|Posted by Alecia Cohen on August 18, 2015 at 7:10 PM||comments (0)|
Travel Exploration announces our Imperial City fall cuisine tour slated for November 2015 with a focus on Fes-Gourmet. Inclusive in this gastronomic adventure for foodies are daily Morocco food tours and evenings of delight at the celebrate the Fes-Gourmet festival. The Fes Gourmet Festival is an experience not to be missed and a perfect inclusion on a private tour to Morocco for foodies and leading chefs.
Visit Fes with Travel Exploration this November for a once in a lifetime culinary adventure and a Taste of Morocco. Participate in dining at over 10 riads in the Fez medina who offer up unique dishes indigenous of traditional Fes. Fes-Gourmet is the premiere cuisine festival that takes place annually in Fez and was created by the Regional Association for Maison d'Hotes to celebrate and highlight traditional cuisine of Fes.
During the period of November 1st – 11th, 2015 a selective group of boutique riads in Fez renowned for their magnificent cuisine traditions will offer exclusive three course menus created specifically as a part of Fes-Gourmet. Guests who participate in the Fes-Gourmet Festival will respectively enjoy a gourmet menu chosen by each riad in Fez. Each menu offers main courses unique to Fes and traditional Moroccan tea.
Other amenities on Travel Exploration's Taste of Morocco adventure are a Fes Souk Tasting Trail Tour of the old Medina, a Cooking Class in Marrakech led by a Daada Chef and a five-course dining experience in Djemaa El Fna Square.
The following menus have already been selected for the Fes-Gourmet Cuisine Festival:
FES GOURMET: Prefixed Rate, Water & Tea Included
RIAD DAMIA Quail Know to honey stuffed to the semolina & raisins
RIAD SOUAFINE Couscous Medfoun of Lamb Ryad Mabrouka Tagine of Lamb Mrouzia, Raisins & Almonds
DAR VICTORIA Kefta of Whiting & eggs of trout in the Atlas,Saffron Rice
DAR EL BALI Tagine of Chicken with Almonds and apricots stuffed
RIAD Bearded Owl-clover Mekfoul of Shin of beef, onions and tomatoes caramelized
DAR ATTAJALI Tagine Vegetarian the Cardoons, turnips, potatoes, artichokes, Dates & walnuts
RIAD THE SUGAR BOWL OF FEZ Tagine of chicken farmer to tomatoes candied
DAR AL SAFADI Fillet of Beef with sweet spices, vegetables in season
RIAD ANATA Tagine of Lamb with Prunes & Almonds
Luxury and Comfort Boutique Riads in Fez participating in "Fes Gourmet” are: Ryad Mabrouka, Dar El Bali, Dar Attajalli, Riad Braya, Riad Norma, Riad Souafine, Dar Damia, Dar El Ghalia, Riad Al Bartal, Riad El Amine, Le Sucrier de Fès
Join Travel Exploration’s Fes- Gourmet and Imperial City Cuisine Tour A Taste of Morocco Today – 11 Days/ 10 Nights of Blissful Dining and Culinary Exploration for Foodies
November 1st: Casablanca Arrival. Visit the Grand White Mosque. Seafood tasting and fresh grill of Casablanca. Overnight Casablanca.
November 2nd: Visit Imperial Meknes, the Olive Market, Local Fare and the Roman Ruins of Volbuilis en route to Fes. Fez Gastronomy at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.
November 3rd: Fes Site Seeing Tour. Fes Gastronomy at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.
November 4th: Fes Palaces and Gardens Tour. Fes Gastronomy Dinner at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.
November 5th: Fes Souk Tasting Trails. The best Fes Food Tour. Fes Gastronomy Dinner at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.
November 6th: Cook Up Fes – Participate in a Cooking Class – Options are family style with local specialties or pastry class. Fes Gastronomy Dinner at a Boutique Riad. Overnight Fes.
November 7th: Fes – High Atlas Ifrane Region – Tasting of Local Pastries. Tea with a local family and continue to Marrakech. Marrakech gastronomy dinner. Overnight Marrakech.
November 8th: Marrakech Site Seeing Tour. A Taste of Marrakech- 5 Course Dinner in Djemaa El Fna Square. Overnight Marrakech.
November 9th: Marrakech Cooking Class Led by a Daada Chef. Marrakech gastronomy dinner. Overnight Marrakech.
November 10th: Marrakech Excursion to the High Atlas for a Berber village lunch and Hike or Excursion to the Coastal town of Essaouira. Seafood gastronomic lunch. Overnight Marrakech.
November 11th: Marrakech - Casablanca Departure.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on June 7, 2015 at 6:40 PM||comments (0)|
UN statistics suggest that average literacy rates in Morocco are as high as 67% (in 2011). However, this figure hides large discrepancies between males and females and between urban and rural populations. Typically, girls in Morocco are less well-educated than boys. Additionally, in rural communities or poorer areas of the medinas, parents may remove children from school at an early age to work or help the family. The Medina Children's Library in the medieval old city of Fez aims to support children's learning and make it fun. Co-founder of the library, author Suzanna Clarke, says: "Houses I have visited in the Medina rarely have books beyond the Koran, and certainly none for children. Lots of children don’t continue their education past primary school and are expected to become part of the family business."
Since its opening in January 2015, the Medina Children's Library has become a big hit with local kids. On average, between 35-50 kids attend every day. In May 2015 alone, it welcomed over 1,100 children through its doors. Wafae, aged nine, explains: “Before the library was here, I only used to play in the street with my friends.” And Kawtar, five years old, added, “I come to the library because I want to read more stories. They stay with me always.” Local children are really excited to have a place to go to discover books, listen to stories and read in a welcoming and safe environment near their homes. They can also borrow books for up to a week to read at home and share with their families. Khadija, aged 13, explains: "I come to read short stories and novels in French and Arabic. I also like to take the books home to read them." The library has been conceived with a particular focus on younger children: pre-readers and developing readers (up to the age of 14 years old). Children in the Fez medina have ample access to TV and the internet, but children need age appropriate and culturally relevant books to fuel their learning and development as they grow. Through their own enthusiasm for reading, they can also ignite an interest in their parents, many of whom themselves are illiterate.
As well as reading, the children can come to the library to listen to stories read from books. Once a day in the week and twice daily at weekends, a volunteer reader brings the stories alive and continues a tradition of oral storytelling very familiar to the children. They sit quietly to listen and are eager to answer comprehension questions. The sessions encourage them to discover the stories contained in the books for themselves. The library is staffed by local volunteers. Hamza, 23, is studying for a degree in English. He got involved because "I live in the medina, I like reading and I like children." He and fellow librarian Safae supervise the kids in the library and faithfully record their attendance and the books they borrow. The Medina Children's Library is managed by the Fez Association for Children of the Medina. The association's members are volunteers committed to improving the lives of children in the Fez Medina and to bringing their own love of reading to the children of their local neighbourhood. They have great ambition to expand the library to new premises and add extras such as creative, sport and environmental activities to the library's remit. The library is open 10am - 7pm on weekdays and 10am - 6pm at weekends at 41 Zkak Rouah – Talaa Sghira in the Fez Medina. Further information on the library and how to contribute are available at: www.medinachildrenslibrary.org
Written by Lynn Sheppard Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.
For more information about the Fez Medina's Children's Library or a Tour of Fes Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on February 28, 2015 at 3:40 PM||comments (0)|
For travelers with specific dietary requirements, such as vegetarians and vegans, a key concern when planning a trip to Morocco is whether they will find enough variety in their meals. Part of the fun of travel is discovering the local cuisine and the good news is that even those who don't eat meat can experience the unique flavors of Moroccan food. Moroccans live in tune with the seasons and tend to shop fresh and local. You will see souks (markets) piled high with freshly-harvested fruit and vegetables.
Much of these have not been treated with pesticides or artificial fertilizers and after a quick rinse or peel, these are ready to eat! In summer, men set up carts laden with Berber figs (prickly pears) which they will deftly peel for you right on the spot. These, along with grilled corn; boiled and salted garbanzo beans and fava beans; ma'aquda potato patties; freshly roasted nuts, or a handful of dried fruit make great vegetarian snacks and all this street food is readily available for a few dirham in a paper poke. But let's get on to the main affair... Morocco's famous tajines and couscous! Can vegetarians safely eat the Moroccan national dishes? The good news is that yes, these are easily adaptable for non-meat eaters. The less good news is that Moroccans typically eat meat every day and rely on it to flavor the dish - they may find your request strange, but in tourist centers restaurants will be accustomed to requests for vegetarian tajine or couscous. Strict vegetarians and vegans may find it harder to ensure that their dish is not simply the normal version with the meat picked out. The safest way to avoid this is to order your meal in advance, for example from your riad. To make meat-free tajine or couscous more interesting (and authentic), request the addition of chickpeas (in Arabic: hoummus) or a garnish of caramelized onion and sultanas (tfaya).
All those fresh veggies are fabulous in salads. Once you've had enough of the standard salade marocaine (diced tomato, cucumber, onion and herbs), track down the full range of cooked Moroccan salads. These take longer to prepare, so are often found in more formal restaurants, but they are worth it! The combination of herbs and spices in a selection of small taster salads - like a Middle Eastern mezze - is a real treat and they are all generally vegan, made with olive and argan oils.
Try shakchuka (roasted pepper and tomato), zaaluq (pureed eggplant with tomato) or salads with carrots, pumpkin, beets or beans. The classic Moroccan soup, harira, is also often made with a vegetable stock (but double check to be sure!) Served to break the fast during Ramadan and a favorite as an early evening snack all year round, it is like a meal in a bowl. Containing tomatoes, garbanzos, lentils, pasta or rice and herbs, it is flavorsome and - served with dates, sweet pastries or fluffy msimen pancakes - sure to satisfy your appetite! Another popular vegetarian soup is baysara. You'll find this thick soup of pureed fava beans, with its characteristic slick of virgin olive oil and sprinkle of cumin, only in the mornings - it's a popular breakfast dish for workers, costing only a few dirham. For those with a sweet tooth... You are in good company in Morocco!
Moroccans love cakes, pastries and biscuits. Some may be made with butter, although traditional breakfast/teatime snacks such as sfinj (ring donuts), msimen (flaky pancakes), bghrir (full of holes like English crumpets only larger and thinner), shbakia (fried cinnamon twists) and breads tend to be made with oil or water. Pastries such as the classic 'gazelles horns' and other sweet treats may contain butter, so vegans will need to check. For a healthier sweet option, there are a myriad of juice and smoothie combinations and many juice bars can also make up a fruit salad on request. If you like your juice natural, ask for sans sucre (no added sugar). To finish at the start of the day, breakfast is seldom an issue for vegetarian travelers in Morocco. Typically riad guest houses and hotels serve a selection of breads and pastries with jams, honeys and oils, perhaps some local olives or fruit and orange juice. Eggs are available everywhere and a "BM" or Berber omelet (an omelet on a base of spicy tomatoes and onions) is something every Moroccan can rustle up - even in the remotest desert or mountain locations.
For those almost-vegetarians who eat fish, you are in for a treat on Morocco's Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines in cities such as Agadir, Essaouira and Oualidia. And if you hanker a little variety and yearn for something more familiar on one night of your vacation, you will find a selection of restaurants in large cities serving everything from Thai food to pizzas; Lebanese falafel to sushi and spaghetti to curry. An entirely vegetarian restaurant, however, would be rare in Morocco! Then there are Moroccan riads that specialize in cuisine and offer meat free options. Wonderful vegetarian and even wheat free cuisine can be found in Fes at Dar Roumana, a boutique riad run by French chef Vincent Bonnin and his wife Vanessa. Riad Idrissy and The Ruined Garden in Fes offer an interesting take on vegetarian dishes as does the famous boutique hotel La Maison Arabe in Marrakech that can serve up one of Morocco's most tasteful Berber Vegan tajines. As a Morocco traveler you are guaranteed contemporary inspired and traditional cuisine in Morocco that is meat free. Besawaraha! (Arabic for "Bon Appetit!" or "Enjoy!") Written by Lynn Sheppard Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.
For more Meat Free Morocco or A Taste of Morocco Tour Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on June 9, 2014 at 3:55 PM||comments (0)|
The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with the theme Conference of the Birds: Journey of Cultures. It has been twenty years of a musical, spiritual and artistic journey exploring the cultures and traditions of the world, revealed in ever greater depth through concerts, exhibitions, film screenings and debates. It takes place in Fes, Morocco from June 13th – 21st, 2014.
PRESS RELEASE – FES FESTIVAL OF SACRED WORLD MUSIC
The seven continents are represented by superb artists, grand masters renowned for their art: from Europe, one of the greatest tenors of our time, Roberto Alagna, presents a show created specially for the Festival; in addition to Tomatito, who works with Paco de Lucia at the top of his field of flamenco guitar. Representing Africa is an encounter between Youssou N’dour and Johnny Clegg in a tribute to Nelson Mandela; along with Rokia Traoré. From Asia is the prestigious Arab singer Kadem Saher and Zakir Hussain, the most celebrated Indian tabla musician. Morocco is represented by a number of artists during the opening concert and also in an Arab-Jewish-Andalusian evening showcasing the greatest Moroccan artists both Muslim and Jewish, presenting their magnificently rich cultural heritage.
Luzmilla Carpio from Bolivia represents South America, and Buddy Guy from North America, the great legend of Chicago blues who will be visiting Morocco for the first time with his ensemble, presenting the mythical music of this Afro-American culture. The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music and the Fes Forum, founded in1994 and 2001, are dedicated to the traditions of knowledge, art and spirituality of the city. The Fes Festival was designated in 2001 by the United Nations as one of the major events contributing in remarkable fashion to the dialogue between civilizations.
Forum Director and Founder, Faouzi Skali introduces the Festival and Travel Exploraiton Morocco is proud to present the 2014 program here.
The opening concert of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music features the premiere of a work specially commissioned for the Festival. It is a feast of stagecraft and the visual arts that encompasses music, dance, song, video and poetry. The opening concert at 21h00 on 13 June at Bab al Makina entitled Manteq at-Tayr in Arabic, Conference of the Birds : Journey of Cultures. This work encompasses the journey of different world cultures in their quest for direction and of their transformation as they encounter various exchanges. Performance inspired by The Conference of the Birds by Farid Ud-Din Attar, translated by Leili Anvar and published by Diane de Selliers. They take place throughout the Fes Festival as a fitting finish to the day’s events in a warm atmosphere full of spirituality and conviviality. It’s a perfect moment to be shared by all, in the gardens of Dar Tazi in the heart of the Fes medina.
Medina Nights Performers from June 16th – 18th: Breezes of the Atlas & Jews Harp from China, The Choir of Saint Ephraim, Majils Triom Atlan Ensemble, Leili Anvar, Marifat, Khalil Abu Nicola, Tomatito Sextet, Nouhalia El Khalai, Mor Karbasi, Zakir Hussain
Festival in the City Concert Program:
The Festival in the City brings together all the great traditions of sacred music, spiritual music, and world music. As part of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, it offers free daily concerts in popular city squares for the people of Fes, Morocco and from abroad. These large public concerts are free and take place at Boujloud Square at 18h30 (except saturday June 14th at 22h30 - 10:30pm) and at the Jnan Sbil garden at 16h. Saturday 14 June Jnan Sbil garden 16h : Ensemble Takht al Arabi, Aziz Liwae From Bab Boujloud 18h : 2nd RACE TO THE RHYTHM OF WORLD SACRED MUSIC with traditional folkloric groups from all over Morocco will perform along the route. Bab Boujloud 22h30 Chant d’Ahidous de l’Atlas / Badr Rami (Syrie) Sunday 15 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Songs of the group Aisawa, Said Berrada Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Musa Dieng Kala (Sénégal) / Jil Jilala Monday 16 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Feminin orchestra of Fès Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Luzmila Carpio (Bolivia) / Ouled Al Bouazzaoui (Songs of theAïeta ) Tuesday 17 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Nasr Migri Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Ribab Fusion (Amazigh’s songs from Souss)/Sefrawa Fusion (winner of the Tremplin Fé Riad 2014) Wednesday 18 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Roudaniyat, women from Mèknes Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Laabi Orchestra Thursday 19 June Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Amina Ben Souda Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Raza Khan (India) /Abidat Rma Friday 20 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Songs of Melhoûn, Mohammed El Hadri/ Amazigh poetry reading: Omar Taous Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Hot 8 Brass Band (USA)/ Saïda Charaf Sunday 21 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Ihsan Rmiki Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Kadim Al Sahira Free entry Dar Tazi: Sufi Nights from 23h00 These outdoor samaâ concerts are open to all, and give a glimpse into Islamic culture through the richness and creativity of its artistic and spiritual dimensions. Saturday 14 June : National Tijani group of Rabat directed by Mohcine Nawrach, with sama’a and madih Sunday 15 June : Group from the Darkaouia Zaouia, Essaouira Monday 16 June : Group from the Sakalia Zaouia in Fes, directed by Haj Mohamed Bennis Tuesday 17 June : Group from the Naqchabandia Zaouia directed by Noureddine Tahiri Wednesday 18 June : Group Rouh of Meknes directed by Yassine Habibi, with Sufi sama’a Thursday 19 June : Group from the Harrakia Zaouia, Rabat F Friday 20 June : Group from the Ouazzania Zaouia of Ouazzane directed by Fouad Ouazzani Saturday 21 June : Group from the Hamdouchia Zaouia of Fez directed by Abderrahim Amrani
For more information about the Fes Festival of Sacred World Music or Fes Tours Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on November 9, 2013 at 7:05 AM||comments (0)|
Morocco ‘s 4th Imperial City of Meknes is often left off tourist itineraries. Meknes is a UNESCO World heritage site and has massive imposing ramparts, 25 kms long, built by Sultan Moulay Ismail, of the Alaouite dynasty, who ruled Morocco from 1672-1727. He chose Meknes as his capital because of the resistance and intrigue he encountered in Fes and Marrakech. He successfully defeated warring tribes and religious brotherhoods in the south uniting the country and repelling European invaders in the north, liberating Tangiers from British rule. The Sultan Moulay Ismaeil also withstood the Ottoman invaders who took Tunisia and Algeria. Having won many battles and ensuring the unity of what became the modern Moroccan state, he returned to build Meknes as his capital over a period of 55 years.
Moulay Ismail was not one to do things by half measures. The old town of Meknes had been the capital of a Berber tribe which had come from Tunisia, the Mekanassa. Alongside this old medina town the Sultan built his imperial city which provided accommodation for his wives and some 500 concubines and 800 children with 24 royal palaces, mosques, barracks and ornamental gardens, surrounded by four sets of massive defensive walls . The Sultan also installed his army of black soldiers, the Abids or Black Guard, which grew to a force of more than 25,000 in number during his reign in Meknes.
He used this slave army to impose a centralized state instead of using unreliable Moroccan tribes to enforce his rule as other sultans had done before him. He created a huge complex, which you can still see, for storage facilities and stabling for thousands of horses at the Heri el Souani granary. He used 50,000 Berber and European slaves to build the imperial city. He plundered the roman remains of Volubilis and completely removed the interior of the Badi Palace in Marrakech to build his imperial city. Despite his iron control during his reign he failed to ensure the succession. Shortly after his death his sons dismantled most of what he had built within the walls and removed the materials to other locations following a pattern repeated in Moroccan history up until the French Protectorate and conservation efforts following Morocco’s independence in 1956.
Meknes has some remarkable entrance gates or babs, the best known and most ornate is the Bab Mansour, embellished with zellij tiles and Islamic script engraven on stucco. It is at Place el Helim which separates the Medina from the Imperial city and the nearby Bab Jema en Nouar ,both designed by Moulay Ismail’s court architect, a Christian renegade known as Mansour el Aleuj.
The Dar Jamai Museum overlooks the Place el Helim and is a former palace built in 1882 for the Jamai family, two of whom were viziers to the sultan. Since 1920 it became one of Morocco’s best museums displaying the work of urban craftsmen and traditional Berber tribal artifacts. Its exhibits include ceramics, antique Fes and Meknes pottery, Berber jewelry, rugs, kelims, antique carpets, embroidery and woodwork. You can also enjoy the greenery and fountains of the museum’s Andalusian garden . Upstairs the vizier’s salon is arranged as a typical 19th century palace reception room with period decorations and furniture. Opposite the Grand Mosque is the Medersa Bou Inania, a Merinid Medersa ( Islamic college) built in 1358 by Bou Inania ,who also built the renowned Medersa of the same name in Fes which is much larger. The medersa has fine zellij tiles, delicate stucco relief work and a carved olive wood ceiling.
You can climb up to the roof for a fine view of the green tiled Grand Mosque and its minaret. The medersa itself is closed to non muslims. In the Imperial City the tomb of its founder Sultan Moulay Ismail remains and is open to non muslims. It has courtyards which lead to the tomb hall which is finely decorated with zellij tiles and crafted stucco decorations. You can view the tomb but should not advance in to the chamber which is visited by pilgrims. Moulay Ismail’s parade ground, the mechaouar, for reviewing his troops, is now called the Place Lalla Aouda and lies to the south of the Bab Mansour . The Koubbba al Sufara further on, is where the sultan received ambassadors and stairs lead down to a large crypt with dark rooms which are said to be dungeons but were apparently for storage.
The medina is smaller than that of Fes or Marrakech but nevertheless has good souks for jewelry, textiles, carpets and kelims. For accommodation you can choose riads in the medina including Riad Yacout or Riad D’Or and the Ville Nouvelle has a number of hotels including the Ibis and the Transatlantique. If you fancy a drink there is Le Pub and there are a number of restaurants in the medina including Dar Sultana and Restaurant Zitouna and in the Ville Nouvelle, such as Chez Phillipe and the Bistrot Art & Wine Bar. Meknes is a good place to stay whilst visiting the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis with its famous mosaics and the religious pilgrimage town of Moulay Idris. As well as being famous for its ramparts Meknes and the region is also a major agricultural centre and is home to the famous vineyards of Celliers de Meknes at Chateau Roslane which produces many fine Moroccan wines. Ask your travel agent to arrange a visit.
For More Information on Meknes Tours and Attractions Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on August 18, 2013 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
Eating in Djemaa El Fna Square, Marrakech Street Food Moroccan Street Food is a great way to discover Morocco's local culture. While the best Moroccan food is said to be found in a Moroccan home, very reasonably priced street food is available in small stalls and roadside cafés all over Morocco. Eating Moroccan Street Food in the old medina of Fes, Marrakech and Essaouira allows for a great opportunity to meet Moroccans during breakfast, lunch and dinner or just for a snack. Moroccan Street Food is also the best way to discover local Moroccan fresh foods that are well cooked and full of flavor. For breakfast small stands provide an array of pancakes like beghrir (spongy bread, a bit like crumpets), harsha (buttery bread made of fine semolina) and rghaif (flaky, layered flat bread). Topped with honey or goat cheese, they make a good breakfast snack with oven baked bread called Khobz.
During Ramadan you can break the fast at Iftar around 7 pm as the sun goes down with dates and the delicious tomato paste soup harira with chebakia, which are flower-shaped cookies soaked in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Moroccan soups are hearty fare to be savored at any time including bessara which is fava bean soup with oven baked khobz, small eateries serve it for lunch with lemon-infused olive oil and a sprinkle of cumin and chili. Stalls selling steaming vats of snail soup are popular throughout Morocco. You pick the snails out of their shells with a toothpick and then drink the broth which is served with a concoction of spice which Moroccans believe is good for a fever and aids digestion. hssoua belboua is barley soup with milk. It combines barley grits with milk to yield a rich, creamy soup that's both nutritious and satisfying.
There is also Semolina soup with milk, anise seeds and honey. The overpowering smoke rising from various eateries on the Djemma el Fna at night is from brochettes of chicken , lamb or beef. The meat is rubbed with salt and spices, such as paprika and cumin. Spiced ground lamb or beef (kefta) is impaled on a skewer and grilled. Brochettes are served with khobz, harissa (red pepper sauce), red onion, cumin and salt. Other delicacies, not for the faint hearted, include sheep’s heads which have been steamed for five hours sold as either a half or a whole head with or without eyes. During the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) sheep are slaughtered by the head of the family. It is a reminder that meat tends to be a delicacy. You see sheep being born home in cars, on bicycles, mopeds and any vehicle that can be utilized for the purpose. A whole sheep’s carcass will last for a month. Also served are calves’ livers, crumbed and fried.
You can also sample camel burgers, Café Clock in Fes serves it as a speciality of the house. In many coastal towns sardines are served with stuffed with a spicy chermoula paste made of tomato, coriander, chili, garlic, paprika, cumin, olive oil and lemon juice. They are coated in a light batter, fried until crisp and often served with a fried green chili. Vegetarians can enjoy sliced aubergine dipped in sweet smoked paprika batter and deep fried or spicy lubia (white haricot beans stewed in tomatoes, cumin, paprika, garlic and ginger) or fresh salad. Moroccan farmers produce the best quality organically grown vegetables. You will also find sweet pastries ,biscuits and cookies in abundance especially during Ramadan as sugar is an important source of energy, diabetics do have to beware. However seasonal fruits are also served. Makrout with Dates and Honey is another special occasion sweet which is popular in Ramadan. A mild date paste is enclosed in a log of semolina dough, then the cookies are sliced, fried and dipped in honey. There are baked Moroccan Tea Biscuits known as fekkas scented with orange-flower water.
Try m'hanncha, called "snake cake" for its concentric circles. Another favorite is triangular or cylindrical phyllo briouats. Briouats, are pan-fried to golden perfection. Some are savory, stuffed with fresh cheese and finished with a drizzle of honey, while others are sweet, filled with crushed almonds, sugar, and spices. Almond Briouats are made by folding almond paste flavored with orange flower water and cinnamon within warqa dough. The pastries are fried and then soaked briefly in honey. Cheese briouats are served with cream cheese filling. Herbs or hot peppers can be added for more flavor. Sellou is a Moroccan sweet served during Ramadan made from toasted sesames, fried almonds and flour that has been browned in the oven.
For More Information about a Fes Food Tour of Moroccan Street Food Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on August 14, 2013 at 8:05 AM||comments (0)|
During the year, the small town of Tissa,on the edge of the Rif region, in the province of Taounate, is a quiet rural community, tucked away in the hills of the Moroccan countryside, fifty kilometers away from Fez.
From 8-13 October 2013, the town will be transformed, as it is each year, in to one of the premier horse festivals in Morocco. The culture and tradition of horses and horsemanship is deeply rooted and widespread in Morocco. The Fantasia or Tborida are contested by competing teams dressed in colorful traditional gandouras and djellabas, charging the full length a field only pulling up at the last minute whilst firing their djezail flintlocks with a thunderous explosion. The Tborida teams led by a ma’alem, or teacher,form up Into a single line and at the signal begin the charge. In the closing stages they must rotate their djezails with one arm at full gallop before pulling up and firing.
They are assessed by the judges for horsemanship, maintaining their line during the charge and successfully pulling up at the end. The horses are trained to do this, but even so, riding at full gallop with the reins in one hand and the djezail in the other is an impressive feat of horsemanship. Very rarely a horse may run on after the halt. To stand in front of the charge even though it is behind a barrier is to sense something of the fear these riders inspired in the enemy. The firing of the djezails is very loud and the smoke billows in the air,along with the occasional wad from one of the djezails dropping to earth. The French Romantic painte, Eugène Delacroix, immortalized the Moroccan tribal horseman riding into battle following his first visit to North Africa in the 1830’s and the son of the Pasha of Marrakech, Hassan El Glaoui, famous for his paintings of Moroccan riders and horses once remarked that his father who died in 1956, went to war on horseback. The large tent city erected for the festival also provides traditional music and dancing as well as displaying artifacts, ceramics and jewelry and providing food and drink. The festival is an important event for the local economy and has been held in Tissa since medieval times. It coincides with the mouassem of a local saint, Sidi Muhammad ben Lahcen who lived in the 15th century. Like all good horse shows the different breeds of horses are the subject of close attention; pure bred Arabian stallions, Barbary mares and Arab-Berber horses are bought and sold.
To bring the Horse Festival of Tissa to a close, there is a huge parade in the stadium. The international horse show at El Jadida under the patronage of King Mohammed VI has done much to reintroduce the Barb horse , which has great strength and endurance , back into international breeding circles. Tissa has a great reputation as a horse show with a fair, sometimes a circus, a huge bazaar, and finally the official folklore of the region "Hayti". It is visited by 4,000 spectators each year and is a great opportunity to enjoy an important regional event and mix with the locals and Moroccans who have brought their horses from all over the country. Moroccans living abroad in France, Spain and Italy also participate in festivals such as Tissa. Tissa was garrisoned by the French during the protectorate because it was on the way to Fes and has an upper Tissa on the hill with a church and other buildings and lower Tissa lies at the bottom of the hill.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on June 25, 2013 at 6:25 AM||comments (0)|
The June 2013 Sefrou Cherry Festival in Morocco, which celebrates the annual harvest, is the 93rd in its history and the first since its inclusion as part of the UNESCO immaterial cultural patrimony. The first Cherry festival held in Sefrou was In 1918. A cherry queen is crowned as a climax to street events and musical concerts. There will be exhibitions by cooperatives in the region to boost the local economy. Sefrou is a small ancient walled city, less than an hour’s drive from Fes in the Fes-Bouelmane region of the Middle Atlas Mountains. It ‘s simple white houses pre-date the 8th Century architecture of Fes. The Oued Aggal , a seasonal river divides the city in half, with small bridges a good 10 meters above the river to allow people but not cars to pass. The city is built on high ground to avoid the raging torrents. Sefrou, south of Fes, was once known as Little Jerusalem due to its high percentage of Jews and its well-developed religious life. Sefrou's mellah makes up half of the old city. The mountainous terrain is ideal for cherry trees, flowering in spring, with abundant cherries in summer. The festival is a very colorful occasion featuring music, dancing a fairground and supporting events. The event reaches it climax with the crowning of the Cherry Queen. Sefrou is perfect for a day trip from Fes, and your riad or travel agent can arrange a trip to the festival which occurs each year in June.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on June 4, 2013 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
Fes is the culinary and cultural capital of Morocco. The world famous Fes Sacred Music Festival takes place 7-15 June and Dar Roumana’s restaurant at 30 Derb el Amer Zkak, Roumane in Fes Medina will be open every day offering pre-concert dinners from 6pm - 8pm Dar Roumana will be offering a smaller menu (2 starters, 2 mains and 2 desserts) for a reduced price of 300dh for three courses or 225dh for two courses. For those not attending the festival Dar Roumana's usual dinner service will continue as normal from 7.30pm - 9pm. It is essential to book well beforehand during this busy period in Fes. Dinner is served in the patio and on the Dar Roumana terrace with spectacular views of the Fes medina and includes varied delicacies such as roasted beetroot, orange, mint and feta salad, spiced roasted quail with dried fruit orzo, moroccan fishcakes with cucumber and radish ribbon salad and sweet harissa dipping sauce, baked chicken thighs with honey, hazelnut and saffron with carrot and cumin mash.
The garden restaurant attached to Riad Idrissy at 13 Derb Idrissi, Sieje, Sidi Ahmed Chaoui, is set in the romantic remains of a crumbling riad which has been turned into a delightful garden, with mosaic floors, fountains and exotic foliage. Lunch is prepared using fresh produce from the souk and includes salads – such as zaalouk (smoky aubergine, tomato and paprika puree) and tfaya (chickpeas, onions, raisins and cinnamon) – and street food, cooked to order in the garden, such as sardines marinated in chermoula (garlic, paprika, cumin, olive oil and lemon juice) with a polenta batter and makuda, spiced battered potato cakes. Afternoon tea is a blend of English and Moroccan, including tea made from homegrown mint and wormwood. After 7pm, the Fes garden is open for dinner by prior arrangement only, offering mechoui lamb (anything from a leg to a whole animal) cooked for seven hours over charcoal, Sephardic suppers and Roman banquets. The ruined garden at Riad Idrissy will operate as a festival green room - where artists, journalists and the audience can mingle between the Fes Sacred Music Festival concerts. Opening hours are between 12 noon and 9.30pm. There is also the great boon of no background music.
Another great lunch and dinner venue is Palais Amani at 12 Derb el Miter, Oued Zhoune.This imposing Art Deco former palace has superb gardens Is known for excellent high class Moroccan cuisine and you can dine in the restaurant or the patio, booking is essential.
La Maison Bleue, reservations also necessary at this elegant riad restaurant. The setting is intimate and romantic, with diners serenaded by an oud player (replaced by livelier Gnawa song and dance at the end of the evening). You’ll be treated to an array of cooked salads, tajines, couscous and bastilla (savoury pastries), plus filo pastry desserts.
Restaurant Zagora just of the Southern end of Mohammed V in the Ville Nouvelle, this high class restaurant is popular with tour groups and locals alike. The wine list is probably the most extensive in the ville nouvelle and the menu includes international and Moroccan dishes and you get to be serenaded by a musician playing an oudh .
The Majestic is close to the Royal Tennis Club et El Merja and the Marjane shopping centre offers refined upscale French cuisine and an excellent wine list.
At Dar El Ghalia, a restored 18th century palace you will find Dar Tajine, one of the best known restaurants in Fes. You can choose from set menus or à la carte: there are salads, excellent Harira, grills, fresh fish, tagines and couscous.
Chez Vittorio is in the rustic Italian restaurant angle well, right down to the candles and checked cloths. The food is good value, Go for the pizzas or steak and enjoy the wine.
Dar Anebar is a riad you can dine in fne surroundings, in the splendid courtyard, or one of the cosy salons. The menu is strictly Moroccan, but of the highest standard, and wine is available.
Palais Jamaï is a five-star hotel has a superb position overlooking the medina. There's a French restaurant and a Moroccan restaurant. At lunch they serve a good buffet on the terrace above the pool (or in the dining room in winter): there's the salad buffet, or the salad buffet with barbecue and dessert.
Fes is truly international and Kiotori restaurant offers sushi with a Japanese chef.
Café Clock is a restored town house and is an important and highly original cultural centre which offers a varied menu with offerings such as falafel, grilled sandwiches, some interesting vegetarian options, a substantial camel burger, and delicious cakes and tarts. It is open right through the day into the evening so you can eat whenever you want.
Fez Café is set in a fine garden in Le Jardin des Biehn, Dinner is available both before and after and during concerts.
Le Kasbah restaurant is on several floors at Bab Bou Jeloud, and occupies a prime spot: the top floor looks out over the medina, making it a good place to relax over food. The menu is traditional Moroccan fare, tajines, couscous and grilled meat.
Fes is famed for its street food and probably the most well known establishment is Thami’s at Bou Jeloud, 50 Serrajine in the Medina. It is highly recommended by the website “The View from Fez.” They recommend Thami’s kefta tagine with egg, the melange and the fish. Fes has many such small establishments and a visit to the vegetable and spices souks will enrich your knowledge and appreciation of Moroccan daily life and the variety of its cuisine even in very simple establishments.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 22, 2013 at 5:25 AM||comments (0)|
Wine production in Morocco is believed to have been introduced by Phoenician settlers, and was definitely established in the era of Ancient Rome. Large-scale wine production with extensive vineyards was introduced into Morocco by the French during the protectorate as it was in Algeria and Tunisia. Today's regions in Morocco that have become famous for wine are Meknes, Casablanca and Essaouira.
At Morocco's independence in 1956, there were 55,000 hectares (140,000 acres) of vineyards. Although much of the French wine expertise left when Morocco became independent, the wine trade continued to be significant into the 1960s Moroccan winwas used for blending with French wines until the European Community introduced import quotas in 1967 which led to significant reductions in previous wine exports. From 1973-1984, the vast majority of the vineyards were also taken over by the Moroccan state and wine production declined. In the 1990's KingHassan II sought to revive investment from French wine growers principally from Bordeaux.
In the 1990s, during the rule of Hassan II, the Moroccan wine production started to improve due to foreign (primarily French) investment and know-how. This was achieved by offering foreign wine companies the possibility for long-term lease of vineyards from the state agricultural company SODEA. Several large Bordeaux-based wine companies, including Groupe Castel, William Pitters and Taillan, entered into such partnerships, which have been quite successful in reviving the Moroccan wine industry.
The traditional red grapes planted in Morocco are Carignan (which once dominated), Cinsaut (almost 40 per cent in 2005), Alicante, and Grenache. Plantations of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah have increased rapidly, and together make up around 15 per cent. Traditional white grape varieties include Clairette and Muscat. There has also been smaller experimentations with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.
Morocco sets itself apart from other countries in North Africa because of its potential for producing high quality wines due to its location. Benefiting from the cooling breeze from the Atlantic Ocean and nested at the bottom of the Atlas Mountains, Moroccan vineyards have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years.
When Morocco became a protectorate of France in 1912, the French found its fertile soil, especially in the Meknes region of the Middle Atlas Mountains, an ideal spot in which to build a formidable wine industry. Morocco is now producing high quality wines for export. The majority of wine exports go to France and other European destionations but the wine importing company Exotic Imports is beginning to make inroads into the American market, particularly Colorado.
Thalvin's vineyards are located in Zenata, the coastal region of Morocco. Enhanced by the warm rays of the Moroccan sun, the constitution of its soil, the use of sustainable farming methods and the handpicking of the grapes. The resulting traditional winemaking approach has led to the creation of the best of Moroccan wines, and provide a diverse range of wines, each created with a stylistic approach, unique blends and settled notes. Retaining indigenous varietals such as Faranah, and introducing others such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
One of the best regions for making wine in Morocco is the Ouled Thaleb Estate, situated 20 miles northeast of Casablanca, which clearly demonstrates a similarity with the soil of Bordeaux and particularly, the Medoc region. The soil consists of sandy shale and gravel sand, and like the Medoc region, the estate is in close proximity to the sea. Located on the Ben-Slimane plateau, it faces the Atlantic Ocean and is swept by west winds which leave their maritime influence on the region.
Thalvin, in partnership with landowners in Rommani, a region of rolling hills situated at the base of the Atlas Mountains (at an altitude of 2000 feet), have planted vines where the black soil, its chalky clay subsoil and the emerging rock supply the very particular qualities desired for the making of quality wines. Grapes are hand picked and there is no use of herbicide or fungicide, so technically these grapes are grown organically. The wine industry in Morocco employs about 10,000 people and supplies about 40 million bottles of Moroccan wine per year.
Morocco is one of the largest wine producers in the islamic world.The industry brings the state millions in sales and taxes Up till now the majority of wine sales have been in Morocco which is of course a muslim country and it's no secret that many Moroccans enjoy wine as well as Morocco's growing number of tourists. As an islamic party now leads the government and a stricter interpretation of islam is gaining ground the future for Moroccan wines may well be more directd towards export and the tourism industry inthe future.
The Celliers de Meknes owned by Mr Brahim Zniber now cultivates 2,100 hectares (5,189 acres) of vineyards, bottling anything from entry-level table wine to homemade champagne and even a high-end claret, Chateau Roslane, aged in a vaulted cellar packed with oak barrels imported from France. The winery now dwarfs virtually any other producer in Europe.Cradle of the Designation of Geographic Origin (AOG) the areas of Guerrouane, Beni M’tir and of the Designation of Controlled Origin (AOC) area of "Les Coteaux De l’Atlas", this region concentrates today more than 60% of the Moroccan wine production. Les Celliers De Meknes is in the heart of these vineyards.Les Celliers de Meknes has created the first Moroccan Chateau officially inaugurated in June 2004.
Wine tasting visits can be arranged to the vineyards of Chateau Roslane with Les Celliers Meknes.Chateau Roslan is in the only AOC region (AOC coteauxd’Atlas) in Morocco and creates wines of varying quality and price. The Chateau is immaculate, and has beautifully manicured gardens with traditional fountains. Chateau Roslan produces the premier “Cru” White and Red and other premium wines.
Volubilia is a small vineyard of 63 hectares, and wine tasting visits can also be arranged. It produces wines which are highly scored and probably the best in the area.