Moroccan, is now one of my favourite cuisines, with it's tasty tagines, cous cous, etc.
Whenever I travel, I usually try to buy spices, a recipe book or other food related objects.
On this trip I bought a teracotta tagine (see my off the beaten tracks tips for more details) I'm afraid I haven't used this yet, it's more of an ornament at the moment, but I have cooked a few tagines using my old faithful cast iron casserole dish.
Argan oil (the new olive oil!!) Afraid I only bought a small bottle, for moisturising purposes from Essaouira- but I spent the exorbitant sum of £9 in Sainsburys for a bottle of organic Argan Oil for culinary purposes-
Top Tip- If You're visiting Essaouira, snap up a bottle or 2- or a crate load of Argan Oil, to sell to foodies back home for a fraction of the price of Sainsburys!! (See my Essaouira page for lots more info on Argan Oil
35 spices- a versatile spice mix, used in many Moroccan dishes, I've used most of mine already, in lots of non Moroccan dishes too.
What to buy: All manner of foodie stuff
Tagine cooking pots
Tea glasses and tea pots
Spices - especially the 35 spices mix
What to pay: From very little to as much as you want!
Throughout the street markets you will find containers of wonderful fragrant spices including coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, saffron and paprika. Moroccan dishes are made up of most of the ingredients. A lot of the spices are imported into Morocco.
Go to Djema el Fnaa and buy... dried fruits and nuts. All vendors have more or less the same displyed prices so you shuldlook around in order to get the best quality. Ask them to taste what you intend to buy... they will not object to it.
What to buy: We looked for pistachios, but we didn't find any of the quality we were looking for. We found some really delicious dried apricots, though... definitely yummy.
What to pay: The displyed price is about 100 dirhams for the apricots.
Go to the souk... wander about, get lost and try to find where they sell olives. Most likely there are several places - the one we found is somewhere off the covered souq...
What to buy: Buy olives... green olives, black olives... all sorts of olives. Moroccan olives are quite delicious and worth bring home. They can make for a really tasty present or souvenir. Take your time, ask the vendor to let you taste some... you'll be hard pressed choosing the best ones.
What to pay: Bargain a bit - but in general they cost very little
It's very nice to go somewhere you don't have to haggle. Also a good place for buying picnic things.
To get back to the Medina (or wherever) after your shop it's normal practice to share a taxi with whosoever is heading in the same direction as you and splitting the fare. This may involve a very cramped ride back. Enjoy.
IF YOU WANT TO PAY WITH A CREDIT CARD YOU'LL NEED TO TAKE YOUR PASSPORT WITH YOU.
What to buy: Normal supermarket stuff with a prevalence of French products.
Huge tubs of olives. Baguettes at 4 pence each. Wine ranging from paint-peelingly nasty cheapies to very good ones. Branded spirits. Household goods - cheap tea glasses and the like.
The spice stands in Marrakesh are so colorful, and the aroma is even better. Spices are great to bring back as gifts because they don't take up much room in the luggage. I brought back saffron, because it is expensive in the states, and a few curries.
I would recommend that you ask someone where you are staying to direct you to the best spice vendor (this applies for mint tea also because the quality varies). Also, make sure that you pack the spices air tight so they don't spoil.
The silk scarves in the souks are beautiful and abundant, and also easy to pack. Other items that are worth purchasing are clay tajines, lanterns, rugs, leather bags, slippers, teapots, tea cups...and, maybe, a hookah! I'm sure I left something great out...
What to buy: Spices, mint tea, olives, scarves, leather goods, tajines, lanterns rugs, teapots, tea cups, hookahs etc.
We visited a few different food markets during our stay in Marrakech. Probably the most interesting was a large covered market - Souq el Kheir, which is located on Avenue Houmman el Fetouaki, close to Qzadria Square. There were some unusual foods on offer here, and the market was filled with local women doing their daily/weekly shop. The meat at the butchers looked particularly good here.
We also had a wander through the Bab Doukkala food souq, which not only has food stalls but shops selling attractive cooking pots so you can make your own tajine back home.
We stumbled across a large (possibly wholesale) fruit & vegetable market which was located just off Boulevard Allal al Fassi, between the Jardin Majorelle and the bus station. We had a look around there for a while, but we soon became unpopular for taking photos so we quickly moved on.
What to buy: Also, at the start of the Medina souqs, close to Djemaa el-Fna, there are some interesting food stalls with jars of colourful olives and preserved vegetables. And don't miss the stalls selling big bags of mint - perfect for a nice afternoon cup of mint tea
Marrakeshis do their "grocery" shopping for the most part in various areas of the souks as well as at tiny little closet-sized stores at which you walk up and tell the man behind the counter what it is you want, and amazingly, he'll probably have it somewhere right behind him (eggs, shampoo, what have you). However, you will not find beer or wine within the souks or at the closet-sized stores.
This means you must trek into the ville nouveau. No worries, just take Mohammed V boulevard (on foot, by taxi, galeche or bus) in the direction of the new city. Acima exists on Mohammed V boulevard.
Here you'll find a traditional grocery with isles and isles of food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, a nice deli/bakery with a great "scoop-it-yourself" spice section (and olives! mmmm! get some olives). They've got a great cheese selection considering. And, an area at the opposite end of the store that contains quite a selection of wines (mostly French and Morrocan), beer and even liquor.
We came here to buy an assortment of cheeses and wine to share with our new friends that ran our riad.
What to buy: Olives, spices, cheese, wine, beer...
What to pay: Good cheese is priced SO much better than it is here, in the U.S., great brie, goat cheeses, etc. Big chunks for like $1.50! Bottles of wine are in the $5-8 range.
What to buy:
The dates that you can buy in Marrakesh are not from Marrakesh. The local dates tend to rot within a few days, so they sell dates from other parts of the country or from Algeria and Tunesia.
I did not mind at all, I just enjoyed the taste of all of them! Period!
From my journal:
'We stop at a spice store where all the shelves are full of jars with the most amazing things in them. Apart from the familiar and not so familiar spices, there are things like shells, dried insects, some sort of animal jaws with the teeth in them etc.
We are given a demonstration of a few spice mixtures – the saadia and the ras el hanout and others – various medicinal herbs – for sinuses, migraine, stress, rheumatism etc – and the herbs used for make up and shampoo. Very interesting.'
What to buy: From my journal:
'I buy a couple of spice mixes and the sinus / migraine cure. My mum buys a ‘magic lipstick’ which is supposed to go darker the sexier the lady. It was pretty dark on my mum!'
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