Moroccan Food Tour

We enjoyed a 4 hour food tour in Marrakech, which involved frequent stops at street stands to taste a variety of foods. Our guide picked us up at our riad about mid-morning, and we began a stroll through the nearby streets.

Our first stop was a small eatery close to our riad, where we tasted a local breakfast dish of hssoua belboula, or barley soup. This was akin to starting the day with cream of wheat. However this was a soup made from barley – a common grain grown in Morocco – and infused with olive oil and cumin. Quite tasty.

The next stop was at a street stand, where three women were producing a pancake/crepe like dish called msemmen. These are made from a basic bread recipe, flattened into a square, fried on a hot metal cooking surface and brushed with a mixture of spices. Best eaten hot, the crepes were very tasty.

Our third stop was another street stand, where the gentleman was producing sferj/chfanj, or Moroccan donuts. These are produced from a water/flour/sugar/salt dough, deep fried and served with copious amounts of drizzled honey.

After a short walk, we came upon another stand which was serving brissara, a soup made from dried fava beans and served with lots of olive oil, cumin and cayenne. This was accompanied with the traditional Moroccan mint tea.

At our next stop we crowded into a very small cafe and squeezed into a table for two – with five people. Our guide then brought us a dish called loubia, a bean soup served with Moroccan bread. This was eaten with folded over small pieces of the delicious bread.

Next was a stop at a local “Starbucks” for strong Moroccan coffee. We watched while the vendor ground the beans, covered them with hot water, placed the container in a barrel of hot and heated sand and allowed the mixture to blend. The result was a wonderful but very strong coffee.

After another stroll through the souk, we came upon a series of olive stalls. Olives are a staple of Moroccan food, and these stands contained a huge variety of olives. We tried several, including a flavored and spicy variety.

Our last stop was for lunch at a restaurant near the main square. We climbed two sets of stairs, finally settling in at a spacious table on the rooftop. After a series of Moroccan salads – all delicious – we were served the main course of a very traditional dish called a tanjia. A tanjia is a Moroccan stew – usually lamb with saffron, cumin, preserved lemon and garlic – cooked in a ceramic jug or amphora for many hours while buried in hot ashes. The end consistency is akin to a confit of lamb, quite delicious.

That was the end of a quite enjoyable food tour. The guide service offers such tours during the day and also in the evening, and offers a good way to experience various foods and to tour part of the medina.

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