Cumin, ginger, cinnamon, saffron – poetic spices that not only give flavor to food, but tell a story. Spices are travelers themselves, having crossed deserts and sailed on ships, they were coveted, used for trade and medicine. They tamed wild meats and aided digestion. Salt was as good as money. Spices have been a valuable flavorful currency worth their weight in gold as a precious influence on cultural identity.
Morocco, located only 8 kilometers from Spain to the north and the Sahara to the south, has had the advantage of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the desert connection to the whole of Africa and the indigenous Berbers from the Atlas mountains, running like a spine down the country’s back. It has a rich mix of aesthetic and exotic influence from the Ottoman Empire to the French who ruled for 50 yearsuntil 1956.
With a climate not unlike California, Morocco teems with character, ambiance and atmosphere. It’s deep and devotional, and as one friend put it, “In Morocco, we don’t think only of ourselves, we think of others”. This is the binding factor that makes Morocco so hospitable. It comes naturally to them. The family is the core and food is the vehicle in which they show their love. And… they eat well. A diet rich in meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts, sometimes cooked together. When spices are added, they marry beautifully like people who were destined to meet.
During our Culinary Adventure in Morocco, we offer a glimpse into the life of the everyday. From inside the community wood-fired ovens to outdoor and inside kitchens, we explore the tagine in an intimate way. From start to finish you watch the transformation of the food evolve into a succulent dish, creating a savor sauce worth soaking up with a pinch of bread. Couscous is steamed in a couscousier, until you can hold it, steaming in your hand, with a crease formed by your fingers. The couscous can then be properly shaped into a ball one handed and popped into your mouth. We show you the real way to make mint tea.
We can talk about the food and the impression it makes, but this is only one of the elements that make a trip to Morocco memorable. The vast starry skies and stretched out landscapes have to be experienced, as does the palpable mystery that makes Morocco tick.
In March of 2016, we have the addition of two artisans to our program. Yogini and Chef Ashley Mulligan Shutz, will join us for daily yoga, simple and nourishing, allowing our experience to penetrate a little deeper into our senses. Travel Photographer Stephen Smith, will invite our eyes to capture Morocco in pictures, sharing tips on composition, lighting and training the eye to see.
This promises to be a deep dive into savoring Morocco on many levels.
We hope you will join us for the one-of-a-kind “Feast for the Senses.”
Learn more about Peggy Markel’s Culinary Adventures and Slow Food Tours. Click here.