A simple message with profound meaning in Lebanon and abroad.
It all started in 2004, when Kamal Mouzawak launched Souk El Tayeb, Lebanon’s first farmer’s market bringing small-scale producers to Beirut as a way of uniting communities and supporting small-scale agriculture.
A “people’s development project,” as he refers to it, is held every Saturday in the heart of Beirut. This gathering of over 100 vendors puts farmers in direct contact with the consumer in an effort to recognize the farmer’s value in society and for the consumer to learn about the origins of the products. Souk El Tayeb has become one of the city’s hippest destinations with a move toward organic, fresh and rural – showcasing food traditions and the culture of sustainable agriculture in Lebanon. In addition to the weekly market, Souk El Tayeb organizes regional food festivals and produces a private label, Dekenet, the farmer’s shop, offering homemade goods and mouneh produced from these very same farmers. This celebration of Lebanese food, culture and traditions propels the message of #MakeFoodNotWar.
“This celebration of Lebanese food, culture and traditions propels the message of ‘MakeFoodNotWar'”
In 2009, came Tawlet, a branch to the farmer’s market. Tawlet, literally meaning “table” in Arabic, is an all-day farmer’s kitchen in Beirut that has gained international acclaim for serving traditional Lebanese home cooking in a non-traditional format. Every day, a different cook from varying regions of Lebanon shares the story of that region through food. Artisan producers from the market serve as guest chefs with a revolving daily menu that takes you on a culinary tour of Lebanon.
Tawlet has three locations: Mar Mikhael in Beirut, the Bekaa Valley’s Tawlet Ammiq and the Chouf’s Tawlet Beit El Qamar.
In 2015, under the umbrella of Souk El Tayeb, the Beit project was launched. In Arabic, “beit” means “house” or “home,” and more importantly, the family name. The Beit project consists of heritage-inspired bed and breakfasts scattered in various parts of Lebanon – each with its unique character highlighting the region’s traditions. Each Beit is named after its village or town, and offers guests the opportunity to learn and enjoy firsthand local traditions and indigenous food practices. Currently guests can enjoy Beit Douma, Beit Ammiq and Beit El Qamar.
Tawlet on Tour is a direct extension of the organizations’ message. Tawlet on Tour showcases Lebanon’s diverse culinary traditions to the global community. The Tawlet cooks have hosted events in Copenhagen, Normandy, Paris and most recently Geneva. The Tawlet cooks were invited to cook alongside Swiss chefs at the Geneva fair “Les Automnales” at the exhibition Centre Palexpo. In celebration of Lebanese Independence Day, a special buffet serving specialties from all over Lebanon was held.