Five reasons to try Levantine food
Combining the variety of rich flavours found in the Levant, we take our guests on a journey across the Middle East in the heart of London. But what is the Levant, you might ask?
The Levant broadly encompasses Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Palestine, making it a kaleidoscope of flavour, spices, and culture. With a rich tapestry of variety and a kaleidoscopic history behind each and every flavour, Levantine food is to die for.
As if that wasn’t enough of a reason, here are our top five reasons why you need to try Levantine food:
1) It’s the food of the rising sun
The word ‘levant’ is French for ‘rising sun’. It was first used roughly 500 years ago to refer to folks living or working near the Mediterranean Sea who mediated between the East and the West. This intersection of art, literature, language, and most importantly, food became a melting pot culture that celebrated the world outside the borders of maps.
2) It’s the food of the ‘fertile crescent’
Nowadays, Levantine refers to the cultures and countries in the southeast corner of the Mediterranean. And in that corner of the Earth, humans embarked on their first adventures in agriculture more than 10,000 years ago. Fresh, locally-sourced produce makes Levantine food high-quality and high in flavour.
3) It’s the food of the Roman Empire
Although the ancient Romans may not have a rosy track record, it’s safe to say they had great taste in cuisine. Hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabbouleh were often feasted on by the Romans and Phoenicians back in the day. You can even read of skewered meats – a famous Levantine/Turkish dish – in ‘Homer’s Odyssey.’ The kebab is as old as poetry itself!
4) It’s the food of endless variety
With hundreds of spices at their disposal, the Levantine locals could have easily hosted the Food Network with their expansive cookbooks. Just take Levantine dips – a side-dish or simple condiment to some. But, the Levantines prioritise it above all, including several variations of hummus, alongside smaller plates of fadi (zucchini, yoghurt, lemon, and tahini) and hammera (red pepper, pomegranates, and walnuts). Even with just 1% of the Levantine recipe book, you can see how endless the flavour combinations can be.
5) It’s perfect for any diet
Chickpeas, tahini, halloumi, aubergine, peppers, zucchini, olives, pomegranates, mint, and lemon – all these are among the Levant’s staple ingredients, and perfect for Vegetarian’s and Vegan’s intent on an evening’s feasting, scooped up in strips of fresh-baked pita bread.