July 19, 2009  •  Category:


Almost everyone you meet in Beirut comes from a specific village outside of the city. My family is no exception. On my mother’s side, our roots are in Deir el-Kamar, also known as the City of Emirs (Princes); in my own prejudiced view, it is the most beautiful small town in Lebanon. Not only for the magnificent scenery of valleys, mountains, forests of cedars and pine in the Chouf area, not only for the historical sights such as the Palace of Beit-eddine, not only for the wonderful festival each summer  during which I once saw Andrea Boccelli and Kazem Al-Saher   but also for the memories of spending summers there since childhood and now for the past 10 years with my own children.

Well, Deir El-Kamar also boasts the best tamryeh in all of Lebanon, handmade for the past 60 years by Edouard Shami. His small bakery, a one-man operation, is on the town’s main drag. You have to order in advance, and these days, Edouard, who is well into his eighties, has cut down his handmade production due to some problems with his eyesight. His tamriyeh is exceptional: light as a feather, with a delicate semolina  filling redolent of orange and rose water. In addition to his talents as a baker, Edouard used to deliver the pastries and improvise poetry to the enraptured audience of guests, what is called zajal. I have been told that no one in Lebanon achieves the same results as him, not even his own daughter.

All I can say is that tamriyeh is it!! With a dough stretched so thin that it is translucent, a filling that is just mildly sweet with a creamy yet firm texture and an overall lingering perfume of rose and orange blossom. It is worth giving it a try and I promised myself that this year, I will try to make it from scratch!






8 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. stef says:

    hi — was just wondering if you’ve tried making tamriyeh yet? i have anissa helou’s recipe, but was just wondering if you have any additional tips. thanks!

    • Joumana says:

      Hi! I believe that Anissa’s does not go into the special dough for the tamriyeh. I did some research and found that this is a dough similar to strudel. I will be posting on it shortly, as i am still experimenting with it and I want to wait until I get it down perfectly!

  2. lebnmex says:

    Hello- I was looking for this dessert as my husband informs me that he use to eat it every year for St. Elias Day. Any luck on the recipe. I researched on line and I found a recipe at http://www.travel-to-lebanon.com/lebanese-food/lebanese-recipes/tamriye.html. I am going to try it tonight.
    Hope you are enjoying Lebanon. I laughed when I read your posting on the driving in Lebanon. Someone once told me that ….traffic lights are merely suggestions and that all Leb drivers are actually pilots in training that is why they straddle the traffic lines.

    • Joumana says:

      I am working on a foolproof and authentic recipe for the tamriyeh; one of my cousins filmed Edouard Shami while he was making it and I am going to get a hold of that film too!

  3. antoon says:

    is that edward el chami . when i was young i used to buy tamrieh from edward el chami and his father abou sleiman what a memory

  4. antoon says:

    joumana , when i was a kid i used to buy from edward and his father dessert and he used to make good ice cream too , his father used to wear el sherwal and abou sleiman was real old but hard working he made the best ice cream or bouza what a memory, so no more dessert , what about his children ? no intrest in business, are you related to him. hope he is f doing better and i wisj him recovery

    • Joumana says:

      @Antoon: My family is from Deir el-Qamar and we have a home there, that is why I know him, as all the townspeople know him (and beyond); his daughter told me that she tried making the tamriyeh like him, that he showed her, but she could not succeed. She has a small shop in Deir el-Qamar, but not a food business. I will find out more about him when I am there, hopefully in a couple of months.

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