Celebrations in “Mazraat el Toufah”: Uniting a Village Around Hrisseh! An Emotional Day!

After a week of being away, I’m back to A7la Balad Bel 3alam (the most beautiful country). This is how the episode starts in a village called Mazraat el Toufah. You can get to it from Ehden on top or Bkesba from down. In the middle, it’s located in the North, the region is nice, old and calm. I won’t tell you more than that, we won’t just eat traditional food… On the swing I am sitting calm and relaxed. i’m drinking coffee, and the Sunset in Mazraat el Toufah. Meshwar (trip) starts now. Maison Bleu is a guest house but it’s more than just that, it’s a village. Look at the people behind me, I think almost all the village gathered together so that we have dinner… I will show you the kitchen a bit, and Terez in the kitchen. The drinks are being prepared, the Arak… The vibes are just like family, I feel like I’m home. Onions in the meal! No, of course not now we are removing them for Fattoush. So that you can eat from the, obviously without onions. Tony and Terez, the house they live is a huge house, they live inhalf of it… and the other half are for the customers. Yes right, Maison Bleu is the other half. Now we will have dinner and I will tell you about the idea, inspritation, the view about everything. In the historical house of youths. I really feel like i am at home. We met 5 minutes ago, just for the record. This is cheating, before I eat with them outside. Egglant in a lettuce. This is not cheating, this is being very hungry. God bless you. This eggplant is amazing, I tried it inside the kitchen and i got the plate with me. It’s unbelievable. We ordered a special request which is Labne at the end… Kebbeh without Hummus or Labne doesn’t work. Sambousek with labne is great. Labne is the replacement of ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, everything… The most important dip. We call it the Gold of Lebanon. Amazing. Because my mother is from the village she had places in people’s hearts. So that we remember her, we did this house. I’m so happy and so excited, I will fiish my dinner… sleep early and wake up early to swim in the heated pool So we go sleep, I finish my dinner… and eat right, tomorrow morning we have breakfast with them. The day of Mazraat el Toufah starts What a village, if that’s how it is tomorrow… I don’t feel like leaving. Good night. When someone starts his day with a gathering like that Vegetables, cheese, thyme, a special breakfast. with amazing people, setting and village. and you tell me it isn’t A7la Balad Bel 3alam (the most beautiful country)? Today starts in Mazraat el Toufah, Tony and Terez thank you for your hospitality, and I will introduce you to Antonio he called me and tols me to come check out his village Mazraat el Toufah. They have a tradition in the village, that when there’s Eid Saint Moura they cook Hreeseh. It’s today, so let’s see how they do it. How it’s being prepared throughout the day, while having breakfast. How good is this cheese! No way. I slept with the window open, the weather was great. I felt like I was friends with the Rooster. Yes ture. I was on the other side. The rooster woke me up after 5 minutes. Someone changed it’s alarm. But I can tell you that I was a guest here in Maison Bleu, and I felt like I am part of the house. The house of Tony and Terez was very special. I felt like I’m home and no longer a guest here. I met him last night, we don’t know each other from before. We spent the night together, everyone slept in his room! We woke up to have breakfast together. We felt that we’re relatives for real. That’s true, those are the traditions in the village. I dont know, but you feel like you belong to this region, and to this loving family. The sleep, hospitality, breakfast were all great. The dinner was very good, and from here I have a tour around the old market in the old streets of this village. Before we continue to the second breakfast there’s sage. Mazraat el Toufah is special with it’s beautiful and special geographical region. That’s in the middle of, and surrounded by pine trees. Mazraat el Toufah is the egg-like shape that the Phoenicians, the symbol of the resurrection. May God bless you. This is the house of Bemin Al Khoura, the house of Philippe Al Khoura, From what year? This is the house of her husbands grandfather. Two things are being prepared today, Hreeseh and the Smoker. so let’s go see the smoker, light the fire, and get back to it in a while. Antonio, we met because he does smoking, and very good meat, and because he left everything… and came from Australia with his family to the village. He does amazing meat, and he didn’t learn how to cook it in Lebanon. Arish, Peache, Cherries, Oranges, the thin ones are apples, and oaks. The oak branches that fell in natural disasters or due to snow. We don’t use firewood or buy it. We don’t come near the goods of the village. A small village next to the church there’s a furn, were the youth gather and we met… Risallah Mechreb. Risallah Mechreb who has an amazing mustache! I live in Australia. You live in Australia and you come here to the village. for 6 months. 6 months here and 6 there. How long have you had this mustache for? 50 years. They’ve been there for 50 years! They’re amazing! Thanks He took with him the traditions of Lebanon to Australia. I imagine when you walk on the streets they say, he’s Lebanese! This is him! We got to the furn, we have sage on one side and an oven from the other side. We will try a manoushe, cheese and thyme… do you have anything special? Whatever comes to you rmind. Labne with vegetables, thyme with vegetables… Thyme with labne and vegetables. Okay coming rightup. Great, Thyme with labne and vegetables. This is the magical breakfast. In Mazraat el Toufah, you can eat a manoushe there’s only one furn. It’s only been open for 2 months. We will see if they have a good manoushe. I ordered a Thyme with labne and vegetables manoushe. and cheese in the oven. It’s new to the extent they haven’t named it yet. So furn the village next to the church. I went to Australia in 1970. In the 1970! I stayed there till 1985, and it was my first time back. After 1985, I started coming and leaving after my parents passed away. I started spending 6 months here and there. Tell me about the village in the old days… This village was the most beautiful village in all the region. They used to call it the ruler of the region! These rooms here, were a supermarket. It was full of shops… we had a windmill down the alley. We had lots of apples, and the garden was full of crops! Eat with me… Thyme with labne and vegetables! I have cheese and thyme. Cheese and thyme. Which is better? Mine of yours? No of course mine! It’s very thin and it’s crunchy. Labne that’s chilled, and vegetables. The crunch of the cucumber, and the thyme are strong in taste. Wonderful! You don’t want to try mine? We’re full! Greetings! It’s around 200 years old. It’s from the wood of Cedar trees. It was for the father of my grandfather!! The father of your grandfather! I don’t have the guts to touch it! Markouk bread, Labne, and vegetables… in the village of Lebanon. I feel like I’m a kid who his parents took to Disney Land! I’m here to learn. The handsome young man! Thanks. What’s the best way for someone to peel pomegranate. I have planted these! Yes… They’re the goods of this year. She has experience in peeling them, so let’s see how in the best way, without splashing it. It’s the season of pomegranate? Now is the season? Yes they pluck it now. They’re from your garden? Yes in September. It’s the Eid of Saint Moura, it’s right there haven’t you visited it? Go visit it. Eid Saint Moura the pomegranate are plucked? Yes. The village’s name is Mazraat el Toufah… Wht’s the relation of the village with apples? Let’s go ask the Mayor. Chief, good morning. Hello. How are you? An apple for you and an apple for me. This apple is really good because our land doesn’t drink water… We have a minimal luck with water. That’s why are apples taste so good. They taste so good, I can prove that because it’s the second one I eat. But tell me why it’s called Mazraat el Toufah? Since it’s the first village that grew apples. From 320 years. the first village that grew apples and we had huge amounts of apples. But as we said since we don’t have water for watering plants.. The apples began to dry and the ones who worked with apples all passed away. The thing that I felt in the past 4-5 hours, or from last evening, that the greeting is great the smiles on the faces, the love and the gathering of the village… especially that we’re in weekdays. I’m so happy here thanks for your hospitality. You’re welcome! We’ll enjoy the apples together, and we continue the tour. Greetings! You didn’t get apples with you for us to eat… I will continue the tour and show you the natural and cultural places in the village. But can we see what happened to the meat? Smoking means to light a fire aside… and for the food to be cooked on the smoke of the fire. You use types of firewood and each one gives a flavor… from oak trees, to fruity flavors to apples… figs and cherries. A rock that’s very long, not soil or mud… like we see in Lebanon. A very long rock I never knew existed. The longest wells in the middle of a centipede it’s full of trees! A well from the top of the mountain till down. I will show you pictures of it using the drone, the water is minimal since it’s Summer. But the first thing I will do when it rains, is come here for sure. Drone shots from the top! The view is amazing and I am definitely coming back in winter. While we discover the views and smell the fresh air… let’s see what happened to the Hreeseh. The meat started cooking well. In 2 hours… we have to add the wheat. The view is mind blowing, the water, the colors the sun hitting, the shade, the color of the water and nature. The cleanness is maximum! Come here, enjoy and take advantage of Mazraat el Toufah… but most importantly leave it the way it is. We have amazing places in A7la Balad Bel 3alam (the most beautiful country)! Our role is to maintain them so that they stay beautiful! For our kids and for the next generation. The village is nice, I’m having a walk… I’m taking a look, breathing and taking pictures… but in the mean time the meat is still getting ready. Let’s see what happened to the meat. the heat is constant at 225. It’s called blue smoke since you can’t see the smoke you have to focus on it, it’s very clear. That’s how you know you’re doing the proper smoking. The products has to be brown to golden color by now. We still need 2 hours for the baby back ribs, spare ribs. And for the rib eye it needs 3 hours or 3 hours and a half. See you then! My uncle bought the first floor and he built the rest. The rooms above are 99 years old… they haven’t passed the 100 years. Because he built them… in 1923. How do you see the difference in life from the 30s till today? Ohhh! From the 30s! It was wonderful! It was nicer? You want to know? My neighbor, excuse me wouldn’t eat if he didn’t invite all the neighbors. They used to eat, drink and sit together. Now each one who wants to eat… sits on the side and closes the door. So that they don’t see him eating. We say hi, they don’t answer back. The old days!? All this climbing just to show you the house. In the old stairs i’m walking in the village, from tree to tree and house to house, it’s nice! In the mean time the Hreeseh is getting ready and the meat also. Let’s see what happened to them. Here there are 4 cooking boxes. 2 for the Hreeseh, 1 for the Kamheye, and this is for the water whenever the water decreases in the Hreeseh while it boils, you’re forced to put water. The Kamheye you eat after the Hreeseh as a dessert. Cheers to this gathering, and cheers for the dead! Uncle Rizk is so special! We drank for Lebanon, and the village, and for all the people. Greetings ! I hope you stay healthy. From the morning we were seeing how they are preparing, now it’s time to have lunch its 2:30 PM. The guys behind me we will meet and we will see what they prepared from the morning. I only ate a manoushe since the morning, this is not my habit in my episodes… for real. Very intense, the meat is great. It’s not chewy. Flavors of the sauce comes all the way from up to down. not only down, because the barbecue sauce is spreaded We are taking the other one that has pineapple and beetroot. Very nice. Look at the proportions Bread very minimal compared to the meat, it’s almost 1 and a half times the bread. You don’t feel the bread too much it’s not chewy. The sweetness of the pineapple and the beetroot. The meat is cooked well. It’s thick and juicy. Potato bun, juicy meat, a bit of sauce, very simple… cheese on top. Look how juicy on the inside. It’s great! No garlic, no onions… Onions? Basal (onions in Arabic). No Toum and No Basal ( no garlic no onions ). This is it. Good, good. Singing in Arabic: When you lips… come near my lips, I go insane and my heart beats get tired…. When your lips come near my lips, I go insane and my heart beats get tired…. Apples, we’re back to Mazraat el toufah we found the missing paradise. We directly started playing but you didn’t tell me about you… tell me how you started and with who you played? I… played with the professor George Wassouf. with Abed Waghe. also with Samir Hanna. Tony Hanna, I lived in Beirut You know, wars and stuff and then I traveled I went to the Southern Korea to Seoul. To Manila to the Philippines You went to play Oud? Yes if i show you the tickets, they were Arab Ambassadors Singing: Greetings for our loved ones… Greetings…. with the loved ones and the close to our hearts. What’s the secret of being positive and this amazing smile? This is a blessing from God. This is the work of God. The one who makes people laugh… you can go to a region in a second, you can make millions sad, but you can’t make one laugh. This is a blessing in life. I went to the doctor… I was not feeling well, he asked me Abou Hanna do you smoke? This cigarette will kill you slowly, I told him I’m not in a hurry. Thats a good one. Abou Hanna is an important person… you always visit him in the village? Always he’s our neighbor! You go up to him every week half an hour, it’s the best medicine. You put a smile on the face. We see him everyday with our coffee break. We started at 11:30 AM, it’s 4:30 PM, almost 5 hours there’s no fire as you can see under them It got cooked on the smoke only, the heat came out only on smoking. To an extent it got smooth… it’s smooth and it melts. Like butter under your mouth. Waw very juicy! Yes stare at me.. we continue. That’s how you pull them, One by one, look at how thick the fat is the meat… he went to get a knife. Oh my God! Waw for real! One minute. It needs courage for someone to eat it the way it is. Some of you might say this is too much fat! It’s the best thing in the world, and who doesn’t eat that never will understand food. Super enjoyable! I will cut for everyone present, thin pieces so that they eat them like that without bread. The first piece of couse.. for Antonios who’s here by my side, please eat it like that. I told you the guys are good! I advice you to eat them… Nice Very nice Thank you… You can stare at it! Cut a piece. Waw for real! For real waw! Whoever doesn’t like fat this is waw! The smokiness red on the outside not on the inside… a very white meatk, very juicy! It’s full of pepper from the outside! It’s water from the inside. It tastes wonderful! It put more than a smile on the face, no way! I washed my hands for me to stop, but i couldn’t A long day, it’s 6 PM and it’s time! It’s time for Hreeseh, after we ate pork belly, and burgers… I had a tour in the village and checked the old houses, I met amazing loving people. The nice smile, and good vibes… it’s time for Hreeseh! Hreeseh here we come! We keep on steering to remove it’s unwanted substance, and when it boils we add the wheat. You remove the unwanted substances you remove them all then add the wheat? yes.. after 4 hours of it boiling, the meat would be cooked and i add the wheat. I put it on low heat for it to relax When I add the wheat i can’t touch it only with wood. So when you start steering it will become solid, right away! Look at the wheat. 25 kilos of meat and 20 of wheat! And water… so there’s around 70 to 80 kilos! It needs strength! To the sides… There are bones, it directly became soild and held together. What you’re seeing is work on minimum 10 hours without the preparation before time. What comes out is… something that’s stretchy doesn’t look good but tastes amazing! The Hreeseh is known in the chicken. But we are eating it with meat… it has wheat and super healthy… It’s heavy and it keeps you warm. It melts under the tongue like butter, it’s pepper is great! The meat becomes like butter, you no longer feel it. Guy’s it’s great! You’re welcome. This is what gathers us, the Hreeseh, our meals and the village is all here, and I hope we live this again. You too! The smell of blossom water… rose water and blossom water and sugar… And that’s it. Let me put more… I’m still blowing on it. Wheat, sugar, blossom water, rose water, and it’s so light. It’s very good. You have to love wheat. And the dessert is the night of wheat! And we won’t eat tomorrow all day. The praying is over. The village came to celebrate. We are mixing the Hreeseh. It’s ready to be eaten, welcome guys! Greetings. Did you pay? An episode for of emotions and feelings I started at 7 AM… it’s 7 PM and I don’t want to leave.. A village that doesn’t really have restaurants and shops, not much to do… but it kept me here 12 hours… and I don’t want to leave. This is Lebanon, A7la Balad Bel 3alam (the most beautiful country), where people love each other… They’re gathered, they believe in their land, the food gathers them… and lots more. A smile on their faces, they only want to live, and look up and pray and say thank you you gave us the best land ever! Meshwar (trip) ends here, and I hope I always could show you, A7la Balad Bel 3alam (the most beautiful country)!!!

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