detailed itinerary ~ Feb. 28-Mar. 8, 2016
A realm of truly unfamiliar and fascinating places still exists, where local people treat you like a traveler, not a tourist. Where things might not always go as expected, but are likely to be exquisitely memorable. This is Morocco! And Morocco asks us to enlarge our notion of slow travel.
We include the vastly unfamiliar – and receive unimaginable delights in return. Be ready to be subsumed in a world of exquisite luxury and dramatic rusticity, of heartwarming hospitality and charming curiosity, of combinations of tastes and ingredients that play on our senses more like music than food. And most essentially, in Morocco, be prepared for a culture deeply imbued with a simple humanness that, as you contact it, cannot help but bare your own soul.
Peggy Markel’s Morocco: A Feast for the Senses offers the most complete experience of how cuisine and culture can bring a sense of expansiveness and appreciation to our lives. This rare and deeply satisfying journey asks the most of you – and will fill you with a kind of magic in return.
For this special departure, we have selected two very talented partners to deepen our Moroccan experience. Peggy will be accompanied by Ashley Mulligan and Stephen Smith. Ashley is an accomplished yogini and instructor who will be providing optional morning yoga sessions on rooftops and patios, while we listen to the sounds of Morocco and sway to the palm trees. Stephen is a very talented travel photographer who has travelled with us before to Seville and Amalfi. In Morocco, he will be documenting our adventure as well as sharing photo tips and teaching informal, impromptu photography classes so you can take with you wonderful photographic reminders of your beautiful time in Morocco. (Bios below)
ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
|Feb 28-Mar 2||Marrakech||Jnane Tamsna||Four|
|Mar 3 & 4||Imlil||Kasbah du Toubkal||Two|
|Mar 5||Essaouira (Sidi Kaouki)||Sidi Kaouki Inn||One|
|Mar 6 & 7||Marrakech||Jnane Tamsna||Two|
DETAILED PROGRAM (Subject to Change)
FEB 28, 2016 (SUNDAY) MARRAKECH, Jnane Tamsna
Welcome to Marrakech and Morocco! A driver will meet you at the airport and transport you to Jnane Tamsna, a private oasis in Marrakech and our home for the next few days. Peggy and/or her assistant will be there to greet you and we will meet in the evening as a group for a welcome aperitif and dinner in the enchanting private guesthouse gardens of Jnane Tamsna.
FEB 29, 2016 (MONDAY) MARRAKECH, Jnane Tamsna
After breakfast, tour ethnobotonist Gary Martin’s organic vegetable garden. Afterwards, our first cooking class with chef Baija will be on variations 0f Chicken Tagine and Caviar d’Aubergine. Lunch will be served in the garden.
After lunch, free afternoon for you to relax in the quietness of Tamsna as you get used to your new surroundings and the time difference. Read by the pool, go on a walk or even play tennis in the clay court if you’d like! If you are ready to go, we can share directions for an optional tour of the monuments, including the Palais Bahia and the Dar Si Said Museum for Moroccan crafts, or the beautiful Jardin Majorelle of Yves St. Laurent fame and the renowned photography museum.
Dinner at Jnane Tamsna.
MAR 1, 2016 (TUESDAY) MARRAKECH, Jnane Tamsna
After breakfast, we will have a lesson on couscous made in the traditional couscousier, followed by lunch in the garden.
This afternoon, we’ll venture into town for an introduction to the food and spice market. We will forage through the spice market for true saffron and delicious ras-el-hanout, the traditional mixture of herbs and spices used in many Moroccan dishes, especially tagine. Late afternoon relaxation at Jnane Tamsna – maybe today is the day for a hammam (Arab bath) or a massage at a nearby spa?
Dinner at Jnane Tamsna.
MAR 2, 2016 (WEDNESDAY) MARRAKECH, Jnane Tamsna
After breakfast, it’s back to the kitchen where we will enjoy a hands-on fusion cooking class on Spanish Moorish cooking. Dishes will include almond soup, almond cake and traditional potato tortilla. Lunch in the garden.
Evening free. Recommendations will be given. Great night for belly dancing or further exploring the Medina. Make sure to pack your bags tonight as we leave early the following morning.
MAR 3, 2016 (THURSDAY) IMLIL, Kasbah du Toubkal
After breakfast, we will drive across the Haouz plain to the market town of Tnine Ourika to discover the Jardin de Senteurs et Cultures, a picturesque organic garden of aromatic herbs, planted by Jalil Belkamel. Here we’ll learn about essential oils used in aromatherapy, cuisine and massage. Before our picnic lunch under a tented shade, there will be a hands-on demonstration on bread baking in traditional Tachelhit (Berber) clay ovens.
In the late afternoon, we will travel up into the Imlil Valley, en route to the Kasbah di Toubkal, at the footsteps of Morocco’s highest mountain. Upon arrival in Imlil, a short but winded walk up will take us through the walnut grove to the Kasbah – choose to do this on foot, or on a stylish donkey ride. Dinner and overnight in the Kasbah, a center of Berber hospitality.
MAR 4, 2016 (FRIDAY) IMLIL, Kasbah du Toubkal
After breakfast, we will hike along mountain slopes to visit irrigation systems, walnut groves, home gardens and terraces of the Tachelhit Berber mountain agriculture.
We will have the afternoon to relax. Hammam available, mountain style. A cooking demonstration of lamb and fig tagine, followed by dinner at the Kasbah.
MAR 5, 2016 (SATURDAY) ESSAOUIRA, Sidi Kaouki Inn
After breakfast, we will travel about 4 1/2 hours to the Atlantic coast to visit the beautiful Portuguese port of old Mogador, now known as Essaouira. We’ll enjoy a lunch of grilled fish at the port, near the old city walls. Meander through the town’s shops and visit woodcarvers who produce artifacts of fragrant thuya wood, peruse through carpets and kilims to perfect ones appreciation and eye for Berber design. Visit the music stores for the best selection of Gnawa and Andalusian tunes. Sit in one of Essaouira’s French style café’s for journal writing and people-watching.
Afterwards, it’s off to Sidi Kaouki and Sidi Kaouki Inn for an overnight stay in a village setting. For one night, simple rooms, shared bathrooms and no electricity here. Just candlelight, stars and the sound of the waves. Fish tagine will be highlighted. Dinner to follow and perhaps some dancing, Kaouki style. Overnight, normally, a blanket of stars like you’ve never seen.
MAR 6, 2016 (SUNDAY) MARRAKECH, Jnane Tamsna
Breakfast on the terrace. Afterwards, enjoy a long walk and camel ride along the wide open beaches of Sidi Kaouki with a talented group of local chameliers (camel drivers).
Prepare to leave for the journey back to Marrakech. We will make a stop on the way at an Argan Oil Cooperative to see the women proudly cracking and pressing the argan nuts that they have gathered. Argan products available. We’ll get back to Jnane Tamsna in time to settle back in, relax, and have an aperitif before enjoying dinner by the fireside.
MAR 7, 2016 (MONDAY) MARRAKECH, Jnane Tamsna
After breakfast, we will have our last cooking class with Baija on Pastilla and Kefta. Lunch under the carob tree at Jnane Tamsna with poetry reading and sharing of the weeks’ impressions.
Tonight we will have a magical candlelight Gala dinner with live Moroccan Andalucian music.
MAR 8, 2016 (TUESDAY) MARRAKECH, Jnane Tamsna
Departure after breakfast.
Farewell Culinary Travelers! We look forward to seeing you soon in another PMCA Adventure.
– Pick-up at the airport in Marrakech by private driver upon arrival
– 10 days of unforgettable images and discovery in Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains and Essaouira
– Hotel accommodations in a luxury guesthouse, traditional Berber Kasbah and charming candle-light residence by the beach
– Most meals and all cooking classes and demonstrations
– Cultural excursions to the Medina in Marrakech and Essaouira plus visits to local artisans, villages and marketplaces
– Daily yoga / stretching classes with Ashley
– Photography tips and informal classes by Stephen as well as access to his top 20 images after the trip
– Camel and donkey rides
– Transportation with excellent driver
Not included but offered:
– Spa treatments
Peggy Markel, tour designer and leader
Peggy Markel has a palate for the extraordinary. Her interest in the connection between food and culture began with childhood roots in the Deep South and developed with extensive travels throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia. On these journeys, Peggy saw an opportunity to design and direct her own brand of culinary travel combining creativity with deep attention to detail, on-the-ground spontaneity, and a vibrant cast of characters for a theater-in-the-round of cultural adventure.
Since founding Peggy Markel’s Culinary Adventures in Tuscany in 1992, Peggy has personally led more than one thousand people on various programs, enriching their knowledge and experience of food, culture and the world. Today, Peggy directs each of her international culinary travel programs in three continents with the same basic philosophy, inviting her guests to experience new cultures with an open curiosity, using food as a vehicle to taste the fullness of culture and place.
Peggy has traversed the Mediterranean, North Africa and India, from Italian fishing villages and Moroccan markets to the homes of Tuscan artisans and chefs, furthering her own exploration of culture and cuisine. When not traveling, Peggy spends as much time as possible with family and friends in and around Boulder, Colorado.
Ashley Mulligan Schütz, yogini
Ashley Mulligan Schütz has been practicing yoga for 10 years. 7 of which, she was setting her mat up in any hallway, rooftop, or boat deck available, as she traveled throughout foreign lands. After completing her training in India to become a teacher of yoga, she promptly flew to Morocco to begin sharing her gift with others.
She gently guides practitioners of any level in a yoga practice that is calming and yet refreshing to the body and the mind.
Whether you come to your mat in the morning to move or to sit, to meditate or to pray, or even just to experience Morocco in a new way — join us for a moment blending together the warmth of early sun, the smell of orange blossoms and the call to prayer in the distance. Morning yoga with Ashley on your PMCA trip will quickly secure your love affair with Morocco.
Stephen Smith, travel photographer
Growing up in North Carolina in an active family he spent most of his developmental days outside exploring the family farm, woods, streams and lakes of this bio-diversifed Southern landscape.
Stephen received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Colorado while finding time to ride mountain bikes, camp, fish and snowboard. Five months on a solo motorcycle adventure through South America piqued his interest in farming, grape growing and winemaking leading him to Napa, CA where he got his hands dirty working for boutique wineries and vineyards.
In 2012, he moved back to Colorado to work as the Director of Business Development for the first Organic distillery in the US and only Biodynamic vineyard in Colorado. Half-a-year on a 90,000 acre cattle ranch opened Stephen’s eyes to large scale land management, animal husbandry as well as agricultural and economic diversification. He now works as a travel and agrarian photographer combining his passions and expertise in these fields.