Travel

Marrakech Food Tour

7th July 2015

Looking back at all the travels I’ve done in the past 6 months, there is one place I wish I could explore more: Marrakech. I have a feeling I didn’t spend enough time there to really live the city and discover all its secrets. One thing I’m glad I did in the few days I was in Marrakech is taking part to a food tour organised by a lovely couple: Amanda (the American lady behind MarocMama) and her husband Youssef.

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Morocco is known the world over for its amazing food and hospitality. At the epicenter of Moroccan cuisine sits Marrakech. Famous souks, and hundreds of hotels and riads help to make Marrakech a must-stop destination for tourists. Sadly, with so many people coming and going it’s difficult to find food that truly lives up to its reputation. [Marrakech Food Tours]

Youssef was born and raised in Marrakech, Amanda has lived there for more than ten years, so together they have built a knowledge of the best places that the city has to offer. Without Amanda and Youssef I wouldn’t have had a clue what to eat and where to eat it! And let’s be honest, even if I had a list of places I wanted to try, I would have probably got lost in the daedalus of streets of the medina and never found what I was looking for!

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That’s why I highly recommend joining the Marrakech Food Tour which focuses on tasting five of the most authentic dishes Moroccans eat in Marrakech. We joined the evening tour which started at 6pm from Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square and market place of Marrakech.

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We carefully avoided all the stalls in the square, a popular attraction for tourists coming to the city. But according to Youssef and Amanda the food there isn’t very good, so instead we crossed the square to the north side and stopped at a cafe to taste Tangia, slow-cooked lamb that is typical of Marrakech.

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Tangia is cooked inside urns until it’s meltingly tender. The urns are placed in traditional ovens under the ground, heated by hot coals recycled from local hammams.

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Also available to taste at these cafes are Sheep heads, a local delicacy as it’s only found in Marrakech, but I wasn’t brave enough to try it.

Back on the streets, we wandered the Marrakech souqs, while Youssef taught us about the different food artisans, food culture, and history of the area. We stopped by market stalls to taste their olives and inside a bakery to watch Moroccans bake bread in traditional ovens.

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By the time we reached our second stop we were so far into the medina, I wouldn’t have been able to find my way out without following the signs.

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We stopped at a stall to try a sandwich with cow spleen (stuffed with spices and other organ meat). Think of Scottish haggis and you get the idea of what this dish tastes like. It was very good, although I had to block out of my mind the image of what I was actually eating…

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Another typical street food in Marrakech is hout quari, fish balls sandwich with smen (aged butter), tomato sauce, raw onions, harissa and olives. I really liked this sandwich, the fish taste was strong but tamed by the tomato sauce.

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After all the street food, it was time for a sit-down meal in a tiny, family-run restaurant specialised in couscous. Couscous in Morocco is a dish eaten only once a week, on Friday. It requires hours to make, as the grains are steamed several times and stirred by hands to remove all the sticky bits. This couscous with seasonal vegetables, caramelised onions and raisins was my favourite of the entire Moroccan holiday.
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I loved the atmosphere in the small restaurant and watching the women cooking in the kitchen and their big smiles when they served us the couscous.
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We drank Moroccan tea and finished the meal with seasonal fruits, as it’s custom in Morocco.
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Luckily for me, since I have a sweet tooth, there was one more stop planned before we ended the tour: at a Moroccan patisserie. We were back by Jemaa el-Fnaa at this point, having walked through the labyrinth of the medina, back to our starting point.
Youssef ordered for us Avocado and Almond smoothies. They were so good and refreshing! We looked for them again in the following days while travelling in Morocco but couldn’t find one as good as this.
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We also shared a plate of assorted biscuits; Morocco has a long tradition for patisserie as I had the pleasure to discover during my trip. You may remember the recipe I shared a few months ago for Ghoriba, Moroccan semolina cookies. During the food tour I tried for the first time the traditional ka’ab gazelle: a crescent-shaped cookie stuffed with ground almonds, powdered sugar and orange blossom water.
A quick stop at the dried fruit stall across the street to try the delicious Moroccan dates and it was time to say Amanda and Youssef goodbye.
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It was a real pleasure to meet them, learn about their lives in Marrakech and get an insight into life in Morocco. Taking part to a food tour is a great way to discover Marrakech and I highly recommend it!

 

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  • This looks like a wonderful tour – I wish I had done this when I was in Marrakech recently. I loved the food we had in both Marrakech and Essaouira. The lamb tangias we had and the cous cous of many different varieties were my favourite!

    • Thanks for the comment! I am glad you found amazing food in Morocco! :) We loved the tour but also had some bad food, especially during our 4-day tour to the desert.

  • The slow pace

    What a wonderful tour! I absolutely adore Moroccan food and I would love to visit Morocco. Sadly, since we are a same sex couple, travelling to most African countries it’s not very safe for us… And let me emphasize the word sadly because we think that’s an amazing continent with so many different and wonderful cultures!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

    • Oh, that’s very sad! I hope the situation changes so that you and your partner can visit Morocco and other African countries one day!

    • Hi E- I just wanted to add a comment here. You totally should come visit! I have many LGBTQ friends who have visited and had very few if any issues. I hope you do keep it on your radar and come one day!

  • Just came across your blog and have to say that your travel photos are amazing. Morocco is firmly on my list of places to visit and this food tour looks like it would have been so much fun – it is so much better to get off the tourist trail and really experience local food. So colourful as well!

    • Absolutely, especially in Marrakech! Djemaa el fna is full of street food stalls, but there is no way I couldn’t know which one was good. So it was really great to try the local food with the Marrakech Food Tours!

  • Pingback: Ten Fantastic Food Tours Around The World | Foodies 100()

  • Urvashi Roe

    Oh this is making me so hungry for Moroccan food again. I did a similar tour in Fez. Must write that up!

    • Please do! I haven’t been to Fez yet, but it’s on my list of places to visit soon!

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