It’s that time of the year again to make the list and check it twice!
Our gift guide has become a yearly tradition we look forward to writing, although we too have mixed feelings about this particular holiday season. Nonetheless, as goes the tradition, our list celebrates the entrepreneurs in our community with all the innovations they have to offer us, giving you hints on what to eat, drink and shop for.
Needless to say, shopping locally has a whole new meaning and purpose this year. So, without further ado here’s Berytech’s Ultimate Gift Guide for Christmas 2020.
Lebanese Food & Drinks
Since French cheese and wine already taste like an old memory, the disappearance of Mr. Franklin could be a blessing in disguise for your palate. We’re here to help you build your bar, buffet or gift basket with some fine local food and drinks.
Starting with the drinks, the Three Brothers promise you Lebanese gin that is ‘super smooth, and without any of the nasties that can give you a sore and sorry head’ we’re taking their word for it, although we did google “what’s bathtub gin?”
Next on the menu is Ceasar Cider, a hard apple cider that is fresh, smooth and slightly fizzy. The bonus? Ceasar Cider works with rural agricultural cooperatives specialized in apple juice to enhance farmers’ livelihood in response to the apple crisis.
We’re not done with the apples yet! Cave des Ours makes an innovative apple arak from 100% apple juice and green anise, distilled three times to obtain the pure, authentic and traditional Lebanese drink we all love.
Colonel Beer remains your one-stop-shop for locally made artisanal beer, arak, gin, and vodka. Our inside tip is that if you take your empty bottles for a refill you get a cut on the price. Hats off for putting that circular economy in motion!
If you’re not too excited about going out shopping with your double mask and sanitizer tank, we’re more than happy to remind you of the most reliable way of shopping: online! 209 Lebanese Wine is where you can find an expanded offering of Lebanese-made wine and spirits.
There’s also room for local-made tea on our list. Teabah is making fresh Lebanese tea from plants, herbs and spices grown in our mountains. With that, they’re empowering a rural community of women to make a living from the comfort of their own gardens.
Moving on to food, the root of all happiness, we’d like to start with an all-time favorite, king of Lebanese cuisine: zaatar, with non-other than The Good Thymes and their constant innovations with this ultimate crowd-pleaser.
Coming close after that is the mother of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all sandwiches in between, Labneh. For this particular occasion, we’ve chosen the spiced Labneh balls in oil from Go Baladi. Our strategy? Stick them on toothpicks and call them hors d’oeuvres.
Another holiday favorite has to be the French style goat cheese from Goutblanc. Besides complementing every possible carbohydrate slice you can think of, we recommend it stuffed in baked chicken breasts with zaatar. Guaranteed to impress the mother-in-law. 😉
While you’re at it you might as well use the Smart Gourmet Hommos paste and call it your own. It’s vacuum-packed and preservative-free. The bags will most definitely find their way into a traveling family member’s luggage too. They travel well. Tried and tested.
Another baggage-friendly delicacy that you might want to gift to every Lebanese traveling away this holiday is the MezzMix garlic paste. Yes! You read that right. Garlic paste in a squeezable bottle with a 1-year shelf-life stored outside the fridge. A dream come true.
For dessert, forget about decadence but still indulge, we’re giving you enough healthy choices to beat the sugar rush, starting with The Dry Company’s dehydrated fruit bags. Honey crisp apple chips anyone?
Eshmoon has added to their naturally sweetened line finger licking good Buche De Noel, vegan ice cream, and chocolate cake made with almond flour. You will find something for every food intolerance on the table.
With Taqa Bar, Santa’s cookies will be oat-based stuffed in dates, sprinkled with chocolate or orange-flavored that you can eat at midnight guilt-free.
Not one, not two but three gifts idea on our list are pre-loved, recycled or restored. This shows the direct power you have in impacting the environment, the economy and the community with your buying choices. Let’s start!
For fashion, we recommend a quick visit to Second Base – the pre-loved shop of FabricAID that sells high-quality second-hand clothes. Buying vintage has been finally made popular by every celebrity out there. Time to jump in on that wagon.
For décor, Two Better recycles plastic waste into unique designs from ornaments to coasters. Bonus point: they are open for customization.
For furniture, La Brocante at arc en ciel restores used and vintage furniture keeping them out of the dumps and giving work opportunities to passionate craftsmen. Their work, post the blast, has been life-changing for many, and buying from them is a way to support their mission.
For face masks, because no way you have not thought of gifting masks, Bokja is making unique, silk, washable masks. Grab one or a bundle!
We could not omit from our list the latest Roadie Tuner release, which premiered earlier this year in a crowd-sourced campaign at the very beginning of lockdown and still managed to break records. Might learn playing the guitar just for that.
Now for kids of all ages, you can order Bildits kits through their website. Kits range from basic to advanced construction experiences and make for a fun activity for all the family.
Green Robot Tech is one of the women-led startups that we are so proud of. They have designed 12 different kits with fun projects revolving around STEAM and robotics.
Another woman-led business is Da3douka, play dough made with love using 100% food ingredients, making it safe and fun for the little ones. Every shade in the rainbow available of course.
The best gift you can give is an unforgettable experience. Karya will help you do just that. The platform allows you to book activities with local small-scale producers in rural areas benefitting the local community in the process.
One great experience you can book is with Cezar Projects. Choose to book a weekend at the guesthouse, farming activities at the Farmville Barouk, and nature outings in Shouf.
The best experience you can gift yourself is giving your time to those who need it. The Volunteer Circleplatform will connect you to volunteer opportunities based on personalized criteria.
A challenging experience but a very useful one is gifting a COVID19 home test with Find A Nurse. Get all your friends tested and then throw a wild party maybe? Putting jokes aside, wear a mask, be responsible, and don’t put your family or friends at risk.
The DYI Gift
Last but not least, our Berytech Fab Lab offers you the opportunity to make your own gift, from jewelry to robots using our 3D printing machines, CNC machines, electronics lab, and a bunch of laser stuff. We suggest you go on Pinterest to get ideas and then head straight to the Fab Lab to ask for Wael or Issa’s assistance!
Happy holidays everyone, and remember to stay positive, keep your masks on and a safe distance.