Morocco is a part of the Maghreb region of Africa, which also includes Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania. This portion of North Africa is a mix of influences – ranging from the Roman Empire and the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate to French colonization. This region has fascinated me because of this rich mix of influences.
My only foray so far into the Maghreb was a weekend in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2017. While I didn’t enjoy my trip for a number of reasons, the country is worth visiting for its food, as well as its shocking mix of sounds, colors and smells prevalent in Jemaa el-Fnaa.
Named after the earthenware container it’s cooked in, tajine is a traditional dish in the Maghreb region. The dish consists of meat and/or vegetables, spiced with cumin and paprika and roasted over an open fire.
Best served in a large, communal dish by a camp of Berbers under the stars in the Sahara.
[No picture, because the camera DID NOT eat first]
Chickpeas, vegetables and/or meat, cumin and, of course, couscous. Also best served in a communal dish.
Drink as much as humanly possible, and be sure to learn the technique of pouring.
Fresh-pressed orange juice and a pastry straight out of the oven. This pastry was better than any I ever had in France, and the oranges were actually mandarins and, thus, very sweet. I went back to this little window shop every morning, waiting for the guy to roll up on his bicycle with fresh pastries.
What to do when you aren’t eating:
- Explore the souks, but prepare an exit plan.
- Jemaa el-Fnaa
- Monkeys, snake charmers, fresh juices and unknown foods abound in this central square just south of the souks.
- Musée Yves Saint Laurent
- The famous French fashion designer spent much of his time in Marrakesh, when not in France. After his death, his ashes were spread in Marrakesh.
- Mesmerizing architecture. I didn’t go inside, but admired from afar.
- Jardin Majorelle
- Designed by the French painter, Jacques Majorelle, it was later owned by Yves Saint Laurent.
- Majorelle Blue is my favorite color. It’s vibrant, loud and seems to beg you to stare at it forever, and get lost in its deep color.
- Bahia Palace
- Saadian Tombs
- 2+ day tour in the Sahara Desert
- Note: A 2 hour camel ride may sound fun, but you’ll be VERY over it after just 2 minutes.
- Spa day at the Hamam
- Preferably after your Sahara tour.