Alyson gave me a horrified look when I asked her how long the dada (a term often used to refer to female chefs at Moroccan hotels) had been teaching Moroccan cooking classes. “Don’t call her that! She’s a chef! I’ll explain later,” she whispered, glancing worriedly at Mona to make sure my question hadn’t been overheard. (more…)
So, you’re in Essaouira for a few days. You’re adventurous and your taste buds are tired of the mostly similar Moroccan fare you’ve eaten so far in Casablanca, Fez and even Marrakesh. You might be with a group and have the afternoon to yourself or perhaps traveling alone or with your partner. Any way you slice it, by the time you get to the beautiful Moroccan coastal town of Essaouira, you’re likely going to be craving something a bit different than the Moroccan fare you’ve been treated to thus far, though you’ll want to search out for something authentic at the same time. Today, I’m letting my secret out of the places I love to dine at while traveling Morocco and telling you all about my secret eateries of Essaouira. (more…)
In Essaouira, there is a cooking class unlike any other in Morocco. Khadija’s Kuzina, located just outside the medina, is an experience that is so much more than just learning something about cooking Moroccan cuisine. It’s a visit into the hearts of the proprietors, Lahoussaine (a.k.a. “Hussein”) El Faded and Khadija El Jadiri, and an intimate preparation of dinner in their home rather than in a commercial kitchen. (more…)
At first glance, one might mistake the misty, rolling hills outside of Asilah for the rugged highlands of Scotland. On a rainy, blustery winter’s day — where the only thing standing in your way is perhaps a massive muddy puddle or an enormous bull that looks a bit like a shaggy Shetland cattle — it’s easy to see why you might confuse the two beautiful landscapes. It’s even easier to see why you might confuse them when Karim Ben Ali, a Scottish-Moroccan, begins talking to you with his soft Scottish lilt. (more…)
Moroccan sweets and cookies are a bit like the secret underdog of the patisserie world. They look quite unassuming and even a bit dull at first glance. However, all bets are off when you take a bite of their heavenly deliciousness. (more…)
The prickly pear is a fruit Moroccans love to eat and love to hate! It’s name is justly named for its spiky outer shell and the fact that it is the fruit of the cacti plant. If you look out the window during your Moroccan road trip, you will notice an impressive number of these prickly pear cacti pretty much everywhere! (more…)
When I became a vegetarian a few years ago, I thought it would be a breeze. After all, I live in Morocco. The fruits and vegetables are relatively cheap here and the cuisine is known for its rich, flavorful spices. However, the truth is that finding my food comfort zone (if there is such a thing) took a little more time, and a little more exploration, than I bargained for. (more…)
Food is a major part of Moroccan culture. Its diverse and intense flavors perfectly capture Morocco’s multiethnic background, tumultuous history and rich heritage – and they’re an integral part of the country’s renowned hospitality. Best of all? Moroccan food is absolutely delicious.
“Morocco, though it is visited by thousands of tourists every year, remains an unknown country – the greater part of it as uncharted to the European or American visitor as was Tibet a hundred years ago.” Gavin Maxwell, Lords of the Atlas, 2000.
The Ancient Granaries of Taliouine from Journey Beyond Travel on Vimeo.
Maxwell may have been writing almost two decades ago, early in the rise of google maps, satellite technology and the age of snap-happy travellers capturing selfies across the globe, but the quotation above still rings true. With so much of Morocco’s tourism being directed towards the Imperial cities and luxury riads of Fez and Marrakesh, many of the Maghreb’s treasures remain undiscovered by most or simply forgotten by all. (more…)
In parts one and two of our story unfolding saffron in Morocco we took you on a journey discovering Talouine, the city that is the heart of Moroccan saffron. From there we showcased the people behind the production and harvest of this precious crop. Today, you will see how saffron is separated and sold. Saffron farming truly is a labor of love that requires patience and accuracy – it is the most expensive spice in the world after all!
Moroccoan cuisine is a tasty melting pot of different cultures with heavy influences from the Mediterranean, Arabic, Berber, and Andalusian cuisines. Its traditional dishes are a unique blend of spices, fresh vegetables and fruits and, of course, meat and fish. But that doesn’t mean that vegetarians will have a hard time in Morocco.
There is a buzz surrounding Morocco’s food scene at the moment and its not hard to see where all the fuss is coming from; new and inspiring restaurants are popping up all across the country. Let’s be honest, Morocco has always been high up on the must-visit list for foodie travellers. But it is a new wave of fusion cooking and cultural dialogue that is at the centre of this gastronomical shake up and Morocco appears to be waking up to the creative re-imagining of traditional dining experiences that’s been happening in innovative eateries across the world. Intrepid travelers are looking for great places to eat in Marrakesh and beyond. (more…)
Every culture has it’s version of fried dough, and Morocco is no different. You’ll find sfenj on street corners throughout the country. The dough itself is simple, a basic yeast dough but it is super sticky, making it a bit of a trick to master. Sfenj is prepared early in the mornings for breakfast or late in the afternoons for tea time and you’ll be hard pressed to find it anywhere in between those times!
The story of saffron in Morocco is more than a story about Morocco’s saffron capital of Taliouine. It’s also about the process involved in harvesting saffron and the local farmers working to supply the world with one of its most sought-after spices.
It’s not unusual for families with a plot of land to farm their own patch of saffron; the region’s ability to grow such an expensive and sought-after ingredient provides extra income which is not taken for granted. While saffron holds an undoubted prominence in the cuisine and culture of Morocco, it is also a commodity: a batch of stored saffron is as good (or better) than any investment. Planting, growing, harvesting, and selling saffron is seen as a blessing by all.
Taliouine, the heart of Morocco’s saffron producing region, lies south of Marrakesh and east of Taroudant. The city itself is small – just under 6,000 people – but produces more saffron than any other place in Africa. Every November, a festival is held at harvest time and people from around the world come to watch and celebrate. While the best way to experience this is by visiting, we will give you an inside glimpse through this photo essay.
There are some Moroccan foods (like Sfa) that are so good, you’ll never find them on a restaurant menu. Rfissa is one of those dishes. The simple ingredients of chicken and lentils are elevated with the inclusion of spices and a slow cooking time – until everything is falling apart, delicious.
When most people think of Moroccan food two things come to mind; tagine and couscous. But, there is a wide range of Moroccan recipes that never find their way to restaurant menus. In fact you’ll typically only find these dishes served in homes. This is one reason it’s such a treat to get an invitation to a Moroccan home for a meal! While the combination of sweet and savory notes in sfa may seem strange, this is exactly what make it so appealing. (more…)
If you’re looking for a paradise for senses, omnipresent scents, loud voices, honking cars, rainbow-colored, aromatic spices and intensive oil perfumes like from the 1000 and One Nights, Morocco is definitely a destination for you. If you’re a foodie seeking culinary ecstasy, love spicy meat, fluffy bread, and sweet sticky pastries Morocco will undoubtedly meet your expectations.
Having lived in Casablanca for over half a year, I’ve got a collection of spots which offer mouth-watering, pocket-friendly cuisine. Here are my “must-visit” places and insight on what to eat in Casablanca.
While Morocco is justifiably famous for breathtaking scenery, Islamic architecture and a rich history of arts and crafts, the country truly stands out as a paradise for foodies. Diverse peoples, including Berbers, Arabs, Sephardic Jews and Muslims from Andalusia, and Spanish and French colonizers, brought their own culinary traditions and ingredients to the kitchen. This is combined with the marvelous variety of foodstuffs produced in the country´s different regions. The quality of beef and lamb in Morocco is outstanding. Fish is popular, especially in port cities, and there is an astonishing array of fruits and vegetables.
Of course, no tour to Morocco arranged by an in-country operator would be complete without sampling couscous, tiny grains of semolina pasta served with stewed carrots, zucchini and other vegetables, with or without meat. Rabat is especially famous for its couscous aux sept légumes (couscous with seven vegetables), in which an enormous mound of couscous is beautifully and carefully adorned with vegetables and served with a small bowl of broth on the side. Another famous variant of the dish is couscous tfaya, topped with caramelized onions, raisins and chickpeas. Couscous was traditionally eaten on Fridays after the midday prayer, but is now often enjoyed by extended families over the weekend. (more…)
Few people outside of cities have clocks in Morocco, instead scheduling their days around the five calls to prayer and the five daily meals. Yes, there are five. Breakfast comes early in the morning, followed by a second breakfast at mid-morning. Lunch is served at midday, and in the late afternoon there is a break for tea and bread. Finally, dinner is served in the late evening.
These rhythms are predictable and universally held across the country. What you can expect to find on a Moroccan table at any one of these meals is also not too hard to guess. Morocco has a long and proud culinary tradition, and families rarely stray far from the basics. Luckily, the basics are universally delicious. (more…)
African, Atlantic, Andulasian, Mediterranean, Berber, Jewish—nowhere is Morocco’s position as the crossroads of cultures more apparent than in its cuisine. Aside from the delicacies you will encounter in restaurants and cafes, you should not shy from another staple of the Moroccan dining: street food. Many a Western visitor might be tempted to avoid carts and stalls in the interest of health, but street food is not just for the very adventurous. A few basic guidelines will help safeguard your stomach and set your mind at ease, and the variety of local specialties you will experience will be worth it. (more…)