For many people, butternut squash usually conjures images of falling leaves, warm soup, and other aspects of the autumnal season. But inside an old souk in Tripoli, Lebanon, there’s a shop that has a whole different take on the sweet and nutty crop.
The Haddad family has been making gourd-based goodies for over a century. Their small shop offers a jam-like treat that is soft and mellow with hints of the squash’s bitter rind; a more set and glazed candy with almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, in which the nuts blend wonderfully with the sweet flavors; and a much harder and drier candy, almost like chocolate, that comes with walnuts.
Nouh el-Haddad is also known for a rice-based dough enlivened with a touch of rose water that is served filled with ashta (a typical milk-based sweet cream found in Lebanon).