Who doesn’t love desserts? Perfect pieces of mouthwatering indulgences… But where can you find the best of what Lebanon has to offer, in terms of sweets, cakes, cookies, ice cream... Are you drooling yet? Lebanon has a lot to offer. Touring the world and trying out so many places in various countries, I realized that our little country serves some of the best desserts I have had to date. Join me on a tour around the country to enjoy some of the best in sweet delights...
Grab a Dessert at People on the Roof: Unique Orgasmic Creations!
Éclair au chocolat, Chantilly, sauce chocolat: This creation is marvelous! A crunchy toasted eclair filled with chocolate cream and topped with another cream of vanilla and awaiting to be drizzled with warm chocolate. Feel the crunch, the creaminess of the heart, the smoothness of the crown and the awesomeness of the dark chocolate. It’s so yummy, so good, so majestic... it made me smile.
Knefeh Fondue at Zuruni, Jal el Dib
Good food, all the way and yet dessert was not served: the knefeh fondue is a big hit, a signature. Melted cheese, bread crumbs, and sesame. Heated, the ingredients melt, ready to be enjoyed in a mini kaaka. I also loved the pancake katayef, three layers of them between layers of fresh Kashta.
Caramelized Banana Fritters: A Mouthwatering Dessert
I've rarely written a review about a single plate without going into the details of the restaurant itself but this creation deserves one! Caramelized bananas battered to perfection, fried to a crunch and served with salted caramel ice cream. Served on the banana split plate are chunks of very ripe bananas cut in slices and embraced with a crunchy batter. A light crunch with a heart of something so molten you cannot refrain from screaming in delight. Loved it, loved it so much... a finger licking experience, a cocktail of textures and flavors: a light saltiness; a strong sweetness; caramel and a boost of freshness! A spot-on creation that you have to try!
High Sweet: The Signature Dessert Made in Moukhtara
I called it "Ward el Mokhtara", a piece of sweet dough made of mahlab, butter, sugar, and flour, soaked in sugar syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The many layers crumbling one after the other under as you bite will instantly put a smile on your face. Wait until you've tried her other varieties... High Sweet also has Zlebiyeh - hard and soft - alongside a selection of healthy treats.
Al Daoukieh: A Dessert to Try Before You Die
Just imagine a layer of pistachio purée, green like grass, topped with cashew nuts and followed by a layer of ashta, and on top of it more pistachio mix with little sugar bits shining beautifully in between the nuts. The pistachio mix is so unique that it glides under your teeth, erupting with a rich taste while a strong flavor of pistachio caresses your taste buds. Premium quality, cold and fresh ashta (clotted cream) follows all this, melting together under your palate until you crunch into those fried cashew nuts, which put a smile on your face. While enjoying those heavenly mouthfuls, the last thing left to do is close your eyes and feel a perfume of orange blossom and rose water taking over your brain cells.
There's One Address for Kashta Desserts: Tripoli
Now for my all-time favorite Znoud el Set. They are heaven! One can't leave this world without experiencing this heavenly creation. Soft puff pastry, thin like paper, warm and shining like a gold bar, topped with ground pistachio and decorated with ashta. Just put it in your mouth and wait, wait for it to activate your senses, wait for it to amaze. Push it under your palate, hear it crumble, feel it melt... A smooth sweetness, a rich heart... Man, words are not enough!
PF Chang's Molten Chocolate Brownie
Wait until you've tried their molten chocolate brownie. Oh man! A big piece of brownie with a molten heart of magic and a very thin flaky envelope embracing it. Pecan nuts baked inside it just crunch in style with a light chewiness. A brown color from the outside and a darker one on the inside create a cake that's just superbly balanced. I never imagined I could eat a brownie that good, adding to it a scoop of Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream. Oh man!
Chocolate Brownie at The Gathering
Last time, I remember the chocolate crêpe which made it to my Top 10 list of desserts. Today, I tried their chocolate fondant and it surely made it to my Top10 desserts of 2015. A beautiful cylinder, with a crisp envelope and melting heart, a heart of dark chocolate fondant that will tickle all your taste buds. Not sweet, but rich and full bodied, the fondant is topped with powdered sugar, making it look good and taste better. On the side, they served ice cream in a cup, which was not as exceptional.
Ashta bel ashta, a dessert which deserves an award: Ashta ice cream perfectly prepared without any unneeded sweetness, topped with fresh ashta laid on a bed of flower jam and finished off with sugar syrup and crushed pistachio nuts. Dessert! Uff! Indescribable. Babel's Lebanese creations are by far the best in the country. Simple Lebanese sweets twisted and revisited, keeping their original taste with an upscale quality and freshness.
My Quarterly Dose of Enjoyment; Chili's Chocolate Molten Extravaganza
Redefined awesomeness! A molten heart of chocolate with a light and airy sponge cake topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce, covered with a chocolate layer and love, lots of it. Break it open with your spoon and let the fun begin.Love, joy, passion, excitement... You feel the sponge cake slide on your tongue while the warm chocolate tickles your taste buds before the ice cream takes over to enchant you. A hot, airy and moist cake richly filled with a chocolate fudge filling that will activate all your taste buds in seconds.
Roadster's Marble Mud Pie
Just imagine, in case you're not acquainted yet with the Marble Pie: A cake-like shaped ice cream covered in premium caramel and decorated with chocolate sauce. A signature mix of vanilla and chocolate ice cream embracing chunks of condensed brownies over a layer of a rich biscuit is just to die for. This mouthwatering dessert deserves an award.
Moelleux Chocolat de Cedrik at Au Bistrot de Michel, Achrafieh
The chocolate cake, melting like a heart in love, with vanilla ice cream on the side. Ouf, uf, wow, awesome! I have never eaten something that molten and that good. Wow. Bravo, bravo, bravo. It's worth visiting Michel just for this cake. A cake homogeneously soft like butter and with a taste like chocolate truffles. I think the photo below is enough to make you want to try it. Exceptional dark chocolate, pure chocolate madness, an unmatched flavor, a cake that will make you scream from joy. The textures are so nice, the outside is so light and thin with a molten heart of extravagant chocolate inside.
Chocolate Dreamcake at Sandwiched
And the Earth stopped turning… What is this?! A huge piece of chocolate cake that's surely not from planet Earth. Honestly...it's heaven on a plate. A triangularly shaped cake covered with a dark chocolate sauce floating on three layers of sponge cake separated one from the other by melted milk chocolate sauce similar to Nutella. Ease the fork down through it until it touches the plate and makes sure to have a mouthful of all the layers combined. As your tongue feels the different textures and different flavors, you start feeling heaviness along your eyes as they close all by themselves. Make sure not to moan too loudly...! An interesting sponginess, a lovely sweetness, a condensed richness and a cake that definitely is one of the best 10 desserts you can get in Lebanon. It's even better than the one I had two years ago; heated differently, thicker and richer. Ten thumbs up for this... because two are not enough!
Caramel and Nutella Pizza at Pzza.Co
We had one divided in two. Caramel and Nutella, both superb and different. The Nutella pizza is simply awesome! I am not a fan of Nutella, but believe me, this one is different. The dough absorbs the chocolate giving it an intense, sweet taste and a light crunch like no other. Combined with a light, salty taste that creates a one-of-a-kind flavor. Lightly crunchy and spongy dough that’s enjoyable all the way... But beware of biting your fingers.
The Pain Perdu at Gordon's Café is heavenly
It is just as good as the first time I tried it. A round piece of bread, carefully and lightly slacked in milk, warm and fluffy and covered with a mountain of walnuts… with all the secrets in between. It is simply breathtaking.
Other than the food and great experiences since 2002, Julia’s has been known for their desserts. The pain perdu, the chocolate fondant and the apple tart. They also have a good chocolate ice cream here. I’m a fan of the pain perdu which made it on my top 10 list of best pain perdu desserts back in the days when the restaurant was open in Monot.
You can't leave without enjoying Couqley's pain perdu
Indeed it is one of the best in town. A caramelized layer of sugar, a piece of moist bread loaded with milk and butter with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the right sweetness and more importantly not soggy. The chocolate tart, on the other hand, is way too buttery and extremely sweet. I couldn't taste the chocolate. Crunchy dough, crunchy walnuts and nothing else.
"Mouhallabiya bakhara" as Fouad describes it
Each and every batch is scented the authentic way with local "Bokhar". Adding to that meske (musk) specially imported from Greece and homemade rose water. Yes, the world’s best Mouhallabiya with no close competition. Simple and filled with flavours and aromas, this mhallabiyah is superb. I've tried them almost all: Halabi, Mum&I and even at my grandma's, none competes with Fouad's. Go give it a try, you'll understand. All the ingredients are perfectly dosed creating a one-of-kind adequately sweet dessert you fall in love with.
four of them stacked one on top of the other, light juiciness and a chewy finish. Add a drizzle of maple and feel the intensity of the sweetness while the blueberry kicks with a background of acidity. On the other one, a thick strawberry sauce and whipped cream awaiting a drizzle of maple syrup for the missing sweetness. I liked these pancakes, very close to the ones I enjoyed in New York.
Crepico Zalka: Dessert Madness!
Chocolate Obsession: Amazing, thick pancakes cooked in a mold, pancakes without borders, fluffy like a sponge, airy and tender... Two pancakes filled with Nutella and banana, topped with chocolate and served with ice cream. Amazing, simply amazing. Two thick pancakes, fluffy like magic, tender and not chewy, light in texture and intense in flavor. Bananas on top and some in the middle with Nutella topped with tasty nonsweet milk chocolate sauce... It's a love story.
Godiva chocolate cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory
Flourless Godiva chocolate cake, topped with Godiva chocolate cheesecake and chocolate mousse. Oh man, that's good! Thick chocolate cream, another smoother under it and the signature Godiva chic lake square. It's a dream come true!
The World's Most Famous Mont Blanc Cake at Angelina
This creation is simply outstanding: The crème de marron “spaghetti” on the outside is wonderfully textured and flavored – full of chestnut goodness and neither too moist nor too dry, neither too creamy nor too gritty, and neither too sweet nor too bitter, as some other Mont Blanc’s can be. My favorite part is the vanilla crème within that melts like butter activating all your taste buds. Yum. And the meringue heart provided a good measure of crispy/crunchy fun, with an added kick of sweetness. That's what I call pure fantasy.
What will make me come again are the desserts... Excellent desserts: amazing! They look great and taste awesome! Homemade chocolate Oreo tart served on a square plate decorated with lines of chocolate and crumbles of Oreo. That Oreo tart made my heart skip a beat. It’s so finger-licking good; the crunchy crust, the molten gooey chocolate cream, the chocolate chips, and its unique taste.
Grilled Banana at Le Petit Gris
Grilled banana: A full banana cut in half and cooked to perfection, filled with crunchy almonds and a scoop of ice cream. Super crunchy roasted hazelnuts with a scoop of ice cream from Oslo and melting, hot caramelized banana bathed in balsamic vinegar. That's good, that's very good indeed, a signature dessert worth a trophy.
Al Jardali Saida: My Favorite Knefeh
If you watch my shows or follow my stories on Instagram, you would know by now that Al Jardali Saida sells my favorite Knefeh in Lebanon. Thinner than all the rest, the knefeh is softer, less sweet and doesn't have a crunchy envelope on top. What makes it even greater is the bread, a very thin and non-chewy dough that feels like any traditional Lebanese flat-bread covered with sesame. I love it!
Mabroumet Nutella at Emm Salim
I came here for the famous "2erben" but this place turned out to have much more than that. Mabroumet Nutella or Ejjet Bayd are two amazing creations few know how to create.
Banana Pancakes at Home Sweet Home
Fine... everything was tasty... but leave everything behind and focus on the pancakes! Pancakes from space have landed on my table, pancakes with caramelized bananas, drizzled with caramel, sprinkled with pomegranate... spongy pancakes, amazing caramel, fresh sweet pomegranate, ripe bananas that melt like butter... OMG! This is so, so, so, good!
The carrot cake; it’s a love story with that carrot cake I’ve been enjoying since the day Deli.Co opened. Carrots, a load of carrots, cream cheese, sugar, and a moist cake. It’s so incredibly yum!
The MWARRA2A at Furn el Sabaya
The celebration, The MWARRA2A: on thin dough, double the size of the Manouché, a mix of almonds, walnuts, sugar, orange blossom and rose water is layered. These are the same fillings used to make Atayef. Take a closer look and discover their special way of rolling the dough inside out to create what looks like a bicycle wheel... very original. A thin crust that crumbles in your mouth while the filling caresses your taste buds obliging you to close your eyes and scream WOW!
Ambrosia Cakes, Saida: The "PuffNefeh" and Red Velvet Cake
Homemade Bakery creating exceptional creations: Check out the video! The "Puff-Nefe" is a must try.
Babas a L’Arak: Love, Passion and Patriotism in a Jar
Imagine a jar... open it and enjoy the aromas of Lebanese Arak. Fluffy balls, super juicy inside out, extremely soft and airy, soaked with Lebanon’s signature drink; Arak. What is known as Baba-Au-Rhum, changed by the Italians to Baba-au-Limoncello has been taken into another dimension by Clément Tannouri. Clément has created “The Baba” using Arak from Zahle and premium vanilla from Tahiti.
Lemon Cake at Passionnee de Gourmandises
Dome de citron, meringue, crème d’amande on a crunchy pate sablée! It’s on a thin crunchy layer of sablé with a thick pate d’amande together hosting lemon and meringue on top. It’s much more than the box or the cake's decoration, it’s the intense flavor of lemon, the custard-like textured cream, the smoothness of the meringue and the balance of the four layers, combined into a mouthwatering cake.
Katayef el Chidiac, Wadi Chahrour
My teeth plunged into a thin piece of dough that melts as it touches your tongue. The soft dough is pleasant to chew as the pistachio filling starts caressing your mouth. Moist pistachio puree, produced by people with profound know-how, cleaned to perfection and mixed together beautifully. Adequately sweetened, you can enjoy the smell of fresh pistachios in every bite stuffed into the fresh dough... It started with one bite, followed by another... until I found myself eating seven pieces in a row. These Karabeej are to die for! If you ask your parents or relatives, many will agree that Chidiac's Karabij is the best and by far.
Nassab Saida: My Favorite Maacroun, Ouwaymat and Mchabbak!
Searching for the best Maacroun, Mchabbak and Ouwaymat in town? There's only one address! Visit Nassab Sweets in Saida. They're different to any others I've previously tried. The Maacroun are soft, full bodied and most importantly without excessive sweetness. Simply the best, yes, the finest Ouwaymat and Moushabbak I’ve ever tasted. Adequately sweet, extremely crunchy, rich and flavorful, these are far beyond the commercial version sold on the streets. Nassab is a specialist shop selling these sweets exclusively. Try them for yourself.
"Maamoul Madd b Ashta" from Safsouf
I happily enjoyed some moist and fluffy Sfouf cooked the proper way. Juicy and adequately sweet nammoura with a lightly crunchy envelope. The Maamoul mad with pistachio is moist, tender and juicy, adequately sweet and full of taste. Amazing Maamoul mad bi Jozz (walnuts): I loved the flavor and the sandy freshness of the semolina. Maamoul madd bi Ashta is the signature creation each one of you should try at least once in your life. Lebanese oriental sweets, Kol w Chkor or Baklava were so fresh and not too sweet. A tender, flaky dough melting under the teeth was utmost perfection. Exquisite!
A Lebanese mille-feuille of a hundred layers
A hundred layers and more soaked in sugar syrup and infused with love. Lightly sticky and intensively crunchy the baklava cake made my heart skip a beat. Loaded with crunchy pistachio and spread with cream, the Lebanese dessert is like none I’ve had before. Two thumbs up chef! Other than that, a classy pain perdu that’s not too sweet and not too gooey; another success!
A Dream Crepe! The Lebanese Upscale Way at La Creperie
Wait! Is this for real? The dessert crepe is not a creation of this world for sure! I have never imagined having a crepe with Lebanese Influences, loaded with Kashta, showered with hot sugar syrup, and decorated with sheets of Halawat el Jeben. Inside the crepe, crushed green pistachio add the needed crunch, aromas of rose water turn the dessert into a masterpiece while the rose flowers add a charm to the plate. “This is surreal, this unique, this is memorable.” Bravo chef for such a creation that covered for the other plates and for the service that needs a lot of upgrading.
I travel all the way to Saida to enjoy the Sahlab, the Mouhallabiyah, the Riz b 7alib... This is a real heaven for milk lovers... come meet the king of Sahlab, Zuhair Hankir. I've been to the shop in the old souk twice and twice to the new shop behind Le Mall and I still enjoy it as much as I did the first day.
M de Noir: Lebanon's Gourmet Chocolate
Fine chocolate filled with a ganache of caramel with salt flower another with fruit pulp filling and a third with spices from Sri Lanka. Its a heart-shaped chocolate, bite into it and prepare yourself to be amazed. The ganache filling is unreal! Thank you for adding enjoyment to my weekend.
"Salon des Familles" Extravagant Milk Cookies are Made in Zahle
These are unbelievably tasty. The last time I was here, I remember eating something delicious where the milk was felt in every bite, an adequate sweetness and sponginess like no other. The texture was hard, a bit chewy. That day, it seemed they were just made out of the oven. I ate bites of heaven. An airy, light dough emptied in the middle, soft and tender like a pillow and bursting with flavors. Every bite is an indescribable cocktail of emotions.
The World Best Ice Cream can be Found in Beirut
Lemon: Indescribable. Better than any lemon sorbet I've ever tasted in my entire life. Not Haagen Dazs, nor Oslo come close to approaching a tiny bit of this extraordinary creation. A taste of pure lemon hidden inside this yellow mix, concentrated and soft, tender, watery and crunchy ice feel. In every bite, lemon zests explode to activate all your taste buds at once. An ice cream that melts like butter and leaves a pleasant aftertaste that lasts for long minutes after. Rosewater: The smell alone is enough to make you smile. The journey starts with the smell and continues with a flavor that embraces all your mouth mucosa. I love the pure white color this ice cream has. Just pure perfection! I would recommend not to mix rosewater ice cream with anything else as the aromas would cover all the other flavors.
Al Mandaloun's Nutella Galette des Rois -King's Cake
The ones I had this year from Al Mandaloun are out-of-this-world. Simple, smooth, non-oily and not heavy, one is stuffed with a creamy Frangipani and the other with molten Nutella. The cakes are addictive and enjoyable without being sweet. I would recommend these cakes to my friends.
The Red Velvet Croissant at the Airport
The croissant is a spot on: It’s less creamy than the one in New York, more upscale and gourmet, cheesier and has much more finesse to it. The red colored croissant is topped with red velvet crumbs and decorated with lines of chocolate then filled with a load of Mascarpone cream cheese among other ingredients. Bite into it and leave it to explode from all sides.
Double chocolate croissant at La Maison du Croissant
Yummy! The double chocolate croissant, they call “extra” is so yummy, I couldn’t stop licking my lips. Flaky and crunchy at the same time, the croissant is stuffed with Nutella then covered with a robe of milk chocolate. Chocolate all the way, inside out, served warm, adequately sweet and ready to draw a smile on your face. Yummy indeed!
A homemade signature specialty of #ghazir! An amazing biscuit creation stuffed with walnuts, a Lebanese kind of sablé that’s sandy and flaky stuffed with mashed walnuts in tiny little bits keeping the texture smooth and soft. They might look like Maamoul or biscuits but are in fact different on all front. Made of flour and no additives, the Maacroun can last for days outside of the fridge.