My epic trip through Lebanon continued in the beautiful city of Sidon, where I got to visit an amazing sweets shop! Come with me as I visit an incredible Lebanese sweets shop in Sidon, Lebanon!
Sidon is a coastal city located roughly midway between Beirut and Tyre. It’s the third-largest city in the country. It boasts an epic history dating back to the Phoenician era in antiquity! I was excited to explore it with my friend and guide, Nico.
My stop for the morning was Al Baba Sweets, the most iconic sweets shop in the country! It dates back to the 1950s, and four generations of the same family have worked there. I couldn’t wait to see how they make baklava and ma’amoul.
Inside, I met the employees and headed into the kitchen in the back. We could smell the sugar! First, we learned how they prepare ma’amoul. They usually make it for Easter, but you can get it here year-round!
Ma’amoul contains white semolina, sugar, yeast, butter, and vegetable fat. I watched the mixer combine all the ingredients into a paste. Then, they fill it with cheese, chocolate, pistachios, dates, walnuts, or apricots. After that, they roll them out into little cylinder shapes entirely by hand!
Then, we went to another room where they made the baklava. Baklava can vary in shape depending on the country where it’s made. These square-shaped baklava come filled with either cashews or pistachios.
I also saw where they make the phyllo dough, and other stations where they roll them up into their shape, and douse them in ghee before they bake them!
They add the filling by hand. I even got a chance to put on some gloves and help them arrange the baklava on the tray. There were 450 on one tray! I was surprised at how light they were. They also smelled really nice!
I also watched them roll out the phyllo dough they use to make the baklava. Then, they bake the ma’amoul for 5 minutes. The entire process takes about an hour.
I also got to see another sweet called borma. It’s made of thick and crunchy strands of dough wrapped around a nutty filling of pistachios, cashews, or pine kernels.
After that, we headed back to the showroom, where they had all of the sweets on display. Nico and I got some pistachio ma’amoul with powdered sugar, date maa’moul, and baklava. The one with dates was soft and buttery, and the pistachio was grainy and quite tasty.
We also had two types of baklava. I loved the layers and the sugar syrup. The pistachios inside were incredible as well. They were all bite-sized!
Then, they brought us some lahm bi ajeen, a Lebanese meat pie made with minced lamb. This variation was made with puff pastry instead of in the traditional pizza-like style. It’s crispy on the outside and has lots of layers.
Our last dish of the morning was the knafeh, which is a traditional breakfast item made with semolina dough, Ackawi cheese, and topped with sugar syrup.
It’s so cheesy and decadent and has a nice, crunchy crust on top. It was the perfect way to end our time at Al Baba Sweets in Sidon, Lebanon!
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