Imagine a place where the dishes are influenced by an amalgamation of world cultures. Jewish, Berber, Arab and even French culinary delights coming together to make that destination a foodie’s haven. That is Morocco.
Thanks to the fact that it’s situated at the very North Western edge of the African continent, Morocco is in very close proximity with Europe and acts as a transit station for people from both sides of the divide. There are very few places where that intermingling is felt and experienced more than it is in Morocco’s cuisine.
Why Every Foodie Should Visit Morocco At Least Once
Travel and food go hand in hand. As much as there are many international fast-food franchises in almost every corner of the world, there is a very good chance that every time you travel to a new place you will try the local cuisine at least once.
This is particularly true if you love food. If food is your passion, you will make it a point to travel to as many different ends of the Earth to experience a new flavour. If you love to travel, one of the best ways to experience and appreciate a new location is to try their local cuisine. The two can’t be separated.
That being said, there are many other reasons why you would want to visit Morocco; apart from the food of course:
- It has an impressive coastline with stunning beaches.
- You have easy access to the largest hot desert in the entire world – Sahara.
- It has diverse mountain ranges that simply call to the outdoors lover in you.
- Exemplary architecture riddles the entire country.
Best of all, Morocco offers mixed cultural influences that make it a microcosm of the world’s cosmopolitan culture. The place truly is a beautiful region that has something for all types of travellers.
Reasons Why Morocco is a Foodie’s Haven
1. The Cuisine Features a Myriad of Influences
There are some things that are just better when they are mixed together, shaken a little and served up as a culinary experience to savour and wonder about. Moroccan cuisine comes to you from a variety of influences ranging from the indigenous Berber people whose original combination of ingredients is still found in many stews and soups today.
Over 2000 years, traders, immigrants, invaders and colonisers have all brought new cooking techniques, ingredients and dietary cultures that have played a huge role in creating a culinary experience like no other.
- The Arabs brought with them new grains, bread, cereals and spices when they invaded in the 7th century.
- The Moors introduced new oranges, olives and lemons into the cuisine when they arrived in the 15th century.
- The Ottomans introduced the local people of Morocco to a particularly interesting barbecuing technique that involved the grilling of meat on skewers – that is what we know as kebabs today.
- The French introduced a host of pastries and wines when they colonised the region.
2. The Vast Variety of Spices is Impressive
Like it is in India, spices are a central feature in almost every Moroccan recipe. There is nothing ordinary about the spices you can find in this country. The variety is so vast that the spice market in Marrakesh is an actual tourist attraction in its own right.
The thing about the use of spices in Morocco is that the locals love using freshest spices. This is the norm in the country and as such, the flavours in both the stews and the soups are unbelievably vibrant.
3. Sweets are Their Thing
Sweets are an important part of the Moroccan diet. These delectable desserts are commonly made from pastry filled with figs, dates, almonds and honey. Even though you can easily find baked sweets at almost every eatery, these delights are often reserved for special occasions. The typical Moroccan desert consists of dried or fresh fruit.
If you are a fan of mint, then you will absolutely love Morocco. Mint tea is a must with every single meal. It’s not just about the tea (which is pretty good, by the way) but also about the presentation and the serving of it which is about as important as the tea itself and the actual drinking of it.
If you are not a fan of mint tea, however, you can find other beverages to take after your meal such as fresh orange juice. You could also drink a cup of hot Qahwa (Arabic for Coffee). There is also French-style coffee served with sugar and spices at select establishments.
4. You Can Find Vegetarian Couscous
There is really no list of Moroccan cuisine complete without the mentioning of couscous at least once. Traditionally prepared on the holy day of Friday (in Muslim culture and religion) but you can pretty much find it on any given day in cafes and restaurants.
Couscous is traditionally served with a stew (at this point, it should be mentioned that Moroccan cuisine adds meat to almost everything). However, if you are not a fan of meat or are a vegetarian, you don’t have to sacrifice the delightful taste of couscous because of your beliefs or diet. There is a vegetarian version of the stew that brings the full glory of couscous to your taste buds.
5. The Eclectic Medina in Fes is Full of Culinary Mysteries
Morocco is riddled with meandering streets and alleyways that are full of life. As a foodie, you simply must taste some of the street food served on these Medina streets in Fes. A huge part of the experience of dining on the streets of the Medina is the atmosphere. This place is buzzing with life from people going about their usual business of buying and selling to wide-eyed tourists who are trying to take it all in at one go.
This is for the adventurous foodie in you. Many of the stalls here serve the weirdest of dishes from:
- Sheep’s head or just sheep’s brain.
- Grilled sheep’s hearts.
- Sheep’s intestines.
- Stuffed camel spleen.
- Different types of snails.
However, if you are not feeling that adventurous, you can always eat at a stall that serves your typical tagines, kebabs, savoury fish dishes and a whole lot of sweets, dates, cakes and juices. The choice is yours.
Have you ever been to Morocco? Share your foodie experience with us in the comment section below.