Marrakech Food Tours and Cooking Classes
Marrakech, a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic center whose heady sights and sounds are sure to enchant. Marrakech is full of sights and attractions such as the Bahia Palace and the Dar Si Said, with their tilework and intricate floral painted-wood ceilings, the Saadian Tombs, which are enriched by a bounty of marble, while the Musee de Mouassine and Musee de Marrakech are a showcase of swirling stucco and carved-wood design. Marrakech is a city steeped in ancient artistry that continues to thrive, kept alive by the modern craftspeople of the souks and the contemporary art and design scene of the ville nouvelle.
As an old imperial capital, Marrakech is home to some beautiful examples of Islamic architecture, most impressively the Ali ben Youssef Medersa and the Koutoubia minaret. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with mazelike alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry. Think of the medina's souks as a shopping mall, but laid out according to a labyrinthine medieval-era plan. The main artery into this mazy muddle is the vast square of Djemaa el-Fna, where it's carnival night every night. Stroll between snail-vendors, soothsayers, acrobats and conjurers, musicians and slapstick acting troupes to discover the old city's frenetic pulse. The party doesn't end until the lights go out. The cuisine of Morocco is a mix of Arab, Berber, Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, African and French influences. The cooks refined Moroccan cuisine over the centuries and created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today, which is a big part of the culture and overall feels of the city. With so much to see, do, and taste, Marrakech is a great place to experience, and there are several options for food tours or cooking classes in or near the area to help you taste the best flavors of the city during your time here.
Get a taste for the lively flavors and vibrant culture of Morocco during this small-group cooking class, allowing you the chance to shop for ingredients at the market, cook a traditional dish and enjoy your efforts for lunch inside a typical riad dwelling. This food-lover's tour is the perfect blend of cultural immersion along with a chance to explore the delicious flavors that characterize this North African country's culinary heritage. Start your trip by meeting your group and guide at 9am in the Djemaa El Fna, the central square at the heart of Marrakech. Follow your guide through the winding city streets back to a riad to kick off your food experience. Pick up a few Arabic words that you'll put to use as you bargain for ingredients like vegetables, meat and, most importantly, spices at the local souk. Once you've finished your shopping, return to your riad to begin your hands-on cooking session. Follow your guide's instructions as you prepare a typical Moroccan dish such as tagine or the comparable tangia, composed of couscous with vegetables and meat, pastila, an apple-based dessert, or harira, a traditional North African soup served with dates. Afterward, dig into your freshly-prepared meal set inside the beautiful courtyard of your riad. You'll also leave your session with a recipe sheet, allowing you to re-create your dish when you return home. Finish your culinary experience by returning to the city's Djemaa El Fna, where you can continue your day by shopping for spices and immersing yourself in the whirlwind of smells, sights and sounds that characterize this unique city.
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The food tour is a chance to taste some of the most delicious dishes in Morocco, including some which are exclusively found in Marrakesh. Both vegetarians and meat lovers will find enough to talk and write about well after the tour is over. Homemade couscous, made from wheat, barley or corn; Tangia, the Marrakech specialty by excellence; Meshoui, mouthwatering roast lamb; a rabbit or goat meat tagine, to mention a few. If you dare to try some unusual foods, the list is long, such as: sheep head, organs, or brains. Vegetarians will marvel at the endless choice of vegetables and meatless dishes, including: Harira, a soup thickened with flour and prepared with chickpeas, lentils, fava beans, parsley and coriander; beans; lentils; and an assortment of Moroccan salads. Join this tour and return with a myriad of new tastes. A feast for the eyes and palate. Finish the tour with Moroccan mint tea, which you will help make, and some homemade pastries.
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Learn to cook an authentic Moroccan meal at a 4-hour tagine cookery class in Marrakech. Following a hotel pick-up, start the day with a short Arabic lesson to learn the words for various ingredients, then go to the market to test your new language skills and buy fresh produce. Stroll among the locals as you select the meat, vegetables, herbs, and spices that form the basis of Moroccan cuisine. Learn how spices are used, and about their historic importation to Morocco over thousands of years. Discover homegrown ingredients, such as saffron from Taliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez. Then, during your hands-on cookery class, an expert chef will teach you how to make traditional dishes central to Moroccan meals. Among the most famous Moroccan dishes are couscous, pastila, tagine, tanjia, and harira. Although the last is a soup, it is considered a dish in itself, especially during Ramadan, and is often served with delicious local dates.
Once you have prepared your tagine meal, sit down to savor the delights of your cookery class in the delightful surroundings of a typical riad. Afterwards you will be transferred back to your hotel, armed with your own exclusive Moroccan recipes to try at home.
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You'll be picked up in lively Jemaa El Fna and driven to a Riad by an experienced guide. There, the lead chef will be waiting for you with the ingredients prepared. In the kitchen courtyard, you'll work under artful instruction, cooking an exquisite 4-course meal using traditional recipes and a small clay, coal-burning oven. While your tagine cooks over the fire, you'll prepare a selection of Moroccan salads that serve as the prelude to every Moroccan meal. At the end, dessert will be served.
Enjoy a good Moroccan wine with your own authentic meal, and linger after your cooking adventure for mint tea and fresh pastries. Moroccan cuisine uses only regional, seasonal products and provides a wonderful balance of sweet and salty dishes; it makes use of original ingredients like rose water and pickled lemons. Your cooking course can be tailored to your wishes. For those who want to learn a little bit about shopping in Morocco, an optional visit to an authentic Moroccan bazaar is just the thing. The market visit will be followed by a tea ceremony and a snack.
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