Marrakech Feasts on Food and Architecture

MarrakechDjemaa el-Fna, Souks, Tagines, and Riads?

Morocco is an intense immersion into all things exotic and delectable.  There are so many surprises in both the actual ingredients and learning new ways and techniques of cooking. The combination of North African flavors and a strong French influence put my brain in overdrive and took me over the edge!

Street Food in Marrakech

With a 360-degree spin, your head is filled and overwhelmed with the most incredible scents of intensely smelling food that you never even imagined existed. From splurging on a meal at the uber, luxurious Royal Mansour or getting down and dirty and grabbing succulent roasted lamb from a food stall at the Djemaa el-Fna, I guarantee you and your palate will be in bliss.

Lemon tagine chicken, earth roasted lamb, and breakfast shakshuka with baked eggs swimming in tomatoes were at the top of my list.  As a spur-of-the-moment request, I cleverly talked my husband into taking a cooking class without even a second’s thought that this was July…in Morocco. Picture it – an open air kitchen in 108 degrees. It was freaking hot! So, if the heat didn’t kill me, my husband was bound to until the end result…! The most delicious lemon tagine chicken known to mankind, so divine that it nearly renewed our marriage vows right then and there. Oh, and an air-conditioned room where we dined helped, too.


If you like lamb, then you’ll love Marrakech. We ate to our heart’s content on lamb merguez sausage and tried a traditional moroccan soup called Harira which is made up of tomatoes and lentils. We thoroughly let ourselves get lost in the maze-like souks for hours and hours just taking in the food, the sites, the endless amounts of wares that I wanted to purchase.  For that spa indulgence or “hammam” as they say in Morocco, we splurged on the ultimate turkish bath experience at the Royal Mansour.  As we ventured in and around the Medina (winding souks and main square), we tried a mint tea, called  ‘Whiskey Tea’ (no, it actually doesn’t contain whiskey)  and gorged on b’stilla, a pastry with pigeon meat and spiced with saffron, coriander, cinnamon and iced with sugar.

You will need a strong head to face the bartering in the souks….like my friend Natalie said while having a serious rug negotiation.

What’s your last maximum? “Sir…we gave it to you 30 minutes ago!” 


All of that stern bargaining is well worth it when you can bring home some amazing foodie treasures such as rich spices like ras el hanout, preserved lemons, and inexpensive tagines. Whether it’s herbs, oils, scented waters, dried fruits or preserves, don’t go home without stuffing your suitcase to the brim.  Which we did and in our case, we purchased 8 tagines. Yes, eight! That’s what happens when you get caught up daydreaming and already planning your next dinner party. But don’t worry, when there’s a will, there’s a way and we stuffed all of those puppies in our suitcase.

Side Trippin: Atlas Mountains

We decided to take an adventurous side trip outside of town. As we passed Berber villages and ravines of running water, we were well on our way to hike a ‘cascade’ aka waterfall.  When we arrived in this bustling village and stepped out of the car, you could clearly tell we were not from the native land.  All village eyes were on us, but our guide assuaged our uncertainties as blazoned tourists and whisked us through tagine-ridden food stalls, across a wooden bridge, and soon enough we were ascending up this steep, rocky gorge.  Up, up, up we went.


And while complaining to a guide who doesn’t speak English would seem futile, we opted to carry on….onward and upward.  I’m competitive by nature so you can only imagine how infuriating it was to be passed up by elder women in full burqas donning Adidas slip-ons. Seriously?!? After more internal and external huffing and puffing, we made it to the top where it turned out to be the most awesome scene that I’ll never forget. There were women wading in the water with their children and men in groups on the other side singing and laughing with each other.  I was so surprised to see such a relaxed community, enjoying the moment, basking in the water that it was an absolutely breathtaking scene. A scene of pure joy that I will always remember and bring a smile to my face of my amazing Moroccan adventure.

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