The Ultimate Moroccan Foodie Tour

Duration: 9 days

Highlights: Fes’ famous bastilla
Chicken and lemon tajine
Moroccan wine tasting
Berber couscous in the Atlas mountains
Fish tajine with its secret Chermoula
Cook your tajine in Marrakech

Intriguing spices, colourful olives, preserved lemons, fascinating herbs, ornate pastries…discover the secrets of the famed Moroccan cuisine during a journey through the main Imperial cities. Discover, taste and prepare your own rich, sophisticated and artfully presented traditional dish. No taste buds will be left untickled. Prepare yourself for a whirlwind of senses and the best mint tea ever, as you embark on this exciting journey.

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Itinerary

DAY 1 - TRADITIONAL WELCOME AND SEAFOOD

Welcome to Morocco!

Today your flight arrives into Casablanca. After clearing customs and immigration procedures, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. 

Moroccans are used to welcoming their very special guests by offering them some mint tea or milk and dates. This is also the traditional welcome in the Royal Palace. The most famous dates are called mejhoul. Big, tasty and sweet, they represent the Moroccan warm welcome. Casablanca, whose name evokes good living, romance and adventure in a tropical setting, is an image that the 1943 Humphrey Bogart film conveyed to cinema-goers in the drab years of WWII. Originally settled by Berbers in the 7th century, Casablanca’s fairly recent growth has made it the bustling, French-influenced business center of Morocco. 

The afternoon and evening are yours to relax after your flight and prepare for the culinary odyssey ahead. Being a coastal city, Casablanca is known for fresh seafood and modern cuisine with Moroccan influences. You will be treated for dinner in a lovely restaurant to sample some cooking fusion. 

Overnight:  Hyatt Regency

Meal Plan: D 

DAY 2 - WINE TASTING AND EXOTIC TAJINE

This morning’s sightseeing begins with an excursion around the port city of Casablanca, Morocco’s largest metropolis and its industrial hub. During your tour you will visit the Hassan II Grand Mosque. The mosque is amongst the largest in the world and can house as many as 25,000 worshipers. The mosque’s minaret is the tallest religious structure in the world. Built on reclaimed land, almost half of the surface of the mosque lies over the Atlantic water. This was inspired by the verse of the Qur'an that states "the throne of God was built on the water". 

Then take the road to the cultural and culinary capital, Fes. After arrival check in at your hotel and take some time to relax. 

This evening, sample the huge variety of Moroccan salads. From the Taktouka, a zesty tomato and green pepper salad, to the caramelized pumpkin, they are a blend of ingredients, flavours, textures and colours. However, the star of the evening will be the traditional tajine of veal with pea and artichoke. Common in Moroccan houses, but not so much in restaurants, this meal will give you an insight into traditional cuisine. For the desert, a display of ornate pastries with almonds and sesame seeds served with some mint tea.

Overnight: Palais Faraj

Meal Plan: B, L,D 

DAY 3 - FES: SOUK WONDERS AND CHICKEN TAJINE

To start the day there can be no better introduction to Moroccan cuisine than a traditional breakfast with pastries such as Msemen, Baghrir, Amlou, and honey, olive and argan oil and of course mint tea. Today you take a step back in time to the Middle Ages when you are immersed in one of the most imperial, timeless and untouched cities in the world - Fes El Bali (Old Fes) – the cultural heart of Morocco. You will explore some of the 9000 narrow lanes, alleys and souks that make-up the labyrinth of the city’s old quarter, originally founded in the 8th Century AD by Moulay Idriss I. 

Renowned also as a culinary heart, the promenade in the souks will be highlighted by specific culinary encounters. From fresh vegetable and fruits to diverse herbs, passing by the olive’s stand and intriguing spices, marvel, smell, touch, taste to discover the basis of Moroccan cuisine. On your way, stop to sample some honey. Mixed with distinctive herbs, each is a cure for a special disease. In addition, for being a treatment against a cold or stomach ache, it also offers delightful and various tastes ranging from orange flower to ginger. One of the many specialities Fes is renowned for is Khlea – a preserved beef. The strips of meat are marinated with cumin, coriander and garlic, and then dried in the sun for days before being cooked in a mixture of animal fat. The meat, once cooled, will keep for a couple of years when packed in its own fat. Moroccans use it to make fried eggs and usually eat it for breakfast. Unchanged for thousands of years, Moroccan bread is still cooked in a traditional furnace, commonly called Farnatchi. Taste some hot freshly baked bread, made of whole-wheat or barley, both of which have a unique flavor. 

During your exploration, you will encounter a lot of gastronomic wonders, such as preserved lemon, Bissara - dried fava beans soup or Lham Ras - a cooked sheep head. Your afternoon starts in the pottery factory to discover how the beautiful zellij tiles are made, and even more interesting the famous Tajines. Tajine refers to the earthenware pot, where the meal also called Tajine is traditionally cooked. There are diverse tajines but typically it is a rich stew of meat or fish and usually also includes vegetables or fruit. Traditionally the meal is cooked and served in the same container. You will have the chance to make your own Moroccan dish under the guidelines of a professional cooker. Rich and sophisticated, Moroccan cuisine is full of surprises. Discover how spices are blended with finesse and boldness, and design your own masterpiece. First you will stroll in a little market to get to know the wide variety of fruits and vegetable available and find the finest ingredients you need for your recipe. Famous Bastilla del Hmam, a pigeon pastilla is considered as the most prestigious starter because of its mix of sweetened almonds and its garnish of cinnamon and icing sugar. The main dish will be the unmissable chicken tajine with preserved lemon and olives. The finale: a milk pastille with almonds, commonly called Jawhara will thrill your taste buds. After the class, indulge your dinner in a private setting of the lovely and authentic riad.

Overnight: Palais Faraj

Meal Plan: B,L,D

DAY 4 - MEKNES WINE AND FISH TAJINE

After breakfast you depart overland to Meknes (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), one of the Imperial Cities of Morocco. In Meknes, the impressive monuments recall the splendor of the city, first built in the 17th Century by the powerful sultan Moulay Ismail, to rival the court of his contemporary Louis XIV of France. During your visit to Meknes you will see the monumental Bab Mansour gateway - considered one of the finest of the great gates of Morocco. 

You will also see Moulay Ismail’s Mausoleum, one of the few shrines in Morocco that can be visited by non-Muslims. 

Enjoy lunch in a lovely restaurant offering French cuisine. 

After lunch it is a couple hours’ drive to the splendid Rabat. Upon your arrival check in at the hotel and enjoy some time to relax. In the evening savor a fish tajine flavored with a delicate charmoula, a special marinade with cumin and coriander. 

Overnight: Sofitel Jardin des Roses

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

DAY 5 - RABAT – MARRAKECH JEMAA EL FNA

Today you will have time to stopover at the Oudaya Kasbah. Its impressive gate is one of the most beautiful surviving in the Moorish world, and within its walls you'll explore a delightful craft museum and Andalusian garden, complete with melodious fountain and sweet-smelling orange trees. A stroll through the delightful narrow white and blue streets brings you to an exquisite café where you will savor a glass of mint tea and perhaps some almond based pastries.

Your journey then continues overland to Marrakech, the “Pearl of the South”. In the afternoon, enjoy a short tour of Marrakech and soak up its thrilling atmosphere. The 19th century Bahia Palace and famous Majorelle Gardens are particularly interesting. A must is a visit to the Jemaa El Fna square, with its abundance of street artists, fire-eaters, mimers, snake-charmers, musicians, acrobats and famed open-air restaurants. The stalls offer grilled marinated kebabs, merguez (little lamb sausages), steamed heads of lamb and tripe stew. Marrakech, famed of course for its historical and cultural character is in fact renowned for its great parties. Many of the most famous and trendy restaurants and night clubs can be found in the Red City. This evening try one the numerous restaurants and sample some of its gourmet cuisine.

Overnight: Villa des Orangers

Meal Plan: B

 

DAY 6 - MARRAKECH – HARIRA & BERBER TAJINE

This morning, roll up your sleeves and take part in the preparation of today’s lunch. Depart for a little farm located in the surroundings of Marrakech for a Master Chef Party.

In a cosy and casual atmosphere, Chef Tarek welcomes his guests under a Berber tent adorned with carpets and cushions, nestled in organic gardens. Your discovery of Moroccan cuisine begins by a tour through the vegetable gardens, where you gather the ingredients for your meal. Step by step, mix all ingredients to cook a tasteful Moroccan salad and sweet and sour tajine under the directives of the chef who will share with you all his knowledge and tips. 

While the dish is on the fire, take the time to walk to the nearest Berber village before returning to the farm for your freshly cooked meal. After your delicious lunch, take a walk around the souks and learn about ingredients which are at the heart of this remarkable cuisine. Learn everything about olives and its oil which forms such an important part of Morocco's cuisine. Precarious stacks of green, black and violet olives, all different shapes and tastes. 

Considered to be one of the best cuisines in the world, Moroccan food will overwhelm even the best connoisseur; and the secret is the spices! Colourful saffron, turmeric, cumin, ginger and paprika leave their unique print in every meal. Not forgetting the famous “Ras el hanout” (head of the shop) blend of 37 different spices and a must to improve your tajine or couscous. 

Spend the evening at leisure and dine in one of the local restaurants.

Overnight: Villa des Orangers

Meal Plan: B,L

DAY 7 - ESSAOUIRA – ARGAN OIL AND FRESH FISH

An early start today to go to the Atlantic coast. A couple of hours drive from Marrakech, the Atlantic coast is a regional centre and in many respects the cradle of the fine Argan oil, famed throughout the world for its use in cosmetics as well as in salads. En route, there are many options to make this an exceptionally memorable day. Visit a vineyard near Essaouira to taste some wine and goats cheese prepared in the region. After the vineyard, stop at a cooperative to learn about the techniques used to produce the precious Argan oil. 

Continue to the coast. Essaouira is the place to savour the freshest fish and seafood imaginable in one of the restaurants located by the seaside. As a starter, we recommend a salad dressed with Argan oil. Enchanting Essaouira is the perfect city in which to chill out and unwind. Strolling through the whitewashed medina with blue doors is an amazing way to spend the afternoon. Discover the city that has been influenced by various cultures. Today, you can see its creative nature in the workshops of the artisan workers located in recesses under the Skala fortress. This fortress is most famous for Orson Wells' filming of Othello in 1949. The medina, sqala, artist’s retreats and the port with small blue fisherman boats are just some of the wonders to admire. After a relaxing afternoon, return to Marrakech and spend the evening at leisure exploring the gastronomic delights of this unique city.

Overnight: Villa des Orangers

Meal Plan: B,L

DAY 8 - ATLAS MOUNTAINS – COUSCOUS AND TANJIA

In the morning explore the surrounding Atlas Mountains. Travel through picturesque landscapes with lush vegetation and small habitations nestled on the hills. Your destination is the little Berber village of Imlil, on the foot hill of the Djebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in the Atlas range. There exchange your vehicle for a mule and enjoy a short ride to reach a secluded Berber home. Mohamed welcomes you in his abode. Meet his family and discover their culture, history and customs. 

No culinary tour is complete without trying Berber couscous with meat and vegetables, one of the most renowned dishes in Morocco. This dish is considered as the family meal and usually prepared for the whole family on the holy Friday. 

Afterwards, drive back to Marrakech and for dinner savour a delightful Tanjia. This Marrakech specialty is known as “the meal of man” because it is considered as the easiest meal to prepare. Both name of the pot and the dish cooked inside it, Tanjia is usually made of beef or lamb flavored with spices and gently cooked for hours in the aches of the hammam’s fire.

Overnight: Villa des Orangers

Meal Plan: B,L,D

DAY 9 - DEPARTURE

Today you bid farewell to Morocco as you depart for the airport for your international flight home.

Meal Plan: B

 

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