Store cupboard recipe for the fountain of eternal youth

elixir Beirut

unquestionable potency

When I called in to my favourite nut and herb store just outside Beirut, little did I know I was about to discover the elixir of life. For your information, it comes in a large jar labelled Doping – Super Performance. I kid you not.

The picture on the label demonstrates the great power of this concoction: a strapping though balding bloke lifting two whole jars of the stuff above his head, not even flinching at the giant bee which has just landed on top of them. Don’t be put off by the superimposed nature of the jars in the image; I’m sure he really could pick them up if he tried. The sales pitch runs as follows: “For everyone who wants to be young with a strong mind, and nerves for every old man who dreams to have his youth back.”

So what is in it? As with all effective rejuvenation remedies, no ingredients are listed. But a sophisticated tasting test revealed that it is packed with hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts and almonds and drenched with honey. All good performance boosters, as any  cereal bar manufacturer will tell you.

herbs in Beirut

other wonderful goods sold here

I ought not have been surprised to unearth the philosophers’ stone here in the Middle East. After all, “elixir” comes from an Arabic word, al-iksir, and Lebanese cuisine certainly gives you the desire to live longer, if only to eat more of it.

For more on the shopping scene in Beirut, you can check out the market Souq al-ahad like a true local, sample a little retail therapy for all by escaping to the mall with your domestic help, or play spot the differences between Lebanese supermarkets and their European prototypes in Mops and Shops.

For more fantastic foreign food finds by other Lonely Planet Blogsherpa bloggers check out the blog carnival being hosted by Jennifer Lo Prete over at

herbs in Beirut

store manager - balding but doubtless very strong, given the jar just visible on his desk

3 Responses to “Store cupboard recipe for the fountain of eternal youth”

  1. Karl says:

    And just like that, another blog added to my regular reads; your tutorial on driving ought to be distributed to expats at the airport.

    I’ll be coming back to dig up your archives. Great stuff :)

  2. I quite liked your “Lebanese cuisine certainly gives you the desire to live longer, if only to eat more of it”!! Nice post!

  3. We have Doping in Turkey too! Tasty and hilarious.

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