BEIRUT: Once upon a time, in 1936, a man called Fouad Douaihy and his wife made it their mission to satisfy the sweet tooth of everyone who came to their pastry in Ehden.
A lot has changed since then, but the Douaihy legacy still lives on.
Georges Douaihy, a grandson, who is now one of the managing partners at Douaihy, recounts the start of the pastry.
“Behind every successful man and wife, there’s their combined effort. My grandmother had a passion for baking and my grandfather encouraged and helped her; due to that collaboration, they were able to build an empire of sweets,” he told Annahar.
In 1979, his son, who had learned the profession as an apprentice, moved to Dekwaneh and built his own pastry there. Since its uniqueness was in introducing Northern Lebanese sweets to Beirut, it was a major success.
During the Civil War, the shop was destroyed, but his persistence encouraged him to open a new one in Jounieh and open again in Dekwaneh.
Afterward, a series of branches were built in, Ashrafieh, Zalka, Jal el Dib, and one in Hariri Airport’s popular Duty-Free where legions of Lebanese pickup the trademark sweets for traveling abroad.
Today, Georges and his three brothers manage the business and have worked to keep the pastry’s brand identity contemporary.
“My brothers and I have renovated the pastry in a way suiting today’s consumers, yet, we maintained the Douaihy traditions. We chose colors that are trendy and we’re constantly presenting new creations; nevertheless, we still offer the traditional Arabic sweets,” he told Annahar.
As one enters the Douaihy pastry in Jounieh, sweet aromas and buttery fumes take over, stirring the appetite and triggering cravings.
In large aluminum plates, armies of Baklava, osmalieh and other sweets stand in line waiting to fight people’s hunger. One plate, in particular, containing knefeh, needs to be refilled often since it is the favorite dessert of most Lebanese people.
Next to these, fruity cakes of all shapes lie next to each other; each like a masterpiece painted to tell a story. On the other side, biscuit cones wait to be dipped in the colorful pools of ice-cream of different flavors, to craft a sweet creation.
Despite the wide variety of sweets the pastry provides, Georges indicated that they’re always creating new ones.
“We’re not asleep, as we are constantly improving to stay in the market. Our latest creations were the mini Fakhara that takes people back to an earlier era, and the Miska that looks like a trendy sushi box,” he said.
Nadine Azar, one of Douaihy’s loyal customers, said her favorite aspect about the pastry is the employees’ friendliness and their wide knowledge of sweets in general. She also described the Douaihy experience as “a sweetness roller coaster.”
Georges noted that some employees have been working at Douaihy pastry for over 25 years, and are devoted to their passion toward sweets and Douaihy’s recipes in particular.
He added, however, that the pastry also provides opportunities for youth people, such as students who need part-time jobs.
In 2019, Douaihy pastry will be launching a new branch.
Georges noted the keys to the sweets empire’s success.
“We work every day to prove that we deserve the reputation we have been given. We don’t focus on the competition, we focus on our customers. You can’t buy their loyalty, you have to earn it, and to do that, we’re willing to go that extra mile,” he told Annahar.
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