Couscous and tagine are the most well known Moroccan fare, but there’s an abundance of foods — from grilled meats and vegetables to seafood and fresh breads and pastries — to sample. Stop for a moment in the middle of the busy markets to breathe in the intense smells of the souk — everything from spices and floral potions, to the less pleasant aromas of the tannery.
The first sip is extremely sweet and strong, but by the end of your trip you will be craving this comfort early in the day and late at night. Gracious locals will offer a hot cup everywhere you go, and take the opportunity, whether in French, Arabic, English, or a mix of all three, to chat with your hosts while sharing the beverage lovingly referred to as Moroccan whisky. Pick up a blend to bring home at spice vendors or herbalists.
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
This juice has nothing in common with the grocery store stuff we grew up on. Sweet and not acidic, it can be found at street vendors, rest stops and cafes. If you have the chance, give a glass of fresh squeezed pomegranate juice a try.
Confections and Cookies
From slightly sweet biscuits to marzipan bon bons, there are plenty of sweet bites to be found in Morocco. French influence from the colonial days is still strong with breakfast choices, and it’s common to find croissants and other pastries at cafes and bakeries.
Other favorites from the trip included:
Msemen – a crepe-like bread that is grilled and served plain, or sweetened with a little sugar. These were most appreciated as breakfast the day we woke up to to cool temperatures in the Sahara.
Zaalouk – Lunches and dinners are often accompanied by a variety of small plates of salad, and this dish of roasted eggplant, tomatoes and spices was by far my favorite.
Tummy troubles? Half of my tour group came down with bug that lasted several days. Many of the roadside cafes and restaurants offered “plain spaghetti” on the menu. And just as it sounds, it was simply a plate of spaghetti with nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil or dollop of butter. Exactly what I was craving, and about all I could manage to eat. Even with the ailment, this was still one of the best trips ever!
Pro tip: have your doctor prescribe you an emergency dose of antibiotics to take on the trip as stomach bugs are quite common for foreign travelers.