It is not astonishing anymore that who creates the most delicious delicacies in Amman, located in the most unexpected areas in that big and busy city, are really passionate individuals who choose to start a journey away from their educational backgrounds and certificates. Which amazes me more, is that those very specific individuals, have their own print, style and character reflected in the creations they present to their very humble clientele database. This time, architectural sustainability, simplicity and complexion, sweetness and savory are all combined to create a very signature jam-making shop, to create Namliyeh!
Their friendship started way before they first set their minds to start a jam-making business in Amman. Aya and Manal are both passionate architects who have graduated from one of the best universities in Amman. You can tell how this affected their small shop located in Lweibdeh neighborhood, just right next to Paris square, which Lweibdeh is famous for. You can feel how neat, random and artistic the place is. Everything inside Namliyeh is custom-made and mostly designed and handcrafted by the two young architects themselves. The place truly reflects the personalities of both Aya and Manal, not to forget the personal touch that you feel once you step inside the shop, as it seems that their life-time collection of their favorite items are used to create the spirit and soul of Namliyeh.
“Once we finished our studies, we moved for four months to Malaysia to volunteer in organic farms and learn more about permaculture*” said Manal. For them, it all started there. “ We were lost when we graduated, we did not want to be part of the normal workforce in the design and architecture business in Amman, as it did not reflect our philosophies, principles and our approach to architecture.” Aya added. Their volunteering work in Malaysia allowed them to be open to new concepts, adventures and experiences, which without them knowing that, it helped starting their very unique food venture.
Being back to their homeland, both Aya and Manal implemented what they have learnt and planted the seeds to start a permaculture in Amman. “ It was – and still- very difficult. It’s a new concept that requires the community to work hand in hand. It requires more understanding of the nature and the eco systems around us.” added Aya. “Jams are just our way to deliver this message to the people around Amman while doing it with our passion for a sustainable lifestyle and to create a permaculture.” Two years back, Namliyeh started their operation, specifically in October 2012. The seasonal varieties of jams they serve are quite unique and contain exquisite ingredients. “ We did an in-depth research on jam-making, we studied it well, and did numerous experiments with local produce to reach a final product that satisfies our tastes.” Manal added.
Using only local produce, both Manal and Aya searched everywhere in Jordan, starting from suppliers in Amman to house gardens and farms around Jordan to find the perfect produce that will yield to be the perfect jam. “Our jams do support all the local farmers out there, we seek only organic ingredients delivered from several resources. It is just amazing what you can find out there, we came across the tastiest fruits you can imagine! That very basic ingredient affects how the end product – the jam- will taste like.” Explained Manal. “It is a process that takes around 3 days, depending on the fruit itself and the texture of the jam we are willing to create. We don’t use any artificial additives, even the pectin! At Namliyeh, we bring out the sugars in the fruits and naturally develop the pectin.” added Aya.
Being all natural, sustainable, and most importantly fresh, Namliyeh is trying to create not just a jam culture in Amman, but a whole new lifestyle. The sky is their limit with their imagination, were they try to combine unusual ingredients and come out with new food-pairings and flavors creating their very own signature in the jam-making industry.
* Permaculture is the use of ecology as the basis for designing integrated systems of food production, housing appropriate technology and community development.