Summer is close, which means we will need refreshing drinks to cool down the heat.
So Tea is ready to satisfy our cooling demands. The Saudi brand offers a freshly prepared array of iced tea and locally made herbal drinks.
It was inspired by the healthy lifestyles of today’s younger generation, who are steering away from soft drinks.
The brand offers three main products inspired by Arabian flavors and herbal ingredients including iced tea, sobia and hibiscus.
So Tea’s natural flavorings and sweetness will keep you hydrated and cool during the day, with flavors including peach, grape and lemon.
The peach iced tea is mind-blowingly delicious. The total process of So Tea’s production — the chilling, steaming, and fermenting — is fully homemade.
Aside from iced tea, the brand also offers other refreshing cool drinks popular in the Middle Eastern region, including roselle, tamarind, and sobia. These three drinks are available throughout the year, but are more popular during Ramadan.
So Tea offers you a box of six bottles based on your choice of flavors. For more information visit the Instagram account @so.tea.sa
Jeddah-based bakery Wildflour offers local homemade desserts and specialized gifts for people who crave the sweet taste of brownies and cookies.
The business chooses simplicity and classic flavors to create memorable dessert foods and baked goods.
Its most popular products include chewy brownie bites with a crumble top and freshly baked bundt cakes in several flavors, including banana and chocolate, and lemon and blueberry.
The bakery uses classic white boxes and decorative wildflower varieties to package its desserts. It also offers gift options, cards and flowers. Wildflour offers catering services for large events and also hosts product giveaways.
One unique product offered by the bakery is the brownie bit mini jar, which dispenses miniature sweet snacks for people following strict diets. It is also good choice for a chocolate treat on the go.
For more information, find the bakery on the food delivery app Lugmety or directly on Instagram @wildflour.bakery.
Mideast, North Africa region to get 50 Best Restaurants list in 2022
Updated 03 August 2021
DUBAI: In February 2022, some of the most lauded restaurateurs, fine chefs and food lovers will congregate in the UAE for the reveal of the 50 top restaurants in the region.
It’s been announced that The World's 50 Best Restaurants, owned and run by William Reed Business Media and established in 2002, is launching a new regional restaurants list and awards program that will be hosted in Abu Dhabi early next year.
It will be the first time that a Middle Eastern country will play host to the prestigious event, which is informally known as the Oscars of fine dining.
“We are delighted that Abu Dhabi will be playing host to the awards ceremony, as the UAE capital has been establishing itself as a culinary force over recent years,” William Drew, Director of Content for 50 Best, said in a released statement.
Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants is the latest regional restaurants list and awards program since 2013, when both Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants were established.
The list, which was born out of the magazine pages of Britain’s “Restaurant” is now widely regarded as the most highly influential ranking of its kind.
The inaugural Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list will be revealed in a live countdown, along with a series of special awards, culminating in the announcement of The Best Restaurant in the Middle East & North Africa 2022.
“The diversity of cuisines and restaurants across this wide region will ensure this new list is a vital addition to the international gastronomic landscape,” added Drew.
The ranking will be determined by 250 voters, made up of anonymous restaurant experts from 19 countries across the region, based on their best restaurant experiences. Dining establishments cannot apply to be on the list.
Meanwhile, a program of events, including a forum, chef masterclasses and dining events, will be hosted in the UAE capital in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi from Feb. 4-11, as part of the Abu Dhabi Culinary Calendar.
Some events will be open to the public on a ticketed basis, with details to be revealed later.
The gala awards ceremony is set to take place on Feb. 7.
The Kuwaiti chef and entrepreneur on cheese-melt goodness, the brilliance of butter, and taking inspiration from his dad
Updated 30 July 2021
LONDON: On a fine London afternoon, Kuwaiti chef Ahmad Al-Bader sits in Chestnut Bakery. It is one of four successful food ventures he’s co-founded and currently co-manages — the other three being the beef canteen Habra, and Lunch Room — a “social-dining venue” — both in Kuwait, as well as GunBun in Riyadh.
Al-Bader has made a name for himself in the regional and international culinary scenes thanks largely to the consistent quality of his food, which is partly down to his systematic approach to cooking and baking.
“This is the core of success,” he says. “Things have to be written down. For the past 10 years I’ve been writing my recipes, not cooking them. When you reach this point, you have to be very experienced and to know exactly what is right. Recipes are written based on the palette — the acidity, sourness, bitterness, and sweetness; that’s how I create the balance.”
Q: What’s one ingredient that can instantly improve any dish?
A: Butter. It’s has a fatty flavour. It’s soothing and it hits the palette. Sometimes you can have a loaf of white bread and still feel empty. But on other days you can have two or three spoons of peanut butter and some honey and feel happy.
What’s your favorite cuisine?
I love Chinese food, and Indian. Anything that (Wagamama founder) Alan Yau does always inspires me. He’s one of the ‘guru’ concept developers I’ve met. I respect how he thinks and works and I’ve learned a lot from him. The same applies to Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (co-owners of six delis and restaurants in London). I have the greatest respect for them.
What’s the most common issue you find when you eat in other restaurants?
Dining out is never for competitive purposes. Knowledge is always my objective — I want to learn how to do something. But not to compete. My objective is always to build something with value.
What’s your go-to dish if you have to cook something quickly? And why?
A cheese melt sandwich. Good cheese and good bread. It’s soothing. And you can play with it — you can put pickles, mustard, or roast beef or chicken. And use a good 60 grams of butter; that will give you a solid foundation.
What’s the most annoying thing customers do?
Customers are never annoying. As long as they’re not insulting one of the waiters or insulting us, I’ll respect whatever they have to say. I’m here to serve them.
What’s your biggest challenge as a restaurateur?
Food handling, especially critical items like protein and fish that need to be transported. I don’t risk having a lot of them in my concept because of the heat and handling. Freshness is very important in these protein concepts. That’s why I simplify things through process cooking or curing, et cetera. That’s what I do to avoid any bacterial growth.
What’s your favorite dish to cook?
Grilling and barbecuing reminds me so much of my dad. Prepping instant salsas is also one of many things I learned from him. He’s probably been making chimichurri for 30 years but in his own way, with a lot of coriander and garlic. He’s always been a host. Hosting is very important to me.
I also love slow cooking. I love cooking tongue — beef or lamb — and this I also got from my dad. I remember he used to slice it and eat it with mustard. And I always loved that.
Here, Al-Bader offers some cooking tips and a recipe for a tasty beetroot dish (although it requires a sous-vide machine).
If you want wholesome, nutrient-dense snack choices, try Loqmatain date bars — a Saudi brand that offers healthy tasty snacks made of different types.
Loqmatain is an Arabic expression that translates as eating a small portion of food or snack, which reflects on the concept of the brand, as it offers on-the-go date bars and dip snacks that you can take to work to have with your morning coffee, or on a road trip. They are also suitable for children as Loqmatain’s products are rich in fiber and naturally sweetened.
The bars on offer are an updated version of those popular in the 80s and 90s, filled with biscuits and wrapped with date paste.
Each product is accompanied by different toppings and optional dips, including tahini, pistachio, and chocolate. The local brand deals almost exclusively with local farmers, to ensure good quality.
You can find them in supermarkets and coffee shops in many cities in Saudi Arabia. For more information visit their website: Loqmatain.com or Instagram account @loqmatain
Beauty mogul Huda Kattan backs new female wellness brand
Updated 27 July 2021
DUBAI: Iraqi-US beauty mogul Huda Kattan has announced Ketish as the first brand to be launched by Huda Beauty Angels — which falls under HB Investments, Kattan’s venture capital firm. Ketish, a feminine care label, is being spearheaded by Eman Abbass, a former Huda Beauty product developer.
“I’m really excited on a deep level about Huda Beauty Angels and being able to reveal to you guys very soon the first project we are investing in with an amazing founder who has such an amazing mission and purpose and we know they’re going to change the world,” she said in a video shared with her 49 million Instagram followers.
“When we first started our brand, nobody wanted to invest in us. Nobody wanted to really believe in our cause and what we were doing,” she added, revealing what prompted her to start the $10 million female entrepreneur seeding initiative, HB Angels.
Specializing in female wellness, Ketish aims to launch its first product in August 2021, although Abbass has been tight-lipped on the sort of products that will be offered, telling The Industry Fashion website that the brand will focus on “targeted body care products.”
The new brand was inspired by Abbass’s own health experience. When she was 21-years-old, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer during her first-ever gynecologist appointment. Coming from a conservative background, Abbass felt ashamed to talk to her American-Egyptian family about her health during the diagnosis and treatment process.
Following a nine-year healing journey that she had to go through alone, Abbass was inspired to launch the luxurious female wellness brand that aims to reform feminine care products in the Middle East and is named after a female ancient Egyptian deity.
“A lot of those brands and products that we find now are in the pharmacy and the pharmacy is traditionally a place that you go when you are sick or something is wrong,” she told The Industry Fashion website. “We want to take feminine wellness and care out of the pharmacy and put it in the places that women shop… when I’m having a bad day I go to Sephora or I hop on to Cult Beauty. It’s those spaces that we want to be playing in to really elevate that experience and give women products that they can incorporate into their overall beauty and self-care routines.”
“Ketish is a movement,” Kattan said in a press release. “It’s about taking power back and being fully comfortable with yourself. When people start to become part of this community, they’re going to feel liberated. I realized very quickly that this was a topic that so many people had so many issues with. The more I started talking to Emaan, the more I was convinced that she could change the category.”