When I think of Morocco now my mind is flooded with sandy and burnt reds, browns and yellows, I feel the warmth of the dry sun on my face, I hear a faint buzzing of motorbikes and intertwined Arabic and French, my nose is filled with hipnotic aromas and the tastes of 17 spices hit my tongue.

Ait Ben Haddou

I had been in Morocco for an entire hour and already felt the end of the trip arriving, wanting to stay longer, much longer.

Marrakech was a feast for the eyes and mouth. Amongst its palette of earthy reds and yellows burst richly coloured gems and twinkles of silver and bronze. My eyes were hungry to explore every tiny street, every hidden corner of the Medina (the Old City). It had so much to offer and discover.

Driving for hours out to the desert at Zagora I watched the Berber villagers blur past my window, children playing ball and women collecting water. The snow capped Atlas mountains flew high above me before we descended into an endless view of sand studded with palm trees and crumbling buildings.

Figs, dates, apricots by the wagonload. My mouth watered as I wandered past the stalls of heaping dried fruits and nuts. We spent much of our time exploring the Souks, gazing at the delicately detailed textiles, and speaking with the locals.


We enjoyed a variety of tajines but the one that left the longest lasting taste in my mouth and memory was the chicken tajine that I cooked myself. Lemons soaked in oil water for a month, a handful of spices, fresh vegetables and chicken all came together and cooked slowly over a fire in a rustic, ceramic pot. 

Mint Tea

I couldn't tell you how many cups of this stuff I drank while I was in Morocco, but it was a lot. With my extreme (and somewhat childish) aversion to mint I forced myself to drink my first cup. I was surprised when I didn't immediately gag after the first sip. It was very, very sweet and the mint is a lot less pronounced than I thought it would be. I became less and less irritated by the mint flavour as the days went on, and found myself reaching for my third and fourth cup in the chilly desert morning.

A turning point in my life? Has Morocco cured me?

Harissa soup

Whether it was with the locals in the center of the Djemaa El-fna for 3 DHM, at a rooftop terrace where I danced with the waiter, or cupping my hands around a warm bowl in the desert and scraping every last bit from it's sandy bottom, I really enjoyed this traditional tomato soup.

You can't go to Morocco and not eat couscous! I definitely got my fix, especially with this mountain of seven vegetable couscous, which was one of the nicest I had while I was there.

We ate at the night markets in Djemaa El-fna almost everynight. The food was just so good, and quite cheap too. There were tons of stalls all competing with each other for customers and selling the most hilarious sales pitches. Among the rows and rows we managed to find our favourite stall, where we became regulars.

I tried the pastilla more than once: a savoury, but slightly sweetened, pastry that includes nuts and chicken in its filling.

Moroccan pastries are heavenly. Countless varieties filled with crushed nuts, dried fruits and sweet syrups, I did my best to try as many as I could.

One night we stall-hopped a bit for our dinner courses. At one particularly busy one we squeezed ourselves amongst the locals and asked for a plate of lemon lamb. Just as we took our first bites we were surprised by another plate. What was on it? Brain, pieces of goat's head, and something else I'm still not entirely sure of what it was. We tried it all (...when in Morocco!). Let's just say it wasn't my favourite dish of the trip... though the memory will certainly always stick with me.

The end of this dream came suddenly and I was whisked away back to France. Now I'm home in the mountains and falling back into routine.

I'll remember Morocco and how rich it is.

 Rich in culture, art and tastes; magically parfumed and so brilliantly coloured.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Jen! This is such a great post. I love your writing, your pictures, and of course, your food descriptions. It seems like an amazing trip! (If you have reading downtime, you should read Désert by JMG Le Clézio, this post reminds me of it!) LOVE YOU.