Saudi Cafe and Misk Lighthouse: A bit of Saudi Arabia in the Alps

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Traditional food can be found at the Saudi Cafe in Davos, whilst Saudi art and design is on display at the Misk Lighthouse on Promenade 62. (Arab News photo)
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Traditional food can be found at the Saudi Cafe in Davos, whilst Saudi art and design is on display at the Misk Lighthouse on Promenade 62. (Arab News photo)
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Updated 23 January 2020

Saudi Cafe and Misk Lighthouse: A bit of Saudi Arabia in the Alps

  • Kingdom's national dishes can be sampled at cafe run by the Misk Foundation at the World Economic Forum
  • Besides the culinary delights, Saudi art and design are on display at the Misk Lighthouse on Promenade 62

DAVOS: Forget hot chocolate — Davos delegates seeking to keep warm can visit the Saudi Cafe to sample a snug mug of Medina black tea topped with dried rose petals, or tuck into a plate of Shaatha cake.

The culinary delights are on offer at the pop-up cafe, run by Saudi Arabia’s Misk Foundation, which is open for the week at the mountain venue of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“This is the first year that we have the Saudi Cafe in Davos,” said chef Najla Al-Otaibi while preparing a tray of Masabeb, a sweet dish made of pancakes topped with golden honey and traditional ghee. “The people really enjoyed the food and the drinks, the Arabic coffee and the tea, which comes straight from Madinah, and the Karak tea with milk.”

Other items found on the menu are the Henaini, a plate of crumbled bread mixed in with fresh dates and thinly-sliced lemon wedges, as well as the most popular dish, the Shaatha cake, a traditional old Bedouin dish made from dates.

Everyone orders the Shaatha cake and downs it with a hot cup of Karak tea, said Al-Otaibi, as she multi-tasked around the cafe.

“I love to show the world our food. I want to introduce them all to our food, and show the amazing dishes we have in Saudi Arabia.”

Further down the snow-covered street, buzzing with the different languages of the Davos delegates, we reach Promenade 62 — the Misk Lighthouse, which is an area for hosting debates and discussion forums focused on skills, entrepreneurship and global citizenship. It features prominent speakers, Saudi art and refreshments.

“The designer is obsessed with Islamic Art,” said Basma Al-Shathry, curator at the Misk Art Institute. “All the design pieces here are created by three simple shapes derived from Islamic art, which create different pieces of furniture that are functional, so chairs, bookshelves and tables.

“He uses wood, he is very sustainable with his approach, he tries to use as little as possible and he tries to make sure the pieces outlive their users, so adaptability is very important.”

On the wall in front of the furniture are drawings of the three original shapes Al-Shathry describes, with more and more complicated forms based around them.

“The artist is the priority, so we try to make sure that whatever initiative we take helps the artist solidify their role within society, locally and internationally,” the curator said. “It’s our role to make sure that it reaches the right people at the right place,” she said.


Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

Updated 37 min 9 sec ago

Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

  • Saudi Green Building Forum attended conference at UN headquarters
  • SGBF demonstrated its commitment to affordable housing through environmentally sustainable practices

JEDDAH: The Saudi Green Building Forum (SGBF) has shown that its mission aligns with the UN Commission for Social Development. 

A SGBF delegation attended the 58th session of the commission at UN headquarters in New York City on Wednesday.

The SGBF demonstrated its commitment to affordable housing through environmentally sustainable practices.

“The SGBF supports the integration of affordable housing within urban developments, architectural design and use of materials that support occupants’ wellbeing, and minimizing construction waste through efficient methods,” said Faisal Al-Fadl, SGBF chair representative to the UN.

Al-Fadl told Arab News: “Saudi Arabia is addressing key messages on clean energy and is focusing on a low-carbon, resource-efficient, inclusive circular economy and building systems addressing these core issues.

“The Kingdom is complying with the principle of sustainability and is helping to advance the resilience of our cities.”

The UN Commission for Social Development’s role is to monitor national and global socioeconomic trends, identify emerging issues and assess their implications for social policy at the national and international levels.

The session reviewed some of the social challenges of implementing the 2030 Agenda, with a focus on issues relevant to the three core social development goals identified at the World Summit for Social Development. 

The goals are eradicating poverty, promoting productive employment and decent work and promoting social inclusion.

The SGBF’s mission focuses on the resilience of city development practices within affordable housing developments to minimize negative impacts on the planet and citizens.

The forum addressed the practices of green systems and sustainable development in the Arab world. It said it will continue to work with the commission to support new resolutions on social and development issues, including the first-ever text on homelessness to be approved by a UN intergovernmental body.