Some of the greatest local products remain unknown, and I believe it is a shame, so I will be regularly dedicating some posts to tell you about my best food discoveries.
I will start with one of the best local dairy innovations – I think – till date! This star product is the stuffed grape leaves from Jaber Jaber Sons Dairy Company – أبناء جابر جابر.
Let’s describe the product first: grape leaves are stuffed with goat labneh then rolled into tiny perfect dolmas and sold in a small jar full of olive oil for 13,000 L.L.
I discovered them last year in the Beirut Food Festival – I wrote about them in my article back then “For the love of food… and chocolate“. I was impressed by the generosity of the people behind the stand, displaying all of their amazing products and insisting on everyone to try everything, not to mention that I was attracted by the Bekaa accent that I would recognize anywhere. I do believe that the Bekaa is the most generous region in Lebanon.
I think I fall in love with these dolmas when I had my first bite. I bought a jar back then, and served them as appetizers once. Everybody was amazed.
The jar – 300 g – contains 39 pieces of pure happiness. Ingredients, as per the jar: labneh prepared with pasteurized fresh goat cheese milk, olives and olive oil.
They last for up to one year, but do not worry about that. Once you open the jar, be prepared to watch the dolmas disappear in no time.
It is just amazing how elegant and beautiful they are. No one looked at them without wondering how they could get such perfectly rolled thin dolmas. I even googled them. I couldn’t find such perfect work.
And when you get to try them, the surprise! Believe me; you can never expect how good these simple ingredients match unless you taste them!
These grape leaves do not taste like regular canned fresh leaves. Oh no! They keep a pleasant slightly crunchy texture that shows the freshness of the used leaves. As for the olive oil, it is excellent. Forget about vegetable oils – or even water – that are regularly used in such cases. No compromises on any detail are made apparently.
Even though I just had some dolmas for breakfast – which I think is very normal by the way – I recommend you serve them as appetizers or as tapas – mezze – along with drinks whenever you have guests.
I believe I’ve said enough about these yummy creations to make you stop on your next visit to Bekaa in Mreijat and give them a try. And since you’re there, I suggest you try as well the capriccio – their signature sheep cheese – plain or pickled in hot oil. I’ll be telling you about it later!