Why Kanz by Beit el Baraka is Beirut’s Little Treasure

by LBTAdmin

Built between 1880 and 1940, the Tabbal Building on Sursock Street has been thoughtfully transformed into a cultural hub where traditional crafts meet the richest flavors from the land. We take a tour of Beit Kanz, the latest project by Beit el Baraka, and discover its many treasures.

Surrounded by jasmine plants and citrus trees, Beit Kanz is a sight to behold. The eye-catching heritage building offers passers-by a visual feast of architectural styles: Lebanese, Ottoman and Art Deco, not to mention exquisite woodwork and a splendid array of patterns and colors. Indeed, this Beiruti jewel embraces the spirit of Kanz: mindful of the past while resolutely focused on the future. Significantly damaged by the Beirut Port explosion in 2020, the building was carefully restored by Kanz’s parent organization, Beit el Baraka, which raised funds specifically for the restoration and preservation of the building. Although funds were collected for the sole purpose of preserving the building, this was no charitable hand-out: in exchange for funding and directing the works, Beit el Baraka negotiated with the owners the exclusive use of the ground floor space for a five-year term, entirely free of charge. Also, the refurbishment and decoration works were funded by a group of philanthropists who believe in the vision and mission of Kanz: transforming Beit el Baraka’s beneficiaries to producers and creating jobs.

All the furniture, wood, marble, wallpaper, tiles, mirrors, lighting, glassware, cutlery, fabric and paint used to bring Kanz to life were generously donated. The café’s furniture and clay serving pots and plates were produced by Lebanese artisans with special needs in Beirut, the Shouf and Tripoli; this is how Kanz makes resources go further to positively impact more people.

The gourmet shop features Kanz’s complete range of ethical products handcrafted by more than 1,000 Lebanese women in 53 villages. By following recipes that combine ancestral skills with the creativity of renowned chefs, and using seasonal and natural homegrown ingredients, Kanz brings together food, traditions and skills that weave our culture while focusing on practices with a low environmental footprint and high social impact.

The boutique is a platform that showcases the elegant talent of local artisans, bringing their remarkable skills to forefront: from physically challenged potters in the Shouf to visually impaired wicker weavers in Beirut, embroiderers and couturiers in Baalbek, coppersmiths in Tripoli, glass blowers in Tyre, soap makers in Saida, carpenters in Hadath and many more craftspeople (in collaboration with Beirut Bloomers).

The café is a journey through time, a culinary adventure that celebrates Lebanon’s most precious treasure: its land. Ever since the dawn of agriculture 12,000 years ago, the inhabitants of Lebanon engaged with their fertile land, producing a treasure (Kanz in Arabic). Lebanon is part of the Fertile Crescent, and it’s from this land that farming first emerged. Beit Kanz’s menu celebrates Lebanese ancestral culinary heritage by depicting the historical background of every seasonal dish on its menu (developed with Heritage and Roots’ historian Charles al-Hayek).

Maya Ibrahimchah, founder of Beit el Baraka, said: “Beit Kanz is a hub that allows us to honor our heritage, celebrate our culinary traditions and share our collective knowledge. It is a place of dialog, food, craftsmanship, history, music and arts. With all proceeds going to support Beit el Baraka’s 226,000 vulnerable families of retirees and children, Kanz aims at achieving scalable and lasting change in Lebanon’s rural areas by providing sustainable solutions that tap into Lebanon’s boundless opportunities, and transmit the skills needed for Beit el Baraka’s beneficiaries to become self-sufficient producers. This venture was made possible by wonderful philanthropists who believe in the importance of preserving our cultural heritage, empowering women producers and perpetrating artisanal craftsmanship. All proceeds made by Kanz are fully donated to Beit el Baraka.”



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