Beit Hail festival serves up Saudi culinary gem

RIYADH: The third annual Beit Hail Festival, themed “Our Home is Your Home … Oh, My Beloved,” is a showcase of the region’s rich culinary traditions, with Hail’s renowned klaija dessert taking center stage this year.


The traditional pastry, deeply rooted in Saudi heritage, has captivated visitors with its diversity of shapes and preparation methods.


In an interview with the Saudi Press Agency, Umm Mohammed, a 55-year-old klaija artisan, said: “I began at just 7 years old, using charcoal for baking … over 45 years, I have refined my techniques and I am constantly innovating.”

According to Umm Mohammed, the secret to klaija’s distinctive flavor lies in each maker’s proprietary spice blend, combined with staple ingredients like flour, sugar and cardamom.


Fellow klaija expert Umm Badr, with two decades of experience, highlighted the importance of continuous practice in perfecting the art of making the baked good.


“This craft evolves over time,” she said. “Klaija-making has become a significant source of income for participating families.”


Umm Badr has been a regular fixture at the region’s heritage and tourism festivals, where her creations have garnered widespread acclaim.


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