So, the story of tasty and unique food discoveries in Lebanon continues. After Hanna Mitri and Ghattas, comes Dfouni. It all so happens that these three are in the Achrafieh area... but surely will be discovering other things elsewhere as well...
Back to today's discovery, the 'Pain Au Lait' at Super Dfouni. Known to be the first to introduce and make their own pain au lait in Lebanon, Dfouni has been using the same recipe to make their famous pain au lait for decades now.
In 1943, three brothers, Toufic, Rachid and Gebran Abi Aad joined forces to open "Super." Not supermarket but simply "Super Dfouni" serving Lebanese homemade cooking, bread, pastries among other small bites. In the early fifties, the three brothers decided to send their Chef to Lausanne learn the secrets of European pastry manufacturing, and he came back with a recipe a few knew at that time: "The Pain Au Lait."
Through word of mouth, Dfouni became very popular, attracting people beyond Achrafieh to taste their pain au Lait. Back then, there were no big factories to mass produce - so Dfouni was enjoying the limelight, who then became famous for a few exclusive products, which were used as a great marketing tool.
Even though days time has changed and people have evolved, a few artisans still exist today providing the same taste, enjoyed by one generation after the other.
A Swiss recipe straight from Lausanne made magic around town. It started with a Pain Au Lait; today sold in a bag of 10 pieces for only 3,000L.L. Ziad, son of Toufic works hard to maintain and continue what his parents have created. And believe me, food is part of their culture at Abi Aad's family. Especially that they are from the village of Dfoun, where food flows in the veins... It's not something they joke about.
The Pain Au Lait, small like two joined fingers is simply clean and clear. All ingredients are used adequately making it beautiful to look at, nonoily, nonpowdery, not watery, not chewy and not sticky. The experience starts the minute you open the bag and smell the fresh milk and light butter aromas. Take one in your hand to feel its fluffiness and lightness hidden inside a nice looking goldish rounded shape. Bite to feel the air bubbles created by the premium yeast quality. Milk, yeast, salt, eggs and wheat flour all blend perfectly to create a tasty creation great and better appreciated for its simplicity. You can push the experience even further by closing your eyes and feeling the pleasant texture caressing your tongue and palate.
Good to know:
- The Pain Au Lait is special indeed, and a must try
- These tasty bread bites are produced twice daily and today's produce is never sold the next day
- Two other different variations are sold by piece: Thyme and olive bread for 450L.L each
- Ask for your Hamburger or Pain de Mie bread at least 24hours in advance.
I also tasted and appreciated:
- Pain au Thym: An idea which started as bread to be served with plat du jour is today sold by the piece. It smells like fresh thyme. Perfect with labneh
- Pain aux Olives: Smells like green olives, non-oily, sticky and chewy like it should be
- Pain au Lait
- Homemade potato chips: Thick, crunchy and salty. A recommendation
Other provided services:
- Plat Du Jour delivery
- Catering of parties, events and weddings
My "Pain Au Lait" tasting recommendation:
- Eat the first one alone and appreciate its ingredients and taste
- Cut the second in the middle, add a slight layer of butter, ham and fine slices of pickles and get mesmerized
- Take the third, cut it in its middle, add a thin tiny layer of mayonnaise, Emmental cheese and thin slices of cucumber
- Take a Pain aux Olives or Thym and fill it with labneh, a hint of olive oil and enjoy
I'm hungry just writing about my experience. It's time you try it for yourself.