Bread or ‘khubz’, the most basic and essential food is sacred in Morocco. The Prophet ordered that that bread be treated with the utmost respect, so any bread found thrown away in the street must be moved out of the way of foot traffic with a short prayer. Loaves are baked early morning in terracotta gas’a – a communal oven.
The country’s national drink, tea is drunk every hour of the day. Although it is said to be the favoured drink of the Prophet, the truth behind the history of tea is the English who offloaded it in Tangier during the Crimean War. Mint is grown all over Morocco but flourishes in the mountains. The only mint that can be used is ‘mentha viridis’. The best quality, dark with firm stalks, comes from Meknes or the Zerhoun. Freshly brewed na’na’ Mint tea has become a fine art and a national symbol.
As the national dish, couscous has a strong religious and emotional significance. Made from durum-wheat semolina native to the region mixed with smaller quantities of either drum-wheat flour or a soft-wheat flour, it is usually served topped with a stew. Moroccans believe couscous brings God’s blessing upon those who consume it. Couscous needs to be prepared with patience, rhythm, time and the finesse of the woman preparing it.
For a delicious Morocco breakfast, try this yeasty semolina pancake with a distinctive honeycomb appearance. Serve with ‘khli’’ preserved meat.
This pastry is widely regarded as the crowning dish of Moroccan cuisine. This pastry is served to newlyweds the morning after their wedding night to symbolise their family’s wish that life together should be as sweet as this creation.
One of the cornerstones of Moroccan cuisine. Jewish Moroccans developed the art of preserving using salt. Olives from around Fes and Meknes are some of the best in the Mediterranean. Lemons are preserved in the spring when they are their ripest and sweetest. Some regions add cinnamon sticks, cloves and coriander for an alternative taste.