It was our second visit to the amazing country of Morocco, and I looked forward to sharing this trip with our two adult sons. There is so much to love about Morocco, and I suspect this won’t be my last time there. Marrakesh is my favorite city in Morocco, and we hit the ground running on arrival, with an Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh.
Arriving Late in Marrakesh
Our flight out of Dulles/Washington DC left more than five hours late due to bad weather. So of course we landed in Casablanca more than five hours late. We were very grateful to find our hired driver waiting for us, despite the delay. Jet lagged and exhausted we immediately started the two hour drive to Marrakesh.
It was our plan to have two full days in Marrakesh, but our travel delays took away most of the first day. We were extremely grateful that our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour we had booked with One Life Trips through Viator allowed us to move the tour to our second night. Otherwise we would have missed the tour and been out nearly $200 ($48 per person).
So instead of the food tour on our first night, we walked to the amazing and famous Marrakesh market square called Jemaa el Fna and wandered around the vast and various food stalls there. Be prepared to have everyone trying to get you to eat at their stall…it’s part of the fun. We ended up enjoying a colorful meal with kebabs, lots of veg and of course Moroccan tea.
Tip: The food in the market square , though authentic, is more expensive than places outside the market square. It is also all about the tourists. Although it’s very fun and should be experienced, hopefully you can also visit some restaurants outside of the square.
One Life Trips
Through Viator we found One Life Trips and our amazing guide Yahya. Again we were so grateful this company and our guide was willing to move our tour by one day due to our travel issues. On our second day in Marrakesh we walked all over the Medina and by dinner time we were very excited to embark on our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh.
Yahya introduced himself and told us a little bit about Moroccan food and Marrakesh. And then he said he hoped we were hungry, and we told him we definitely were. So off we went. For the next three hours we enjoyed one of the best food tours I have ever been on. And that is saying a lot. Here is what we ate on our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh;
Nuts & Dried Fruits
My previous travels in Africa and the Middle East have turned me into a date lover, and Morocco has some amazing dates. Dried fruits and nuts are a popular snack as well as used in many of the authentic foods of the country. Yahya told us that when he was a child eating a bag of fruits and nuts like the one shown here was something he did often. Delicious, nutritious and local. The market area has many vendors selling dried fruits and nuts prepackaged or by the bag.
Small Pastries and Cookies
Moroccans love their sweets and their is a decidedly French influence in many of the small bite sized sweets. Many small sweets are filled with dried fruits and nuts, and honey is frequently used too. Some of the bite size confections are made from a flaky phyllo-type dough, while others are hand formed dough wrapped around a filling much like a pirogi. Yahya took us to a stall where a man has been making and selling these sweets for fifty years.
Like so many North Africa and Middle East countries, olives are present at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Both as a snack, and also featured heavily in tajines, we enjoyed olives throughout Morocco. Yahya took us to an area in the market with many olive dealers. Their stalls displaying the colorful variety of olives as well as preserved lemons and other Moroccan delights. We sampled spicy, garlic, lemon, dill and many more flavors of olives.
One of the best reasons to go on a tour with a local is because you will have a very authentic experience. This sweet old lady selling homemade Moroccan Macaroons is not someone I would have stopped at on my own. But Yahya knew what an amazing, delicate and delicious cookie she had. It was light and sweet with a hint of cinnamon. Just perfect.
Morocco has several different kinds of pancakes as well as flat breads. Msemmen is one of the most popular. On our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh we visited two different vendors hand making Msemmen right in front of us. The first one was a savory version with some cheese and herbs. Our second stop was a sweet version with butter and honey. The flat pancake is folded over several times and eaten by hand. Amazing. I’m gonna try this one at home.
One of my favorite foods of Morocco, the pastilla is actually from the city of Fes, but it is found many places around the country. We enjoyed it multiple times. It is a round pastry filled traditionally with pigeon but today usually chicken as well as dried fruits and nuts. We had pastilla that were nearly bite size up to 8 inches across. Sometimes it’s a very large pastry, cut pizza-style. I really loved pastilla.
I’m sure this local favorite has a local name, but Yahya called it a Moroccan Hamburger. We knew we were in for a treat at this tiny take away stall when we saw the long line of locals vying for this local fav. The bread was incredible, and the beef was served a bit like a sloppy joe…minced and cooked with a delicious variety of spices and sauce. Wow. I loved it. Snack Bachar is a hidden gem in Marrakesh.
Back in the market square of Jemma el Fna, Yahya took us to one of several vendors selling nothing but snails by the bowl full in a rich broth. I’ve had snails in France of course, and also in Asia, but the Moroccan version was sweet and earthy at the same time. Very good.
Lentils are served in many Moroccan dishes, including in soups or just on their own. I love lentils and make dhal or lentil soup often at home. The tiny bowl of lentils we enjoyed clearly had been slow cooked and made with loving hands. Delicious.
Definitely my favorite thing we had on this incredible food journey was the Marrakesh favorite known as tanjia. This was the first time I had enjoyed this slow cooked beef dish flavored with preserved lemons and olives. The meat literally falling off the bone with a tender yet citrusy flavor. Served with rice and a small salad, I was so full but I couldn’t stop eating. I need to learn to make this one at home.
Despite all the sweets around, yogurt is a favorite after dinner treat. I am a big fan of homemade yogurt. We make yogurt at home nearly every day and the version we had on our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh was outstanding.
Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh
Come to Morocco. Come to Marrakesh. And come hungry. The people are friendly and happy to have visitors back in their beautiful, historic and interesting country. The culture is unique and most definitely delicious. I highly recommend One Life Trips and our guide Yahya.
I hope you will embark on your own journey soon. Watch for another Morocco blog next week about our Three Day Tour from Marrakesh to Fez.
We love it when you pin and share our blog posts. Shukran.
See last week’s post about The Royal West Indies Hotel in Turks and Caicos.
See our Moroccan Food post from our visit to Morocco five years ago, Eat Morocco.