Explore from Home: Issue #3 – Morocco

Published on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 8:00 AM
GREAT READS
EASY LISTENING
AUTHENTIC FOOD
SAVOUR SPICES

SAVOUR THE SPLENDOR OF MOROCCO

The brilliant blue and crimson colours Morocco has become famous for are only part of this country’s sensational diversity. Rare artisanal treasures wait to be discovered around each corner of Morocco’s many disorienting and energizing souks. It is here that vendors barter over the value of their sweet-smelling saffron. From the hum of the early morning call to prayer, to the sizzle of chicken in centuries-old tajine pots, Morocco is full of sounds that are equal part foreign and enticing. Sipping traditional mint tea for the first time amid the bustle of Rabat or Marrakesh is a relaxing and refreshing reminder of what Moroccan people hold so dearly: tradition. Standing in the shadow of the grand Hassan II Mosque, the intricacy of Moroccan architecture comes into full view as you touch your hand to the Zellige tilework. From the breezy shorelines of M'diq, to the starry nights in the Merzouga desert, Morocco can be summarized with one simple word: splendid.

EXPERIENCE CULTURE

Whether you are feeling upbeat or contemplative, our team has selected some of Morocco's finest artistic exports – bookworms and music lovers, enjoy!

GREAT READS

Morocco has long been the backdrop for telling some of the world’s greatest stories. Expatriates embarking on great cultural adventures, the political power plays of yesteryear, and the role traditions play in a modern world. Relatable themes explored through an otherworldly lens.

THE CALIPH’S HOUSE: A YEAR IN CASABLANCA

Tahir Shah, 2006

Inspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, acclaimed English travel writer Tahir Shah shares a highly entertaining account of making an exotic dream come true. By turns hilarious and harrowing, here is the story of his family’s move from the gray skies of London to the sun-drenched city of Casablanca, where Islamic tradition and African folklore converge.

READ
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca
Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

HOPE AND OTHER DANGEROUS PURSUITS

Laila Lalami, 2005

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco. The book begins as four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain. What has driven them to risk their lives? Sensitively written with beauty and boldness, this is a gripping book about what propels people to risk their lives in search of a better future.

READ

STOLEN LIVES: TWENTY YEARS IN A DESERT JAIL

Malika Oufkir & Michèle Fitoussi, 2001

Malika spent most of her childhood in the seclusion of the court harem. When her father was executed after an attempt to assassinate the king, Malika and her family were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fifteen years, the Oufkir children managed to make a courageous escape. Stolen Lives is a heart-rending account of bravery in the face of extreme deprivation and an unforgettable story of a woman’s personal journey to freedom.

READ
Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail
The Spider’s House

THE SPIDER’S HOUSE

Paul Bowles, 2006

Set in Fez during that country’s 1954 nationalist uprising, The Spider’s House is perhaps Paul Bowles’ most beautifully subtle novel, richly descriptive of its setting, and uncompromising in its characterizations. Exploring the dilemma of the outsider in an alien society, and the gap in understanding between cultures, this book is dramatic, brutally honest, and shockingly relevant to today’s political situation.

READ

THE LAST STORYTELLERS

Richard Hamilton, 2011

Marrakech is the heart and lifeblood of Morocco’s ancient storytelling tradition. For nearly a thousand years, storytellers have gathered to recount ancient folktales and fables to rapt audiences. But this unique chain of oral tradition that has passed seamlessly from generation to generation is teetering on the brink of extinction. Richard Hamilton tracked down the last few remaining storytellers in the labyrinth of the Marrakech medina, and recorded their stories replete with the mysteries and beauty of the Maghreb.

READ
The Last Storytellers

EASY LISTENING 

Enjoy these selected artists featuring some of Morocco’s most iconic voices and sounds. Click play to listen to a sample, or simply sign-up for a free Spotify account and click the Spotify logo to listen to the entire song. Spotify is an online service that brings millions of songs to your fingertips – all genres, all eras, all for free! Our team has been spending many satisfying hours exploring new artists and listening to the rhythmic heartbeat of the world.
Ammouri M'barek
Malika Zarra
Mehdi Nassouli
Oum

ENJOY AUTHENTIC FOOD

Inspired by the values of hospitality and personal interactions, Moroccan cuisine is prepared slowly, full of rich aromas, and endlessly inviting. Once you've had a taste, you'll be sure to come back for seconds.

Traditional Moroccan Tajine

It may be impossible to visit Morocco without savouring their quintessential culinary dish – the humble and unassuming tajine. Regardless of mood, there is a tajine for everyone, from chicken for white-meat lovers, to vegetarian for those after lighter fare. Even a breakfast dish with eggs, tomatoes and melt-in-your-mouth-tender kefta. We’ve selected an excellent lamb tajine recipe to share with you. Not only is it delicious with minimal prep time, it can be made with a Dutch oven instead of the traditional clay tajine pot. Simply set to simmer, sit back with a glass of wine, relax, and smell the notes of North African spices dancing in the air. The final step: enjoy.

Traditional Moroccan Mint Tea

A cornerstone of Moroccan hospitality and culture, mint tea is a real treat meant to be enjoyed with those around you. From simple breakfasts to start your day to the most formal wedding receptions, expect freshly infused mint tea to be front and centre. It serves to slow the world down, and to help those sipping to take a pause, and connect. It is offered as a gesture of kindness, to welcome a new guest to your house, or to rekindle an old friendship. Hospitality is everything in Morocco, and like much of the world, it begins and ends with a cup of tea.

SAVOUR SPICES

Strolling around the souks of Morocco you can navigate through the rows of stalls by following the intoxicating scents of the one-of-a-kind spice stalls. Piled into perfectly-sloped mounds of yellow, crimson, royal blue, and nearly every colour in the rainbow, these spices are a delight to the sense and essential to an authentic Moroccan meal. 

Ras el hanout

RAS EL HANOUT

Translating to top of the shelf, Ras el hanout is a dynamic mix of nutmeg, sea salt, black pepper, ginger, and seven other spices. Together they form a robust palette that is sweet, spicy, salty, and floral. A staple in most Moroccan households, Ras el hanout is a common ingredient in rice, couscous, meat and tagine dishes.

TASTE

Coriander Seeds

CORIANDER SEEDS

Throughout fields in Morocco, it is common to find plots of the coriander plant, that produces the leafy herb known as cilantro, as well as the seed that is ground to produce the Coriander spice. Coriander is very fragrant, with hints of citrus peel and sage, and is fantastic with chicken, pistachios, and in Chermoula, which is a flavourful Moroccan sauce.

TASTE

SAFFRON

SAFFRON

The Queen of Spices as it is commonly known was originally cultivated in Greece, but has become synonymous with Morocco in recent years. Harvesting the stigmas from the Crocus sativus flower is incredibly labour intensive, and for that reason, Saffron is one of the most expensive spices on earth. Its subtle sweet and bitter taste. Like most other spices, Saffron can be added to a tagine to give it an extra pop of flavour, but it is also featured in a velvety and chunky soup known as Harira, and the traditional Moroccan Chicken Pie, Bastila.

TASTE

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