It’s not that often news about Lebanon brings a smile to my face. Triporati has decided that peace and stability is tenuous enough in the country to warrant this editor’s note:
[Editor's note: In an October 12, 2011 travel warning the U.S. State Department said, "The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains," and it urged U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel there.]
I still yearn for the day this vibrant and rich country can welcome all travelers safely.
When I lived in France, I worked with a man from Beirut who told me stories of the glory days of Beirut with great gusto and pride. It’s a lively city and tourists are coming back following many difficult years.Two recent stories combined to pique my interest in Beirut and the surrounding regions. The first was a lovely tribute to Anthony Shadid, a talented journalist who recently perished too young, reporting in Syria. He had been spending time renovating a small stone house — his ancestral home in Lebanon — and writing a book about it. The house had once been abandoned by his grandfather, and he was preparing it for his family’s future, before his tragic and untimely death. This was where he wanted to be buried. Then I read a small article in the Dining & Wine section of the New York Times: THE POUR From Strife-Marked VineyardsThe article was punctuated with a picture of a dapper older man holding up a wine glass. Serge Hochar has a winery in the fertile Bekka Valley in Lebanon and was pouring his libations for some urban wine drinkers and foodies at posh spots in the Big Apple.Château Musar (Serge’s family vineyard) wines have gotten rave reviews, but the poignant story behind the vineyard added to the complex flavors infused in the robust reds and crisp whites. The production kept going despite the years of strife, with danger and hardship everywhere. The tenacity necessary to maintain this quality-of-life product in times of war and instability boggles the mind, and it doesn’t hurt that Serge Huchar has a lot of charisma.At the tasting in a New York eatery, chefs curated a meal to accompany the Middle Eastern wine, including cinnamon, olives, yogurt infused dishes and lamb. Yum! I’m on a mission to find a bottle and I raise my glass to this uplifting mission!