Your Guide to Horeca, Lebanon's Biggest Hospitality Trade Show

I can’t help it. My heart goes aflutter each year when Horeca nears. At this annual forum for the hospitality and foodservice industries, I explore what’s new in the food world, from novel products to trendy cocktails. This is also my chance to speak directly with company representatives, who are manning the stands and eager to rub elbows with their customers.


At the opening ceremony of Horeca in Biel Pavilion
(pictured here, Elie Salibi of The Crashers bar serves
 a gin-Arak-basil potion)


Horeca this year boasts 350 exhibitors, spanning countries as far as Australia, the UAE, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Bulgaria, and even the USA. Apart from booths, there is a variety of live shows and competitions involving international experts and celebrity chefs.

I’ve already graced Horeca twice over the past three days, and here’s a highlight of my tour for those who are planning to go today, the final day of the trade show (hosted at Biel, from 3 – 9 pm). 


Castania
I have an interminable love affair with Lebanese mixed nuts, particularly seasoned kernels and jacketed peanuts (aka “cricri”). Castania, one of Lebanon’s finest purveyors of premium nuts, has a spacious stand offering passersby a cone full of nuts, no questions asked! You don’t even have to feign interest or beg for a sample—they’ll duly hand over the goods. 

In addition, cashews and almonds are being caramelized on premises at the cute Nut Hut. Sure, they’re cloyingly sweet, but Castania can be credited with pioneering sugar-coated nuts in Lebanon. Pity they neglected to bring along their addictive honey-roasted peanuts!


Prunelle
You have to wish that Prunelle were a B2C boulangerie, furnishing its services to the public, but alas, life ain't perfect. With arguably the tastiest, freshest selection of French bread you can find in the entire country, Prunelle caters to a substantial proportion of restaurants and hospitality venues. They’ve got an enviable corner perch at Horeca, and they’re slicing up fresh loaves by the minute! Try the olive bread dipped in sesame and balsamic.

Is it any surprise that Prunelle belongs to the same folks behind Babel? Talk about excellence across the board, from Lebanese fine dining to our daily bread.


Phoenicia Hotel
Now that you’re equipped with nuts in hand and a carb cushion in your tummy, make a beeline for Phoenicia’s stand, where resident mixologist Olson is crafting an Arak-based mojito. Swapping out rum for the so-called lion’s milk, the newly-arrived Mumbai drinks expert shakes things up (literally) with a potion you’ll slug back in no time.


Arak Mojito by Phoenicia Hotel's resident mixologist


Taanayel & Bonjus
Time for a bit of nourishment! The Taanayel stage coupled with that of sister company Bonjus never fail to impress, doling out mini saj and kaak stuffed with labneh or white cheese; skewers of fresh mozzarella balls with basil and cherry tomatoes; yogurt; and Ayran. Once you’ve gotten your fill of the savory, grab a cup, cone, or stick of ice cream for a sweet finish.


Wesley’s
This is your one-stop place to shop for imported international products, sourced predominantly from the US in addition to the UK and Italy. The Berrou family owns and operates Wesley’s in Lebanon, counting a full-sized supermarket in Jnah, an express store in Jal el Dib, and a third outlet debuting this summer in Hazmieh. 

Wesley’s Horeca booth resembles a mini-mart, boasting product giveaways, tastings (ask about the nut butters), and a raffle for a waffle-maker. Be sure you mosey up to Farrah and introduce yourself—the eldest Berrou daughter is congenial and more than happy to assist with all your grocery needs!



Wesley's booth


Nut butters and Tootsie rolls



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