The month of October has a lot going for it. There’s Oktoberfest celebrated in Munich, Germany, as well as Halloween, heralded on the 31st in the United States and, to a growing extent, across the world. October also marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month to commemorate the fight against the second-leading cause of death among women.
But are you in the know about the official and unofficial food holidays decorating nearly every day of October? Heck, if you need any dinner ideas, just follow the calendar lineup and start planning accordingly with the Bitfood app! Here are a few of our favorite holidays with corresponding restaurants in Beirut to serve you.
October 1: World Vegetarian Day. A vegetarian diet rejects all meat or animal products, whether out of respect for sentient life, health-related reasons, or simply personal preference. There are variations of the diet, some including eggs and/or dairy products, but perhaps the most well-known is veganism, a strictly plant-based form that excludes any animal byproduct, even honey. Fortunately, Lebanese cuisine is heavily vegetarian, dishing up an array of vegan options, too, from hummus to falafel. Check out Falafel Abou Andre to satisfy your cravings of the pulses and legumes!
October 11: World Dulce de Leche Day. For those unfamiliar with this Latin American dessert, “dulce de leche,” Spanish for “candy [made] of milk,” is a confection prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to a consistency, flavor and appearance akin to caramel. Dulce de leche is commonly used in candies and other sweet foods like cakes, churros, cookies, waffles, crème caramel (or flan) and ice cream. In addition, it functions as a popular spread on crepes and toast. El Paseo in Badaro offers crepes con dulce de leche, so if you’re uninitiated, give them a try!
October 16: World Bread Day. If you don’t celebrate this holiday already, you “knead” to! Because no matter how you slice it, bread is an integral staple of nearly every culture, cuisine, race, and religion around the world. While human beings cannot subsist on bread alone, wheat foods comprise nearly one-fifth of the world’s calories, according to the United Nations. And here in Lebanon, we are all quite familiar with the reverence of bread, from pita and “markouk,” to “kaak” and “khebez franjeh.” Bread Butiq in Jal el Dib specializes in croissants, pain de campagne, baguettes, and brioches, and they offer daily specials crafted from ancient grains such as kamut.
October 16: World Food Day. Coinciding with Bread Day is Food Day, celebrated around the world on October 16 in honor of the date of founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1945). Every year, a different theme is adopted in an effort to bring attention to dire issues like hunger, poverty, malnutrition, and the like. In 2019, people everywhere were encouraged to unite under the theme “Our Actions Are Our Future,” for our dietary choices can enable a movement of change. This year, the Lebanese Food Bank teamed up with restaurant-cafe Bartartine to host a group of young disadvantaged children over for lunch.
October 25: World Pasta Day. If you’re not already fanatical about pasta, then who are you, might we ask? Al dente tagliatelle dressed up in a creamy pesto; or spaghetti swimming in a rich marinara decked with sausage coins, black olives, and mushrooms; or fettuccini lapping up an aromatic garlic white sauce. There are over 600 shapes of pasta known to mankind, and while you might never meet them all, why not make it your mission to have a different type of pasta weekly? Via Roma in Naccache boasts a generous selection of pasta dishes, from “lasagna della casa al ragu” to “gnocchetti di patate.”
Danielle was born into a Lebanese household in Southern California. Growing up, she constantly found herself living between two realities: outwardly, she was an American girl who loved swinging on the monkey bars and reading The Baby-Sitters Club. Inwardly, she was Lebanese, speaking Arabic at home and forbidden from attending sleepover parties.
With age comes awareness and self-confidence, and Danielle learned to embrace these differences. She accepted that she'd forever be suspended between two worlds, and that she'd be like a tapestry, one culture woven into the other. As she grew older and worldlier, Danielle promised herself she would one day settle in Lebanon.
And here she is. Three college degrees and a few consulting gigs later, she is now in her parents’ homeland, working in strategy management, fleshing out her blog Beirutista, and contributing to Bitfood. Danielle gets her hair coiffed several times a week, like any proper Lebanese girl, and she loves the traditional mezze. But she still prefers peanut butter to Nutella. And her American accent is unmistakable.