with meat or spinach,
kibbeh (minced lamb, bulgar wheat, onions, pine nuts prepared
in different ways), half of a chicken with rice, grilled chicken
or lamb on skewers, or fish served with tahini sauce.
of fresh fruit and bowls of roasted pistachios or almonds cleanse
the palate. Desserts are traditionally sweetened with honey,
jam, dried fruits, or molasses, such as baklava (a filo dough
pastry layered with honey or molasses and crushed pistachios).
no meal is complete without the national drink, arak. Arak is
an anise-flavored liquor similar to Pastis (the French version),
Sambuca (the Italian version), or Ouzo (the Greek version).
It is drunk as an aperitif or with mezzes and entrées.
Lebanon's great food culture is thought to be a major contributor
to the success of its wine.
After all, excellent wine is best
complemented with suitably inspiring food. Although inhabitants
of modern-day Lebanon have produced wine for over 4,000 years,
the past decade has witnessed a rebirth in the wine's reputation,
with British, French and other European importers highly praising
Compared to other wine producing countries, Lebanon's
production is very modest 6 million bottles annually.
Nevertheless, exports have doubled over the past decade, and
Lebanon currently exports 40 percent of the wine it produces.
are primarily found in the Bekaa Valley, where arid, sunny days
and cool evenings, create the perfect vineyard climate. The
three big names in Lebanese wine are Châteaux Ksara, Kefraya,
and Chateau Musar
(located in the Mount Lebanon region near Beirut).
produce wines that have won international acclaim, in the wine
press and in various competitions, and export a substantial
portion of their wine to Europe, North America, and the Near
East.Ksara is the oldest winery, founded in 1857 by Jesuit priests
who brought vines from Europe. Château Kefraya is the
largest winery, with vineyards that are 50 years old and a winery
that is only 20 years old. Château Musar is located in
an 18th century castle 15 miles outside of Beirut, but its grapes
come from Musar vineyards in the Bekaa Valley.