We had a great sleep! And no ill effects from the jet lag…yet!
The first thing we needed to do is change our Travelers cheques to cash. Both trip advisor and a recently published book on Morocco said ‘everyone’ does this ‘everywhere’. You must see where I am going with this? Read NO ONE, NO WHERE. No bank, no exchange bureau, no where! They LIED! One more spot, the last one, a credit bureau; no the girl clerk does NOT do this, but that hotel on the corner does! So we go there, and low and behold, they DO! And it was not a rip-off, they were quite pleasant and reasonable. We met our Berber Souk tour guide there; a nice gentleman about my age born to a Berber Mom and an Arab Dad. He generously guided us through the souk highlighting areas we might have interest in, of course stopping at the ‘non-touristy’ honest shops (likely where he gets commission). Non-the-less a good experience. The shops expect bartering, which I love! And we did end up buying some Morrican saffron, cinnamon, cumin and a Moroccan spice mix.
This is our lunch place.
He took us through the mazes of the souks for about two and a half hours. So nice. I did end up also buying a leather purse and a very cool fossil for my nephew (a disgusting bug, he will love it!).
The afternoon we booked a cooking course with our Riad; we were to be guided through the market to buy the food we will cook. Sadly the weather turned viscous and the winds were atrocious, so we turned back, but the cooking lesson prevailed! Our gracious translator Said Hayat and our wonderful Chef took us through the next two hours of traditional Moroccan cooking. Forget about that instant couscous, we made real couscous that took an hour, with our hands! So cool (actually, it was pretty hot!). We made Shrimp Briouat, (we will biy their actual cookbook and will remake the entire dinner in Toronto on our return for Barb and Kevin!) Chicken Tangine and Stewed Lamb (minus the lamb for Kevin!). We made grapefruit brûlée and apple tart tatin. And then we had it ALL for dinner! Our hosts were amazing! We had such a great time. It’s a must do in Marrakech! Here are some photos of our first culinary adventure!
A traditional flavour base in Moroccan cooking is called smen it’s a very pungent, cheesy smelling butter. Think fish sauce in Thai cooking – its a flavour base!
Tomorrow we have hired a guide to takes us to the Atlas mountains! Bon nuits mes amis! (it’s all coming back to me now!)