Gastronomic panorama of Morocco (2nd part)

February 27, 2012

Here we continue our gastronomic tour of Morocco….

6. Camel Burger

burgerOK, I’ll admit that our menu at Café Clock, Camel Burger and cheesecake, was probably not typically Moroccan! Still, it was absolutely delicious and it would have been a shame to miss the opportunity to taste camel meat!

7. Orange flower water

copie-de-_mg_5209Surprisingly, orange flower water is not made from … orange flowers! This perfumed water is actually prepared from bitter oranges. Nowadays, it is often distilled industrially, but earlier, people used to produce it using a still (see photo).copie-de-dsc02632

Orange flower water is used in almost everything, including pastries. If you ever get the chance, try it in the fermented milk, which is served along with couscous and let me know how it tastes 😉

8. Sweet and savoury pigeon

Thanks to Moroccan cuisine, I not only got to taste camel, but also pigeon for the first time.

Pigeon pastilla consists of a portion of pigeon meat wrapped in filo pastry with almonds and dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon! Although this assortment of ingredients may surprise our palates, in Morocco, the combination of sweet and salty is very common. For example, harira (a very popular soup) is often served with dates or small pastries!

9. Saffron

The reputation of Moroccan saffron is well established. Indeed, simply inquire about the price of this spice to grasp just how popular it is on the international market.

So far, saffron has only been cultivated in the south of Morocco. During our training, we visited two farmers who have recently and successfully concluded their first attempts at cultivating saffron in the north.

For these farmers, it is not just a question of producing a spice for its gastronomic interest. The reason is much more noble.

copie-de-_mg_4968Indeed, agriculture in northern Morocco faces a serious problem: the cultivation of cannabis. More and more farmers in the region are resorting to this culture, in the hope that it will yield quicker and more substantial returns. However, according to the people we met, growing cannabis does not seem to be very lucrative and moreover, it leads to a series of major problems.

Thus, Souhad, a farmer from the Pre-Rif basin, motivated by her successful attempt at saffron cultivation, hopes to convince the farmers in her region to substitute their cannabis plantations for saffron, which, incidentally, would be far more profitable!

10. Breakfast
Many Canadians find it difficult to travel to places where their typical breakfast of “2 eggs, 2 toasts, jam, peanut butter, orange juice, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, fresh fruit…” is replaced by “an espresso and a croissant”. If this is you, then, Morocco is a destination for you!

Every morning, breakfast is a real feast. The table is laden with jams, honey, breads, m’semmen (those fluffy pancakes), harcha (semolina flatbreads), belboula (a creamy barley soup with milk), olive oil, olives, and of course, mint tea! Some people even start their day with savory soups like harira or bissara (bean soup).

I’ve not yet told you anything about the dates, olives, desserts, fresh fruit, fish, argan oil … well I’ll let you discover these specialties for yourself. So when are you planning your trip to Morocco? 😉

Till then, why not try out our Moroccan-inspired recipes like Moroccan Chicken d’Erfoud or Lamb Tagine with Fennel ?

A special thanks to Nil Erdoğan for the photos.


Eloïse Vincent
SOSCuisine contributor since 2009, Éloïse now heads our European Paris office. Holder of the rare title of Gastronomic graduate of the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy, Eloise is also a dietician.

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