As many of you know, I’ve been having great fun eating and cooking camel recently. I thought I’d be leaving my camel adventures behind when I left the Emirates for Tehran. But it was not to be.
After Tehran, I went to Jeddah where I met with a lovely online friend, Ghada, who was accompanied by her vice-president and two colleagues. As is the custom in the Arab world, Ghada and her VP came laden with presents: a lovely rose scented candle and bags of chocolate — one of the businesses they had launched recently was a chocolate shop called Nassma. Amongst all the chocolates was a bag full of camel milk chocolates although these were made by another company, Al-Nassma, in Dubai who uses milk from camels raised on a farm belonging to the ruler and where the camels are milked using the latest technology, unlike the farm where I milked my camel with my own hands. In any case, the milk is dried and shipped to a chocolate factory in Austria where they use it to make bars, small individual squares and camels of all sizes: small, medium and large.
I took my presents back to Lebanon and asked Jason Lowe, my wonderful photographer friend who is doing the photos for my new book if he would take a photograph of the chocolate camel for my blog. I wanted the camel to be set somewhere in the beautiful garden of my great friend, Jeanine, who had invited us to lunch in her fabulous house in Kfour, in the Lebanese mountains — I was giving her the camel milk chocolates. But as we were driving up to Kfour, we passed a derelict temple and both Jason and I thought it would make a great location for the camel. And so it was.
As you can see above, Jason took an amazing picture. And Jeanine loved the camel. If truth be told, the camel milk chocolate is good although I can’t imagine myself wanting to demolish such a fun object.
I have a love/hate relationship with Beirut. I hate the traffic and how people drive. I hate all the towers sprouting right against the lovely old Ottoman houses or worse, going up where they once stood. And I hate the general feeling of lawlessness. Not that the city is dangerous. Far from it. Just completely unregulated. On the other hand, I love the sea and the fact that even in February, you can sit in a cafe or restaurant right by the water and not even feel a tinge of cold. But above all, I love Hanna and his sensational ice cream.