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kiwi in morroco

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kiwi View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 February 2013 at 17:00
So, I've just got in to Marrakech and had my first meal in the djemaa el-fna (big central square in 
the old souk) and thought I should dust off my account and share for the next wee while... today I just had the crappy phone camera as we arrived late, dumped bags and headed out for a feed.

There are loads of food stalls teeming with locals, and they all have variations on the same menus - couscous, tangine, flatbreads, olives, harira, grilled aubergine, etc. It is all amazing. Everywhere has seemingly endless supplies of mint tea. loads of juice stalls offering squeezed orange juice by the glass for 4DH (uh, about 0.40 Euro?) or amazing ginseng, ginger and cinnamon teas.

The different food stalls all have seating, and compete for your business with some of the most entertaining promises I've ever heard from a street hawker. My favorite was the guy who promised air conditioning and a swimming pool.

Men drag around carts covered with confectionery, you can grab a box and fill it for 30DH (about 3 euro) from your table when you've finished dinner.

I think that our two dinners, juices, teas, confectionery etc all came to about the price of the pint of beer I had at Gatwick airport a few hours earlier. 


This place is awesome.

Better photos tomorrow.

kai time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 02:51
Kiwi!...great to see you posting again my friend.

Enjoy your time in Marakesh...looking forward to some exotic  posts.Thumbs Up
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 03:21
 
 
Good Evening Kiwi,
 
Firstly,  Enjoy the profoundly steeped in history culture of Marrakesh ... and on the epicurean side of things; the fish; chicken and lamb Tagines, the Bazaars & the aromatic spices ...
 
I like Tangier Port too.
Morocco is spelt with 1 " R " and two " C´s " ...
 
ENJOY,
Margaux.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 09:56
Sounds like you're off to a great start! Enjoy it, I can't wait to hear all about it.
Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 19:53
    How cool, congrats!  Sounds like a wonderful start to your trip.  I look forward to more pictures and descriptions of the foods, the flavors and textures.  Enjoy your stay!

  Dan
Enjoy The Food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2013 at 18:00
Richard!
 
Thanks much for the great report! The food looks wonderful, and can't wait for your next post ~
 
Travel well, and have fun!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 February 2013 at 09:25
My bast holiday was in maroco the food the smells the color and the people.
if you can go and see the berbers. have fun  and safe travling.
me and afriend eating charira soup at jama alfna
 
 
Ahron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 February 2013 at 10:27

Morocco is certainly a wonderful Mediterranean epicurean escape ... it is quite an adventure in palate paradise cuisines ...

 
Nice photo Ahron ...
 
Enjoy,
Margi
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kiwi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 04:50
Phew so that posting every night thing didn't work out too well for me...

I'm on the train from Fez to Casablanca at the moment (Morocco actually has great mobile internet), shortly bound to Istanbul and then Cappadocia.

Some thoughts on Morocco. Firstly, if you come here, Fez is cooler than Marrakech for the old medina experience - much more laid back as well and feels like less of a tourist trap (as long as you stay away from the tanneries). Secondly, don't come here if you have diabetes. They sure love their sugar here!

Also, be prepared to relax your food hygiene standards a bit. The food is generally pretty safe, but utensils and servingware (especially glasses) are not always the cleanest. Cats are everywhere. They're not feral, but they aren't pets. They seem to be tolerated around food to keep the rodents down. Here is one such kitty eating out of a scrap bin in a street stall
SWMBO and I have a game where we compete to see who can spot the most cats. Yesterday was really close (32 vs 29 to me) but then when we were eating dinner she spotted a whole crate of kittens, and I was forced to concede. 

It can sometimes be a challenge to get really good Moroccan food as a tourist, because most Moroccans take their main meals at home, and the eateries are often more "fusion" cooking, there is a very strong French / med influence, I.e this is a eggplant, tomato and honeyed onion tart - the filling is very Moroccan, but the execution is quite french.

The best way is to try and get yourself invited home with a local to experience their cooking. We managaed to get a breakfast in this village in the High Atlas foothills:

The village is surrounded by their fields - the main crops around here are olives, plums, apples, argan nuts (for oil) and wheat. Many houses have a milk cow living in a room of the house, and it is brought fodder or occasionally taken for a walk to find it's own.  

They love their mint tea in Morocco, It's about as common as bottled water (i.e. everywhere) and you are constantly invited into shops and such for tea. Also known as Berber Whiskey (a joke in the mostly dry country), and usually green made from tea (imported) and fresh common mint leaves with enough sugar to rot a regiment's teeth, but the stuff grows on you. Other herbs are sometimes added, because it is winter here at the moment, a small amount of sage is often used. The sugar (normally about a large lump per teapot, I'd guess around 2-3 teaspoons per glass?) is local, but still processed in a mill and bought back in bricks, which they have to smash up with a little sugar hammer. Sometimes they make quite a ceremony of the brewing:
notice the basket of washed mint and sage, most of that is going into the pot! it's a lot of mint. Also see the wood fire pot for the kettle. Those are sugar bricks on the left hand side of the first photo.

Breakfast is traditionally fresh flatbreads (seemingly sourdough-like in the hills, tasting more like they use bread yeast in the cities but I'm not sure). In the cities the women of the house make the dough and bring it to the local bakehouse to be baked in a woodfired oven. I was sure I had photos of this but now I can't seem to find them! In the country where there aren't enough people to justify keeping a wood fired oven running it seems more common to use a cast iron plate over wood coals, and cook them almost like a pancake - the result is close to a pita bread.
[Imgur](http://i.imgur.com/0e7qtV5)

The bread is broken and shared, and usually dipped (right handed ;) ) into butter (from the cow of course) and whatever is harvested locally - usually a olive oil, and a jam or two (apricot and plum seem common), though  once I was lucky enough to be served it with the local argan oil.
This is Ismail:
See the dark colour of the butter? it's clarified after churning by heating to help it last (no refrigeration).

Before I get too far from the subject of tea, there was another brew that was especially memorable, probably one of the more intensely flavoured concoctions I've ever tried. I never managed to actually get the name of the stuff, although a couple of people referred to it as Berber Viagra... In the main square of Marrakech there is a row of sellers of this tea, it's made from ginger, ginseng, and cinnamon, but a load of other things in smaller quantities, if I was to guess I'd say cardamon, clove and nutmeg feature in the mix too. They serve you a glass of this and a slice of a moist cake made from the same spice mix, and the combination is almost overpowering, but a great thing for a cold evening.
stall:
Cake:
I've learned to appreciate plastic coverings - although it may seem fine in the evenings, food without it would have been crawling with flies all day.
serving:
Great dessert.

Posting this before I lose reception in the hills, more soon.
kai time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 05:35
A wonderful post Kiwi! Thank you for taking us with you, I can almost taste the tea!
Mark R
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 08:30

Kiwi,

 
TRULY LOVELY FOTOS, AND VERY INTERESTING EPICUREAN ESCAPES ... AND BACKGROUND HIGHLIGHTS TO A WONDERFUL SHEER PLEASURABLE READ ...
 
THANKS SO MUCH FOR SHARING ...
 
ARE U HEADING TO PORT TANGIER ?
 
ORDER A LEMON OLIVE AND CHICKEN TAGINE OR LAMB AND DATES TAGINE !!! or FISH TAGINE WITH COUS COUS ... WONDERFUL ...
 
Have a safe and wonderful trip,
Margi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 09:19
What a marvelous trip and experience, Kiwi.
 
I think I hate you Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 09:55
Wow looks like you have a great time .
be safe and have fun .
Ahron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 10:24
KIWI,
 
THERE IS AN ENORMOUS CAT COLONY IN ROMA, IN THE COLLISIEUM !!!  PEOPLE BRING FOOD TO THE FELINES ... THEY HAVE EXISTED SINCE TIME MEMORIAL, AND KEEP DOWN THE AWFUL RODENT PROBLEM ...
 
THANKS FOR SHARING AGAIN, AND HAVE GREAT TIME;
MARGI.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kiwi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 March 2013 at 11:39
Well, I ran out of time again eh? I actually got the post pretty much written but the internet ate it.

Writing this now from central turkey (more on that later). Firstly, I stuffed up an image link in that last post, here is the flatbreads on terra cotta over coals:

So, onwards. Tagines - Probably the most identifiable Moroccan dish, you find them everywhere, in people houses, lined up roasting on streetside stalls (even in the middle of nowhere), as well as eateries. 

They're pretty variable for the tourist, and the cheap ones are likely just steamed or stewed meat and veg added to a tangine to serve, and pretty bland. However, if you shell out for good ones, you're in for a treat. You can spot the traditionally made ones by the fact they're still sizzling, and the caramelized onions. Some notable combinations were beef, fig and olive; chicken, lemon and olive; Chicken, prunes, and almonds. a few pics-

(note the pastilla in the background)

That one was up on a terrace over Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakech, what a stunning setting for a meal - a couple of shots taken from my seat at the table. Imagine the calls to prayer echoing around from all the different mosques as an accompaniment:

 

Soon - couscous, street food, OJ, camel, and the most epic breakfast ever in fes.   
kai time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 March 2013 at 11:52

Kiwi,

 
Thanks so much for posting your authentic Moroccan dinners ... They look exquisite ... Truly enjoyed your photos.
 
We have just been talking about driving down to Tarifa, in Cadiz, Spain and taking the Jeep on the Ferry the 14 kilometres to Tangier ...
 
We have a week of vacation coming up at end of month; so it is either Tangier and / or our apartment condominium in Puglia ...
 
Are you in Istanbul or Antalaya ? or Kudasi ? Also, an epicurean escape of authentic Mediterranean treasures for the palate !
 
 
Thanks again;
Margi
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 March 2013 at 14:22
Wonderful pics & narration. Morrocco is some place I hope to be able to visit in the future.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2013 at 02:54
A magnificent journey you're on there Kiwi...I hope it continues for a bit...I always look forward to your posts!Thumbs Up
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kiwi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 March 2013 at 00:32
phew alright got another half hour to fill in... I'm getting really behind on this but the photos are all banked up... I'm currently in Sarajevo. Anatolian cooking has completely trumped Morocco so I'll get through this quickly.

OK, so couscous. To be honest, I found the couscous a bit disappointing, for the most part what I found were pretty bland dishes. However, it's cheap and filling, so sometimes good for a traveler on the run.  I did have one notable exceptional couscous dish, a roast chicken, apricot and almond number which I only managed to get on the phone camera unfortunately:

This was a standout from the trip (also note the camel burger in the background), although my usual gripe about food here applies - everything is so sweet, you might need to go to one of these shops for some al fresco dentistry:

Street food. I'm a bit of a street food junkie, I like wandering around and looking at where the locals are eating lunch. One day this lead me to a great little kofte shop filled with local workers. You point at the kofte you want and say how many and then it's cooked in front of you and arrives with bread, chips and mint tea. This was amazingly tasty, the kofte were just perfect and nicely spiced, bread was still warm from the bakery. From memory the meal cost us about 1.5 euro.

Moroccan hospitality is famous, and that seems to extend to the breakfasts. In one place we stayed, the breakfast for two people almost wouldn't fit on our table! Phone photo again sorry, but the best part was the moroccan pancake-like creation Rghaif, where to dough is rolled into a cylinder then squashed vertically so you get a kind of spiral doughy flakiness too it - great stuff dipped in local honey

finally, this is a butchery in Fes -

and look at the cats at closing time!

Next - Anatolia - Lokum and eggplant. 
kai time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 March 2013 at 02:05
Kiwi Good Morning,
 
On a personal note, I am in agreement with you ... I truly prefer Turkish regional cuisine over Moroccan cuisine ...
 
Antayla, Kudasi and Istanbul from my viewpoint have far superior products ... The selection of sea and land is much more developed ... The fruit and vegetables as well ... And their take on combining spices and condiments --- date back to the Persian Empire 6th century ...
 
Look forward to your photos taken in Antayla ...
 
Kind regards,
Margi.
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