Chocolate shop in Beirut

January 6, 2010  • 

 

Most people will not picture a city like Beirut teeming with chocolate shops at every corner. In Beirut, chocolate shops are not only a tradition but a must; every neighborhood has not just  one but  usually several chocolate shops. In some shopping districts like Hamra, a single street will boast two or three chocolaterie-confiserie each more exquisitely appointed and glittery than the other; these are not franchised chains, these are  mom-and-pop  stores  with handmade chocolates and to-die-for confections.

Beirutis love chocolate stores for one main reason: What better gift to bring to someone than a box of chocolates, beautifully wrapped with a satin ribbon? Social obligations being what they are in this city, when a close or not so-close friend or relative invites you to tea or lunch or dinner or is convalescing in the hospital or is celebrating a birth, a baptism…anything! then a box of chocolates is in order. At the homes I visit in Beirut, I always notice little bonbonnières filled with chocolate candy in a gold or silver wrapper.


Every family favors one chocolatier over another; in my extended family, Nougatini is it! I can’t say how long my parents, aunts, cousins and other relatives have been shopping there, but the agreement is unanimous: they make the best chocolate  in town. My mother favors the dark, three-tiered one with toasted hazelnuts, I like the one stuffed with candied tangerines and my aunt likes the ones shaped like a daisy. Plus we adore the Barrage family that owns and runs the stores. I was there on my last day in Beirut to pick up a half-kilo box.

However,  I haven’t met one chocolatier in Beirut I did not like!

The store has several branches and is on the web at: www.nougatini.com


Comments

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  1. amal says:

    voilà qui donne envie de faire un tour au Liban…
    bisous

  2. Rosa says:

    A lovely place! I bet their chocolates taste great!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Nick says:

    When do you get back into the US?

  4. Nick says:

    Okay. Call me soon, when you get a chance.

  5. Bria says:

    Oh goodness. Those chocolates look amazing! You’re right–I wouldn’t think of Beirut as a chocolate destination, but now I have yet another reason to visit 😉

    Safe travels back to the U.S.

  6. Marysol says:

    Such an elegant presentation! But we are talking chocolate, so it’s only proper.
    Have a great weekend!

  7. shayma says:

    aaaaaaa! i had left a really long comment earlier, but it didnt go through. i shall try again: Happy New Year, dear Joumana. You must be mid-air as I type this, hope you had a lovely time with your fam in Beirut. I have just returned from Pakistan and London and have the end-of-holiday blues, having left my family and friends behind. I was so excited to see this post- my friend from Beirut gifted me a box of choccies from Nougatini- they were candied orange peels dipped in dark chocolate- one of the best I have ever had. your post brought back memories. i also really enjoyed the post about kaak, i love to read about street food from different parts of the world. safe landings, Joumana. x shayma

    • Joumana says:

      I can’t believe it! So you of all people know what I am talking about when I mention Nougatini and their wonderful chocolates! I need to check your blog and find out where you actually live! I thought you lived in London. Best wishes to you for 2010. Let’s all cook amazing dishes, that’s the best way to get over the holiday blues I know of!

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