According to family legend, it was Phillipe, the smallest member of the Chriqui family that had recently immigrated to Israel fromNorth Africa, who missed his favorite dish and asked for couscous. Phillipe’s father, David, went out to buy some and after trying store after store, discovered there was none to be had. Then and there, as the legend goes, David Chriqui decided to establish a factory inIsrael that would produce ready-made couscous for quick and easy home preparation… and the rest is history. David opened his first factory in Jaffa, employing local Arab women who hand-rolled the semolina into tiny couscous balls and sun-dried them. This was the traditional method used in North Africa for creating stores of food. Later, David developed machines to do what his workers were doing. He thereby succeeded in saving labor and enhancing hygiene, while making sure to maintain the original quality and authenticity of the final product. This has remained the company’s driving motivating right up to the present day.
As the company grew, its facilities moved to Ra’anana and Hod Hasharon, where it continued to develop and automate its manufacturing process. In 1993 the plant moved to its current location in Netanya, where further upgrades to all manufacturing lines have made the Couscous Maison manufacturing facility the most advanced of its kind, using the latest food technologies. Every stage in the manufacturing process – from sifting and rolling the semolina, through cooking and drying, to final packaging – is completely automated so that from raw material to finished product it is untouched by the human hand. With product quality and authenticity painstakingly preserved, all manufacturing lines meet the strictest international standards including GMP, HACCP, and ISO 9001-2000.
A traditional North African dish, couscous elicits a feeling of family. It is typically served on the Sabbath Eve, holidays and celebrations. Couscous is highly versatile, soaking up the flavors around it and offering the perfect accompaniment to the spices, aromas and colors of any dish or style of cuisine. Quick and easy to prepare, couscous fills the air with a warm homey ambience.
Couscous is prepared from semolina, and semolina is wheat’s inner kernel of rich goodness – in other words, the best part of the wheat. In fact, there is an expression in Hebrew based on the word semolina, which actually means ‘the best there is’!
In North African tradition, couscous symbolizes good luck and blessings. It is always the first dish prepared to inaugurate a new home, and is served at holidays and celebrations to represent abundance and fruitfulness.
Semolina, the raw material from which couscous is made, is obtained from the granular heart of robust durum wheat that has been coarsely ground. Originating from the wheat’s inner seed, and containing all the rich goodness and protein of wheat germ, semolina is wheat’s finest product. It is no wonder then that semolina is the basic ingredient of our morning cereals, infant formulas, bakery products and sophisticated desserts – as well as the basis of couscous.
A unique method of cooking couscous was developed throughout the Middle East, using a pot similar to a double-boiler. The couscous was placed in a strainer that sat above a pot of soup or stew containing meat and vegetables. As the steam rose from the pot, carrying its rich aromas and flavors, the granules of couscous soaked it all up, becoming soft and flavorful. In North Africa, birthplace of couscous, it was sometimes rolled into balls for serving. The typical way to eat couscous is to use it as a bed for cooked vegetables, meat and beans, with plenty of gravy. A pleasure everyone can share, couscous is a favorite with people of all ages, from infants tasting their first solid food, to hungry teenagers, young adults, and their parents and grandparents – whether served as the main course or a delightful side dish.
The whole production process, carefully supervised and managed with love and skill, is in the dedicated hands of company founder, David Chriqui, managing director Avi Chriqui, and production manager Phillipe Chriqui.