One of the things that have changed between the Lebanon of my childhood and today’s Lebanon is that the Lebanese market scene is now filled to the brim with dynamic talent. A perfect example is this honey producing company, Atelier du Miel (tr. Honey Lab). From my vantage point, they ace every parameter. They are young and driven, creative, eco-conscious and filled with business-savvy; every so often, they come-up with fantastic ideas to promote their brand, such as workshops (making cool things using honey) or field trips to observe their beekeeping operation live.
I first noticed the actual honey, sold at their flagship boutique, as well as kiosks all over the city’s supermarkets and malls. In Lebanon in the olden days, one got a jar of honey, period! This time around, with L’Atelier du Miel, one gets to pick at least two dozen flavors based on what flower or herb the bees fancied. Each flavor is distinct and is recommended with certain foods or just plain with a piece of bread. I noticed eucalyptus, loquat, orange blossom, honeydew (forest trees such as cedar, oak or fir). In addition, these folks are offering pastries such as madeleine or financiers or the traditional mamouls made in partnership with a local NGO. Their gift packages include artisan honey dippers reflecting Lebanese tradition (glass-blown, brass, or inlaid wood).
Their business operating methods are eco-friendly: They are always on the move with their hives, from one location to the next, following blossoms and wildflowers as they appear throughout the country. After hearing about dishonest honey producers who feed sugar syrup to their bees it was heartening to meet folks who care and offer a pure, unadulterated product. Their bees are major travelers! Going North and South, feeding on banana, carob, cedar, Cherry, Clover, Eucalyptus, Fir, Jujube, Loquat, Oak, Cedar, Orange Blossom, Thistle, and Thyme blossoms , as well as wildflowers.
L’Atelier du Miel also opened a stylish restaurant and workshop in the trendy Mar Mikhael neighborhood and I had dinner there to check it out one balmy evening last Summer. The design of the restaurant is contemporary, Scandinavian, with neutral tones and a large outdoor terrace nestled between some crumbling old building. The menu was bistro food, with an emphasis on fresh salads and every item had one of their honeys in the ingredient list. I loved the apple smoothie and bulgur salad and my companion the endive salad with julienned candied orange rind. We also tried a platter of honey samplers matched with various cubed cheeses and fruits. I’d recommend this if you’d like to refine your honey knowledge, taste-wise.
Muted colors, greys, white and yellows and greens convey a peaceful feeling.
The sampler: A must if you want to learn something about honeys.
This bulgur salad was delightful and I would eat it every week if I could!
The apple dessert was my favorite.
This was a revisited tiramisu. The plating was a bit messy, the contrasts in flavors was just so-so. B+
L’Atelier du Miel also offers housemade confections (made with honey instead of sugar); since I crave sweets on a regular basis, but I am trying very hard to ban refined white sugar from my diet, I was tempted. I tried the mann wsalwa, a type of chewy divinity studded with nuts, and I tried the maamouls, both very good. In addition, they offer workshops at their restaurant location,in case you would like to learn how to make candied chestnuts and many other foodie delights, (all with honey, of course).
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