Morocco is just fascinating! Last week I was wandering through the medina of old Tangier, joking with stallholders and breathing in the pungent aromas of all the spice stalls. I even visited the infamous Café Baba (a favourite haunt of Mick Jagger), where I tried their legendary mint tea – so refreshing and so sweet, it was the perfect pick-me-up!
Now I’m inside the cinnamon-coloured walls of Marrakesh soaking up the noise and chaos of the Place Jemaa-el-Fna. What a lively place, with flute-playing snake-charmers, enthusiastic storytellers and energetic haggling over fresh apricots and piles of ras el hanout – the national blend that can contain 30 different spices! My guide, Jelal, took me to meet his mother who had been the ‘dada’ or kitchen priestess for the city’s mayor. She showed me how to make the perfect couscous and, if I get it right, I’m told I will be worthy of a husband! An odd thought…
Couscous is often served on its own and eaten by rolling it between thumb and forefinger, dipping it into the spicy sauce and then flicking it into your mouth without touching your lips. It’s messy… I certainly had more sauce dribbling down my chin than in my mouth! We also had a traditional Berber tagine and a juicy salad of oranges and dates. I’m sending you the recipes – the flavours are amazing!
Wish you were here! Spice Pioneer x