Cooking, like languages, is one of those things best learnt in situ: total cultural immersion means total cultural absorption, we think. Want to cook great Lebanese? Jump on a plane and get chopping.
All very well and good, you say, but it’s not that easy to long-haul from Sydney.
Now help is at hand in the form of new Middle-Eastern themed cooking tours – or ‘progressive brunches’ as they like to be known – in our very own backyard. ‘I Ate My Way Through Granville’ is a guided feast through the bustling Lebanese hub of Granville, 22km west of Sydney. No visa needed and a short trip away by train. The once-monthly gastronomic tours kick off tomorrow, so yalla, get going.
Passionate Lebanese chef Norma Dakhoul starts the three-hour expedition with a feast of a breakfast including za’atar-topped breads and fresh cheeses. Next, it’s a dip into the colourful groceries, butchers, supermarkets and bakeries that make up the Beirut-on-Sydney suburb and a rundown of techniques, traditions and anecdotes from Norma’s childhood.
Leaving no room for girly appetites, a full mezze lunch at renowned Deek Duke restaurant follows. As well as the usual suspects like baba ghanoush, fattoush and falafel, it’s all about exploring lesser-known, authentic favourites, so expect nkhaat (lamb’s brains pan fried with garlic, lemon and coriander) or kafta (aka kofta: lamb mince marinated in spices), cooked in a variety of ways.
Wrap up the journey with a visit to a pastry palace – as no visit to Lebanon is complete without a sugar overload in the form of syrupy baklawa – before rolling home to wow those less travelled with your newfound expertise. When you can think about eating again, that is.
Bookings & details: www.iatemywaythrough.com