When Obada and Duaa immigrated to NZ from Syria back in 2016, they brought with them their passion and love for Arabian cuisine and its rich ingredients and flavours. Today their company Levantine is well-known for its stuffed Medjool date products, Baklavas and Mamools and the duo hope to bring Kiwis closer to traditional Arabian treats and pastries.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“The idea initially started when we wanted to give our kids healthy snacks that have less or no processed sugar and are rich in fibre and nutrition. Dates fruit is rich with healthy ingredients and is very common in the Middle East. Our love for healthy date-based snacks inspired us to start a food business specialising in date-based treats that are healthy, nutritious and are true to our rich culture.”
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“Our flagship stuffed Medjool date products are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. We use dark chocolate, fresh nuts, and our unique mixes to make these dates wholesome treats. We also hand-make the very popular Baklavas using New Zealand honey instead of sugar syrup. Our product range extends to include Mamools which are specially spiced pastries filled with either date paste or walnuts and pistachios. New products are frequently added with a few more being added to the range soon. We hand-make our products fresh to order using the freshest, healthiest ingredients possible and are keen for Kiwis to try all our traditional treats and pastries that aren’t that easy to find in New Zealand.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
“We are always on the lookout to extend our offering to reach more Kiwis and are open to wholesale our products to retail shops, deli stores and restaurants and cafes looking for a unique but traditional product offering. We also offer catering for events.
Our full range of products is currently available at Clevedon Village Farmers Market fresh every Sunday. Our stuffed Medjool dates are also sold in Moore Wilson’s in Wellington, and soon consumers from around NZ will be able to buy our products online and have them delivered nationwide through www.kai.co.nz and our website www.levantine.co.nz.
We are looking forward to being stocked in more retail stores around the country going forward.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“We were extremely excited when our stuffed Medjool dates recently won the Gold Medal in the Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Awards and to be named a finalist in the FMCG New Product Category. We are very delighted to be recognised at the national level.”