Annette's: Heaven For All The Low-Carb Lovers!
Last Friday, I was invited to participate in a unique baking experience at Kitchen Lab in Gemmayze. I’d seen postings on Beirut.com for cooking classes at this space, but I’d never been nor had I stumbled upon it in my amblings about the city.
Kitchen Lab sits at the foot of St. Nicolas stairs and features over a dozen small kitchen stations where aspiring chefs can experiment during instruction sessions. The culinary school also sells kitchen utensils and appliances.
That evening we gathered to meet and greet Annette. Who’s Annette? Well, she’s the mascot for a totally new and revolutionary product lineup that’s beginning to trickle in to the Lebanese food scene. Annette’s makes products that are “caringly low carb,” as its slogan goes, ideal for diabetics and the health-savvy who aim to curb their carbohydrate intake and in turn glycemic index.
Over the past two years, an international team of nutritionists, dietitians, physicians and food technologists labored over developing specialty flour with high-end quality ingredients. Not only that, but taste was at the core of the creative process. So what products did they come up with? Try Arabic pita (brown and white); sliced white bread; ready-mix flour; pasta; toast (brown and white); and bread chips in flavors as delectable as chipotle and zaatar with labneh.
Friday night, we were invited to become acquainted with Annette’s offerings, and we started by baking the quintessential Lebanese pie, a mankouche bi zaatar. The low-carb dough is purported to contain 70% less carb content than its regular flour counterpart, as well 31g of protein and 1g of sugar per 100g of product! Fiber, you ask? A whopping 32g or 128% of your daily recommended allowance!
Flour, water, a pinch of yeast and a tablespoon of oil formed the dough, and ten minutes of rigorous kneading and a half hour of proofing later, it was ready to be rolled. After smearing the dough with zaatar and olive oil and thrusting it into the oven for baking, out popped a fragrant mankouche that tasted as delicious as it smelled. The crust was discernibly more complex in flavor and denser in texture than standard white dough, and I rather liked it that way.
I also had the opportunity to sample the toast, bread chips, and sliced bread, which as canapés came piled with smoked salmon and cream cheese or bresaola with rocket and cherry tomatoes. Honestly, you would never suspect anything unusual or awry about Annette’s low-carb creations. They’re neither pungent nor off-puttingly fibrous in the manner that many health products tend to be.
|Bresaola and rocket on Annette's white pain de mie|
|Other canapes we savored incorporating Annette's products|
Where can Annette’s goodies be found? The complete list of locations is posted here and count among them Bou Khalil and Le Charcutier supermarket outlets. You’ll be swept away with their packaging, which is so professional and intelligent in its nutrition labels that you’d think they’re an international brand. It makes me fiercely proud to see local companies like Annette’s making major strides in the health foods industry in Lebanon. Kudos--here’s hoping they take the country and region by storm!