Destinations, Food, Lebanon

Homemade Preserves: Savoring Breakfast in Hasroun, Lebanon

August 26, 2012

Our guest house breakfast in the little Lebanese village of Hasroun would doubtless cause any DIY food-swapper to salivate slack jaw at the sight of the decadent, traditional spread.

After a night’s sleep recovering from blazing sunshine and our Qadisha Valley hike, we awoke to birdsong and our hostess’s incredible homemade offerings: bowl after bowl of preserved and pickled pears, quince, apples, figs, and cherries; apricot butter, walnut and fig spread, cheese, olives, brown farm eggs, zaatar, labneh, and a steaming pot of strong, strong tea.

Hasroun is a beautiful red-roofed village in Northern Lebanon’s Bsharri District, a few hours drive from Beirut, and centrally located for our weekend adventure. Our hosts Jimmy and Madeleine had visited many times before and made the guest house recommendation.

The previous night, we four sat on the porch after sunset, eating a perfect dinner of green plums, cherries, haloumi cheese, tomatoes and cucumber, and rocket salad with garlic, discussing life and the world as we know it. Jimmy is Lebanese; Madeleine American. Ted and I are Oregonian-American (can that be a new term, please?). Where and how we receive our news, which ideas take root and grow, where we seek education and enlightenment, and how we watch our countries shaped by leaders at levels large and local: these topics and more propelled us into the wee hours, yielding more than enough food for thought for weeks to come…

Dreams and slumber passed, breakfast arrived, and we began our celebration of flavor and color, grateful for the hands that transformed the fruit of the land into this kind of feast.

The solo outside contribution to breakfast: Cafe Younes coffee beans (+ Nescafe mug. Sigh.).

Walnut & fig spread.

Pickled quince.

This is breakfast. No hipster flair. No trendy grocery store. No out-the-door line. Just real food made with wholesome ingredients grown and raised nearby.

Made with care. Served with pleasure. Shared with friends.

The very best.

With such a feast, we were fueled and ready to explore Hasroun side streets and drive the hills to the Tannourine Cedar Reserve. Stay tuned for photos and stories, and in the meantime (for the hint of a taste of our delicious Lebanese breakfast), check out Bethany Kehdy’s recipes:
Labneh – Three Different Flavors & Village Memories

Jams of All Sorts

This post dedicated to so many of my lovely friends who share the Food Swap DNA:
My Sustainable Food for Thought partner in kitchen crime: Emily.
Rebecca of Cooking Up a Story who landed the PDX Food Swap in the Huffington Post.
Kate, Emily, Meg, and Kim from the Food Swap Network.
Linsday aka Rosemarried who’s graciously running the PDX Food Swap while I’m out gallivanting.
And all of the guys and gals who get together each quarter to share and celebrate handcrafted goodness in Portland, Oregon. (If you’re in town and you love making and sharing homemade breads and pickles, brews and liqueurs, spices and mixes, preserves and pretties, basics and brand-news, consider participating in the autumn PDX Food Swap on September 23rd.)
Can’t wait to swap again, this time with a few new flavors up my sleeve!

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  • Reply Andi of My Beautiful Adventures August 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Wow, I want to eat like that every morning!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians August 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      Nothing better than homemade! : )

  • Reply Lindsay August 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Smart to bring your own coffee!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians August 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Ha ha : ) Yes. Using the Nescafe mug was a good compromise.

  • Reply Jennifer August 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Sounds like a delicious way to start the day and like a wonderful little guest house!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians August 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Really perfect! Our host Jacqueline really has a special spot in the world.

  • Reply Emily August 27, 2012 at 2:06 am

    What a delicious and inviting spread. Labneh for breakfast? Yes, please! I could eat that whole bowl of walnut/fig spread with a spoon.

    Lovely as usual!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians August 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Hi, friend!! I hope all is very well in Chicago : ) Missing you guys. I’d love nothing more than a feast like this with the four of you! I’m excited to hunt down some new spices and herbs to add to my kitchen collection when we return home. Hopefully 2013 will see us all seated around a table together again? : )
      Hugs to you, too xx

  • Reply jane luthy August 27, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I just love the pics of the food!
    I’m loving following your adventures.

    Love to you both,
    Jane 00xx

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians August 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks Jane, dear. : ) You’re such a peach to follow along. I hope you’re getting some good inspirations, too? I want to hear about your next adventure ideas : )

  • Reply Payje August 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Yummmmm I haven’t had a breakfast that delicious in a long time… or like ever!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians August 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      Ted and I love hosting brunches at home, and Jacqueline the guest house owner dished out some serious inspiration! Maybe we’ll have a chance to perfect our best copies of her dishes and can see about inviting you for breakfast if you ever swing through Portland : )

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  • Reply Kathryn September 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    A marvelous feast indeed! And all that for breakfast. Just as well you are doing all that walking. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your adventures and I’m looking forward to more!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 3, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Thanks so much, Kathryn!

  • Reply Kate September 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    That looks so good. You can’t imagine how you put my foodie heart into a tizzy with this post. Having a breakfast like that on a porch with a view like that…I’m not sure I would ever leave!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians September 15, 2012 at 7:53 am

      Oh, I can imagine!! ; ) I absolutely fell in love with the setting and with the spread… There’s nothing like experiencing the perfect combination of people, food, and place. Magnificent! And yep, very hard to leave.

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  • Reply Lara May 12, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Hello !
    It’s my first time here , i love your blog :)
    I am lebanese and i have been many many times to hasroun as a child/teenager . It’s such a nice village.
    Now that i live in france , i can say that i really miss these days …
    Îm glad that you had such a wonderful time in lebanon.hope you go there again .
    Regards xx

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