In The Press

Lara Ariss, Sweet Levantine, Treats for Every Season and Occasion 2018


There is an unbeatable thrill to be found in baking, and with Sweet Levantine, her second cookbook, Lara Ariss explores the joy of creating sweet treats – something that has fascinated her since she was a child on visits to the old souk of Saida in Lebanon. Sweet Levantine continues down the path taken in Lara’s previous Levantine Harvest with a further celebration of freshly harvested local ingredients and clever medleys of flavor. Whether the desire is a plate of cookies to offer friends over coffee, a comforting pudding to round off an evening meal, or an elegant centerpiece to mark a significant life event, this selection of recipes will satisfy the need of any sweet tooth, and will give a sense of accomplishment and confidence to bakers of all levels of experience.

 “Burnt Sugar and Caramelized Cashew Cheesecake: This cheesecake is an adaptation of the caramel and pistachio version featured in Levantine Harvest. My cheesecakes are generally the bestselling items from my catering kitchen – each bite is worth every minute it takes to make. It will give you immense satisfaction and pride to see it disappear from your dessert table. (P. 156 – Sweet Levantine)
 “Pistachio and Semolina Cups (Mafroukeh): This sweet delicacy can be found on many dessert tables during the Holy Month of Ramadan. I have altered the recipe slightly by replacing the traditional garnish of toasted nuts with fresh berries.” (P. 186 – Sweet Levantine)

Lara Ariss was born in the United States and her family returned to Lebanon in the early 1990s. She started a career in advertising but, determined to follow her passion, she soon left to attend Le Cordon Bleu in London, where she also worked at several upscale restaurants. She later spent some time taking writing courses in New York City. In 2016, Lara released her first cookbook, Levantine Harvest. She currently resides in Beirut, where she runs her own boutique catering kitchen.​