March 2013

Morocco in march is marvelous, especially when its snowing in London!  I hadn’t read my travel guide before arriving so pretty much everything was a surprise and a very pleasant one at that.

Morocco is a beautiful, hot country that’s a short 3 hour flight away. Languages spoken are Arabic & French with some English spoken.    This is on the increase with the rise of English tourists travelling there.

I really recommend going, it was a great place to visit for 5 nights.  You could go for a shorter period and only stay in  Marrakesh or go for longer and include the Atlas mountains and/or the Sahara in your trip.

Some reasons to travel to Morocco: it is hot, sunny, there is a beautiful landscape, an interesting culture and its not far.  Marrakesh should be experienced just for the craziness of the markets, which are both huge and colourful.  I guarantee you will get lost wandering the streets but somehow you also find your way again!

There are also an abundance of spices & nuts….

I bought home Moroccan curry spices, el ras hanout & saffron.  Ras el hanout contains 35 spices!  Both ras el hanout & Moroccan curry spices are staples of the tagine.

I had no intention of buying saffron, it wasn’t on my wish list.  This complete disinterest paid off in the barter process and we bough 5g for about £5 :-). Now I just need to find a recipe to use it in……. (let me know if you have one).

I also bought a tagine pot (for the equivalent of £1.50).  It might seem a crazy thing to buy and carry home but I read in my travel guide that the pots made in Moroccan produce a much better flavored tagine than their European counterparts. Oh and it was super cheap.

Be warned that butter is used in cooking in Morocco.  However, every tagine in Morocco is cooked is differently by different people so I would recommend checking whether it contains butter (la buerre) to be sure.

Oranges, oranges, oranges. tasty, juicy and scrumptious.  Freshly squeezed orange juice is everywhere and is as cheap as chips.  Lunch at Cafe des epices in central Marrakesh (find it if you can) included a vegan open sandwich and freshly squeezed juice.

Moroccan tea or mint tea is readily available…  Served in beautiful tea pots and glasses.  I really wanted to buy these to but that would have meant buying another bag and paying for extra luggage with Easyjet so I resisted!!!

The mint used in the tea is denser than anything found in the UK, not as minty, in fact locally it is know as green tea.  This tea usually comes sweetened with honey so opt for sugar free to be on the safe side.

Did you know that…

Morocco has been used as a back drop for a number of films?  300, Gladiator, Jewel in the Nile, the Mummy have been filmed there, as well as Cleopatra & Kingdom of Heaven & parts of Prince of Persia (and many many more).  We took a look around the studio…

And now back to the food experience….

The salads, olives and bread are amazingly satisfying.  Fruit & vegetables are always so much tastier abroad, where they grow.

And the fruit is so good.  We arrived out of date season but in orange season.

I found a vegan restaurant just off the main square in Marrakesh but it was too late on the last day to eat there.  I really tried to go back but it really wasn’t possible.  It is a good reason to go back and maybe you can visit in the time being for me?

I stayed at Riad Malika in Marrakesh which is lovely.  It is a colourful maze of stairways, roof top terraces and rooms.  The staff are so very helpful & accommodating . It is located in a very central place which is great.  There is a festival of food in the square each evening which is close by.

They made me a gorgeous last supper of veggie samosa’s and salad.

The Moroccans know about vegetarians but veganism is a new thing.  They are very accommodating and will make amendments to suit you, although as food loving individuals they might not fully understand why we are vegans.  The Moroccan meat industry is nothing like ours.  Family’s own stock which is traded or sold and there is no such thing as factory farming there.  Every part of an animal is consumed & appreciated.

I was asked why I was a vegan.  I explained that it was for environmental reasons, personal health and animal welfare – all of these elements, for me relate to how animals are treated by big business in the west not by small farmers in Morocco   Don’t get me wrong, I am a happy, content vegan and am staying that way.  However, I can just appreciate that some cultures do it better.








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