If you love Lebanese food, you’ll love the traditions associated with meal times even more!
In Lebanon, food is meant to be shared with the people you love.
That’s why we’d love to share our favourite Lebanese traditions with you so that you can adopt them in your own home.
They all emphasise the importance of family and friends, hospitality and enjoying your food with a relaxed dining experience.
So, read on to bring a touch of the Mediterranean to your Kiwi home.
8 Lebanese Traditions You Can Adopt At Home
Start With A Welcome
In Lebanese culture, it is customary to greet guests with a warm welcome and a friendly gesture. When hosting a meal in your home, greet your guests with a smile, a handshake, or a hug as they arrive. Don’t forget to express your gratitude for their presence as they have chosen to spend this important time of the day (family meal time) with you.
Gather Around The Table
In Lebanon, meal time is a fantastic excuse to gather and connect with family, friends and half the neighbourhood! So, you can adopt that premise at your place by gathering around the table at mealtimes. Lebanese meals are typically enjoyed in the company of family and friends. Set a table where everyone can sit together, share food and engage in conversation.
This encourages the warm and friendly atmosphere that surrounds meal time in Lebanon.
Serve Dishes To Share
When you are gathered around the table with the people you love, what better way to connect than by having delicious shareable dishes?
Lebanese meals often feature a variety of dishes served in a communal style. Prepare several of your favourites and place them in the centre of the table for everyone to share. This promotes a sense of togetherness and encourages guests to try different flavours. Plus, it stops food drama as everyone can simply choose the food they like the look of.
Mezze Starters (Or Mains)
As we just mentioned, shared dishes are a big part of eating meals together in the Mediterranean. And, the perfect shared plate option is Mezze!
Mezze platters typically feature an assortment of flavourful and colourful items, allowing everyone to sample a wide range of tastes and textures. These platters often include a combination of hot and cold dishes, so you have free licence to fill your platters with any of the small morsels you love.
Some common components of a mezze platter are things like hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel, pita bread, olives, feta, tzatziki, tabouli, chicken shawarma and more. By having a bunch of small dishes, it encourages your friends and family to sample different flavours and enjoy the variety.
Who Needs A Fork?
When you can use a key element of the meal as a utensil, you can ditch the forks and other cutlery!
In Lebanese cuisine, bread is often used as a utensil to scoop up food. Embrace a tradition the kids will love by providing fresh pita bread or Lebanese flatbread on the table. Then, encourage everyone to tear pieces off to scoop up dips, salads, or main dishes. Yum!
Savour The Moment
When you are enjoying time with your loved ones, there is no reason to rush. That’s why Lebanese meals are usually enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Encourage everyone that is seated around the table to relax, savour the delicious flavours and enjoy the conversation.
Life can be pretty busy and you don’t always have the time to see your loved ones as often as you’d like. So, when you have the opportunity to be together, avoid rushing through the meal so that everyone can fully appreciate the food and the great company.
Don’t Forget The Drinks
You are going to need some drinks to accompany your meal, so why not choose some traditional libations to go along with the food?
There are heaps of authentic options that you can include in your menu. Wine is always a popular choice with Cinsault, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc all featuring in the long history of Lebanese wine making.
If you prefer non-alcoholic varieties, then fresh fruit juice, Limonada (lemonade infused with mint), Ayran (a yoghurt based drink), or tea with mint or orange blossom water are all great options.
Finish With Sweets And Coffee
Once the appetisers and main course are finished, the meal experience doesn’t have to end there! And that is because Lebanese meals usually conclude with a selection of sweets and a cup of coffee.
The sweet portion traditionally contains desserts like baklava (a layered filo pastry dessert filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup), maamoul (a butter cookie filled with dried fruits or nuts), and knafeh (a sweet cheese filling with a shredded filo crust soaked in simple syrup).
The traditional accompaniment for those desserts is a cup of smooth Arabic coffee. Usually served in small cups, strong, and flavoured with cardamom, it’s the perfect flavour burst to end a meal.
Lebanese Traditions At Your Place
The basic premise that underlines all Lebanese meal time traditions is a welcoming and inclusive environment where food is shared and enjoyed together. It doesn’t necessarily matter what you serve or where you serve it, as long as you are with the people you love.
So, which of these Lebanese traditions will you adopt at your place? The cool thing is, you can adapt the customs to suit your own style and preferences by simply embracing the spirit of hospitality and togetherness.
If you bring the family, friends and venue, we can help you by bringing the food. Shop our range of authentic Lebanese foods to supercharge your meals and Mezze platters! Head over to the online store now.