Morocco has been on my culinary radar ever since I first ate couscous in the Paris Jewish neighborhood of the Marais at age 12–it was a revelation. In years since, I had the opportunity to work with several Moroccan and Tunisian chefs, who inspired me to finally plan a trip there. Researching my two books on spices (Field Guide to Herbs & Spices and The Magic of Spice Blends), I became convinced that I needed to make that trip. And, I am very happy to say that my culinary/cultural tour with 13 guests was a delight for all, though not without its challenges–road to the Sahara closed due to snow (!), very slow-going to cross the Tichka Pass over the snow covered peaks of the High Atlas Mountains to Fez, and sleeping bundled up in every piece of clothing I owned including hat and gloves in a tent in the bitter cold of the Sahara night, which was nonetheless a high point of the trip for all.
Steaming chickpeas slow-cooked with gelatin-rich calves feet–one of the most delicious dishes of the entire trip at Dar Naji Restaurant in Rabat.
Vegetable tajine with preserved lemons and violet olives
Assorted almond cookies at Cafe Maure, Rabat
Fresh pink garlic Fes medina
Fresh cardoons, stalks of a plant closely related to the artichoke, were in season as were small, tender fresh green fava beans in the smell plastic bags on the side of the photo.
Donkeys work hard in the Fes medina
Fragrant herbs for royal tea, Fes medina
Chicken B’Stilla, a complex dish fit for celebrations, at Palais Amani, Fes medina,
Selection of spices for Ras el Hanout, rooftop of La Sagesse, Marrakech
Traditional stone mill for crushing argan nuts
Basket laden with spices, herbs, dyes, and other specialties at La Sagesse, Marrakech
Lamb and vegetable tajine t’faya at Le Jardin, Marrakech
Newly picked breakfast radishes and craquelines at Domaine Val d’Argan organic winery
Learning to make Moroccan breads at Chez Pierre in the Dades Gorge