The Lebanese Colorful Mezze Table: Sharing, Generosity, and Smiles, One of the Greatest Food-Gatherings on Earth
One of the world’s most fabulous tables is probably underrated: it’s time for the world to see it clearly, with fresh eyes!
Mezze is a selection of small dishes that gather people around. In Lebanon, mezze is often a meal in its own right. There are vegetarian, meat, or fish mezzes. Plates are rich, healthy, loaded with nutrients, fulfilling, and very tasty.
Groups of dishes arrive at the table about 4 or 5 at a time (usually between five and ten groups). There is a set pattern to the dishes: typically olives, tahini, chickpeas, eggplant, salad, and yogurt will be followed by dishes with vegetables and eggs, then small meat or fish dishes alongside special accompaniments, and finally more substantial dishes such as whole fish or meat stews and grills.
Did you know that a Lebanese table can have more than a hundred plates on it?
Naturally, the dishes served will reflect the seasons. It is not expected that every dish be finished, but rather shared at will and served at ease. Eating meze is a social event, a great gathering.
Signature plates are hummus, Mtabbal, raw meat, kebbeh, fatayer, tabbouleh, fattouch, hendbeh, balila, Mhammara, grapevine leaves, Fatteh, mashed potatoes, makanek and soujok to name a few. A Lebanese Mezze table ends with cooked meals and grills.
Let’s talk about Hummus! Lebanon’s hummus is the world’s best by far! It’s the smoothest, softest, most tender, and extremely flavorful treat the world has ever witnessed; Let me introduce you to the “cream” of wonders, a warm hummus decorated with chickpeas or covered with meat and ghee. As creamy as mayonnaise, prepared without garlic, the hummus is a dip, a main dish, and a recipe for fun and happiness.
I’ve had hummus, believe me, I’ve had hundreds of hummus around the world, and yet the ones made in Lebanon are the best ever. It’s just perfect, and perfection is only given to God; It’s like God came down to earth and created this Lebanese dream-food before going back to the heavens. Lightly lemony, enjoyably creamy, the subtle taste of tahini, and a kick of enjoyment at the end. It’s so finger-licking good to the extent of being unbelievable. Eat hummus with meat, with bread... consider it a whole meal or a dip. Hummus is an underrated Lebanese creation the world has to appreciate!
Kebbeh... another national culinary pride! "Kebbeh b Cha7me", "Kebbeh bel Sanniyeh", "Kebbeh 2rass", "Kebbeh bel Bassal", "Kebbet La2teen", "Kebbeh 7ileh", "Kebbeh 2rass", "Kebbeht Labneh", "Kebbet Batata", "Kebbeh Nayyeh", "Kebbeh Sajiyyeh", "Kebbet Jreesh", "Kebbet Rezz", "Kebbet 7ommos", "Kebbet Samak" the list goes on and on. Then there are Kebbeh like "Kebbeh 2arnabiyyeh", "Kebbeh Samakieh", Kebbeh Labniyyeh", "Kebbeh bel Karaz”, “Kebbeh b Kechek” and others.
Kebbeh: A national love story, the pride of our culinary culture. In all its forms and shapes, Kebbeh is simply marvelous. Next time you're in Lebanon, make sure to try the different varieties, especially with Labneh and Kammouneh.
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