Marrakech has been on my Bucket List for a long time and last year during our 6-months in Europe, Jon and I had the pleasure of spending 4 days there.
We checked into Riad Moullard, which is located within the old city wall of Marrakech, the Medina. Our riad served as a necessary oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of the dusty Marrakech streets. Our room felt typically Moorish and just outside our door was a delightful internal patio with sunken lounges, lots of cushions and a plunge pool. The roof top terrace was a great place to be at dusk and enjoy a cool drink while watching the sun go down and the city light up.
Our first meal was at a highly rated restaurant on Tripadvisor Riad Monceau, a breathtakingly beautiful building dating from the 18th century. We were seated on the internal patio right next to the plunge pool on a candle lit table with a vase of red roses. Dinner was a traditional Moroccan meal of lamb pastilla, chicken tanjine with ginger and lemon, and finishing with orange creame pastille with crushed pistachio and mint tea. The food, the service and the ambience here was unforgettable.
At 10am the next morning we met with Gemma from Souk Cuisine for a Moroccan cooking class. Gemma presented us with shopping bags, a list of groceries and a purse of money – we were off to trade like a local in the souk! An hour or so later with all necessary produce in hand we walked to Gemma’s riad to start cooking. The various dishes were allocated between the four participants. The sardine dish that I prepared needed to be cooked in the community oven down the road. What fun that was! I walked the baking tray filled with stuffed sardines through the narrow streets, receiving friendly greetings from residents along the way. At the end of the class we all sat down and ate what we had prepared with a bottle of Moroccan wine.
On our third day we took a taxi to Amizmiz (about 50 minutes away from Marrakesh), the starting point for an excursion into the Atlas Mountains with Jamal from Berber Travel Adventures. This excursion gave us the opportunity to hike through the mountains (3 hours in total) and on the way encounter Moroccan village life firsthand. After the first hour of walking we stopped at the home of one Berber family for morning tea and then after walking for another hour we enjoyed a delicious tanjine lunch at the home of a different family. We really enjoyed getting away from the tourist traps and experiencing authentic Berber culture and hospitality.
On our final day we ventured into the spice market in search of a good coffee, spices to take home, and to soak up as much of the rich atmosphere Marrakech has to offer before leaving.