A different flavour to the Feria!!! Secret Dinner on April 26

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Whether you’re living in Seville or just visiting during the Feria the Abril, here’s the perfect occasion to mix the magic of the Sevillanas fiestas at the Feria’s casetas with an equally enchanting night at a secret dining event in the medieval city center.

The Feria de Abril Secret Dinner will be held on Thursday, April 26. [Ladies are encouraged to come in their Flamenca dress] Continue reading

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Maamoul sweets for Easter

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My mum is here visiting, and having three generations of Lebanese women in the same house always means some kind of culinary crusade, especially when there’s a celebration involved.

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So it all started on Wednesday when I mentioned the walimeh (feast) we always had over… Maamoul sweets in Lebanon during Easter vacations when we were kids. Maamoul are delicious small semolina pastries filled with ground nuts or dates. Of course my 6-year-old daughter immediately jumped on the idea and insisted we start the same evening with the dough. My mother and I didn’t need much encouragement anyway, and before long we were running for errands right on closing hour.
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Secret Supper on April 21st!

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A secret supper coming up on Saturday the 21st of April in Seville.
Planning a special 7-course Lebanese menu with a few surprises! Come for the food, the ambiance and the opportunity to meet new select people in a surreal setting.

8 guests –Fully Booked
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Semana Santa

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We’re in the middle of Semana Santa in Seville, and big chunks of the city’s public spaces and roads have been cut, reconfigured, occupied by thousands and thousands of chairs and fences; balconies, the spot of choice to watch the passing cofradías carried by the costaleros (yes, the scary hooded guys), were draped in red and paper olive tree branches in expectation. The city tram got partly dismantled (yes, yes), and convenience booths were installed by the municipality to smooth the week-long event: from lactation rooms, to stroller cloakrooms, to public toilets and changing rooms for the nazarenos that follow the cofradías… you name it.

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Sevillanos take this event very seriously. I was returning from a night out with my hubby the other day and there I bump into my nice typical Sevillana neighbor with her 2-year-old daughter dressed like a 1940s doll. The poor little girl had an embarrassing incident while waiting for the procession to pass, at 11:00pm, in the cold, under the rain, with no protection but a mini light wool jacket and thighs. The mother assured me that it never happened to her girl before, and was genuinely surprised. Just the thought of my 2-year-old boy cuddled in his warm bed since 8:00pm made me smile: Sevillanos are indeed dead serious about their Hermandad (fraternity), and during the week-long competition between their respective Vírgines, they just subdue every other part of their life to the event.

With time, the religious Semana Santa has become more of a social event, where Sevillanos compete, socialize, show their social status and… have fun among themselves. As with most other major events here like the Feria de Abril, it is primarily meant for the locals, and the occasional tourists are just ignored. The Semana Santa is for socializing what the Feria is for business.

On the other hand, one can’t help but admire the resilience of the Sevillanos in this time of financial crisis: they certainly do know how to keep that smile and good spirit going during tough times! The city and people have this soothing effect on you, whether you’re living here or just visiting.

So my advice to you is: just let go and enjoy your time in this wonderful city, and let the contagious allegría carry you way beyond this week!

Feeding people in guerrilla mode

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Before anything, I have to warn visitors of this blog that communicating has been a constant struggle for me, mainly because of the conflictual environment I have lived in most of my life. Deciding to commit to sharing my thoughts, experiences and (many times) deceptions is a bold step and I might repent… I much more prefer to cook instead.

In Lebanon, giving your opinion (and believe me I am quite an opinionated person) only gets you into trouble. That’s probably why, like most Lebanese, I put such passion into cooking and feeding people around me. My kitchen is my battlefield, and I love bringing people together around a table and making them forget their differences. Most people claim that music is the universal language, allow me to believe that food is a close contender for the title.

I find the term [guerrilla dining/guerrilla lifestyle] ironically fitting for my culinary activities, as it is both a natural evolution from and a constant reminder of where I came from: the art of feeding for the survival of body and soul.

Having said that, the surreal contrast between my old guerrilla and underground history, and the current ideal settings of my events spices up the dining experience. Come to my secret dinners and get a taste of it!