So as hubby & I were walking around a street fair in Broumana last weekend, we came across a stand of 2 small businesses that sold homemade products. As we walked down the road, there were plenty of sellers from Souk El Tayyib & others & we thought we would walk till the end & come back to them later. To my pleasant surprise though, at the end of the series of stands, hubby saw a friend of his & stopped to say hello. I was busy with Kyra at first & didn’t really pay attention to what they were selling, but as I took a closer look they seemed to have some interesting stuff.
Hubby’s friend Kameel Sawaya & his lovely wife Jenny owned a small business in the area that I hadn’t seen before. Their shop Beytouti is a family owned business that Kameel’s father had started years ago & they had revived with a facebook page, a new location & by participating in expos & fairs. They sold various products from scented & unscented “saboun balade” (olive oil soap), to olive oil, mulberry syrup & a variety of homemade products. We bought several of their products & I used the scented soap on my daughter that evening. And although I usually don’t like the smell of “saboun balade” at all, I loved using this scented one on Kyra & felt relieved to have found something completely free of harmful chemicals to wash her with. The mulberry syrup was heavenly & another one of their products, a sort of walnut based liqueur that actually tasted like amaretto was SUPER yummy (For all you DIY fans out there, the liqueur bottle would make an awesome table lamp :p ).
As I don’t give Kyra any refined sugar products & don’t plan on giving her any for a while, I asked if they had any sugar free products. That was when they introduced me to the owner of Eshmoon Holistics (also available at Beytouti Broumana), Samer Toutoungy who had a variety of sweet sugar free organic spreads. I was also pleasantly surprised to realize that Samer & I went to the same school, & felt proud that one of my old schoolmates had come up with such a wonderful concept. Not only were his spreads sugar free, but they were also vegan, gluten free & made with coconut butter. The chocolate carob spread & chocolate almond spread we bought were made with Cocoa powder, & even though it is technically a chocolate spread, I would definitely feel good giving some to Kyra as a treat from time to time. Carob is a wonderful remedy for constipation to start with & almonds are super healthy nuts for babies to consume. And so, I thought who would be better to try them than her? She had a tiny, tinyyyy taste of each & kept saying “more” after each one.
I still haven’t given her more at home, I think I’ll most probably limit this sweet treat to rare occasions for now as she is still too young in my opinion, BUT I now have a safe & healthy alternative for her grandparents to give her when they reallyyyy insist on giving her something sweet.
I wanted to share this with you all (especially my friends in the Metn area), because although the Lebanese saying goes *El knise el 2aribe ma bteshfe, this time it did. And now thankfully, I don’t have to go through Beirut’s traffic & heat to get healthy homemade products for my family, but can get them right here, close to home.
*Translation verbatim: The nearby church doesn’t heal (for non-Arabic speakers)