Food Tour

Lebanon – see. taste. experience.

For years I have longed for Lebanon, the land of my forefathers, in a profound way. I longed to stand on the ruins that once held the love and laughter of the Aad family, my family, just outside of Aley. I longed to taste, see and experience every facet of this country that had only ever existed in the recesses of my mind and dreams. In April 2018, the night my father passed away, I lay in bed with him and made him my last promise – that I would go home. I think he heard me… An hour later my last link to Lebanon was gone.

I landed in Beirut two months later. Exploring this exotic and fascinating country and its people has brought my soul great joy. The sights and sounds of Lebanon – the baker with his ka’ak hanging on a rod, ringing his bicycle bell to announce lunch on the bustling streets; the clanging of the coffee cups, almost sounding like castanets, calling everyone to enjoy a quick shot of achwe (coffee) at the mobile coffee bar; the sight of the fruit seller pushing a huge trolley stacked with bananas up the hill; the religious calls to prayer that evoke goosebumps; and so much more – all of these are part of the shroud of mystique that covers Lebanon.

And now I long to share this captivating country with you!


As you are aware of, there are some struggles playing out in Lebanon, especially in Beirut, at the moment. However, being the positive person that I am, I believe that all this should have settled by the time we leave on our tour in May. If not, I will cancel and inform you immediately – I am in constant communication with our ambassador here in South Africa.


It is hard to give a precise itinerary, as this journey has been growing organically and is changing with every visit and every new and amazing food and wine person I meet. But let me try my best to convey what it might entail…

  • A visit to Our Lady of Harissa and then on to Douma in the beautiful mountains.
  • Two and a half days in Douma cooking in Beit Douma for one day,
  • A visit with owners Maher and Krystel, owners of Sept Wineries another,
  • And time exploring the village…
  • A visit to Jeita caves and a visit to Batroun.
  • A visit with Assaad and his family at Batroun Mountain Vineyards.
  • Then we stay in the beautiful Valley View Hotel, overlooking the majestic Qadisha Valley.
  • From there we will:
    • Cook in the valley with my friend, chef Peter Jabbour for one day,
    • Visit Khalil Gibran’s museum and final resting place,
    • Have a day in Tripoli,
    • A walk in Cedars of God to see some of the oldest cedar trees in Lebanon,
    • Dinners with my friend, Georges Faddoul, in his restaurant in Bazoun.
  • Back to Beirut for departure in the evening. Lunch at Tawlet or Enab, a walk around and off to the airport.

This is more or less an outline, with some surprises along the way. It is quite a full programme, but I make sure that we have times for walks in between and for some leisure time.

25th May to 1st June
Duration: 8 days – Only 5 spaces left – hurry now!

5th to 12th October
Duration: 8 days – Only 6 spaces left


  • US $2650 per person

This includes:

  • Accommodation
  • Vehicle, driver and fuel
  • Cookery classes
  • Casual meals only – should we as a group decide to visit a special restaurant, extra costing will be discussed with you
  • Tour guiding
  • Entrance fees

Please note:

All alcoholic drinks at mealtimes are for your own account.
Accommodation is quoted at a cost per person sharing. Should you require your own room, you can add US $550 to the total cost.
Please ensure that you have adequate medical and travel insurance in case of emergency.

A 50% deposit will confirm your reservation.
Bookings close on 10 April 2020. Payments to be made in full by then.
Any cancellations after 31 March 2020 will carry a 15% cancellation fee.
Sophia reserves the right to cancel the tour should there be less than 6 paid and confirmed guests five weeks prior to the departure date.
Prior to booking flights, please check with Sophia regarding flights specials and arrival times.

Click here to view our Terms and Conditions.

Useful tips:

Recommended Airlines:
Turkish Airlines and Emirates

Visas are easy to obtain and cost below R600 for a single-entry visa. Please ask for the Embassy of Lebanon in South Africa’s contact details to sort this out. Click here for Embassy details.
Should your passport contain an Israeli stamp, you might encounter problems with the visa.





Spring :  
            - 25th May to 1st June 2020
Autumn :  
            - 5th to 12th October 2020

Number of Spring attendees :  
Number of Autumn attendees :  
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Pigeon Rock, Raouché, Beirut, Lebanon

Pigeon Rocks, Raouché, Beirut, Lebanon
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