Monthly Archives: May 2010

Tangier Tour, Tangier Day Trip Visit To Cap Spartel and the Cave of Hercules,Your Morocco Travel Guide

Tangier Medina

Tangier Medina

Tangier, the capital of the Tétouan Region has a rich history due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures that conquered this area from the 5th century BC. Tangier sits at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. This beautiful city, only 35 minutes from Spain by modern hydrofoil or two hours by normal ferry boat service, has a hugely multicultural society, predominantly Muslim, but with small Christian, and Jewish communities who express tolerance for one another.

Moroccan travelers who wish to visit Tangier from Spain can take a one day private excursion to Tangier’s Cap Spartel and the Cave of Hercules along with Tangier’s sites, museums and cafes. This makes for the perfect private Tangier tour whether you are coming by ferry from Spain to Tangier or from Casablanca to Tangier.

View of Cap Spartel

View of Cap Spartel

In the 1950’s, Tangier was a place –and, sometimes a refuge– for many artists and writers from America and Europe. This port city that is shaped by the sea has attracted famous writers including Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote. Writers of the “Beat Generation” who visited or lived in Tangier include Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Brion Gysin, who was also a painter. Notable artists who lived and painted here were Eugene Delacroix and Henri Matisse.

Celebrities who have stayed in Tangier include The Rolling Stones, who also recorded with the Master Musicians of Jajouka and Bachir Attar in the kasbah in 1989. Tangier was a favorite home to Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, whose lavish parties at Sidi Hosni put Tangier on the map in the international press during from the 1950s through the early 1970s. Forbes magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes held his 70th birthday party in 1989 at his Palais Mendoub for 800 guests, flown in from all over the word, spending over $2.5 million in a week-end celebration.

Tangier is undergoing rapid development and modernization. Projects include new 5 star hotels along the bay, a modern business district called Tangier City Center, a new airport terminal and a new soccer stadium. Two other important investments in the region are in port of Tangier where millions of passengers and goods flow through it every year and also a new bullet train that will enable future tourists and Moroccans to travel from Tangier to Casablanca in just under 2 hours.

Cave of Hercules

Cave of Hercules

TANGIER ONE-DAY TOUR- Tangier Excursion from Spain, Tangier Day Trip

►After breakfast, your official tour of Tangier will begin. You will start your day with a city overview at the vantage point of the Colline de Bella-Vista. Then, drive to see the Grand Succo, a popular nighttime square close to the Mosque of Sidi Bou Abib and the link between Ville Nouvelle and the medina.

►Enter the medina at Rue Es-Siaghinie, the busiest part of this Roman medina lined with cafes and bazaars, a Spanish church, jewelers’ shops and an arts center displaying works depicting Tangier’s social history. Walk Petit Socco that was once the heart of the medina where businessmen and bankers frequented cafes, hotels, casinos and cabarets that have relocated to Ville Nouvelle. Move on to visit the Grand Mosque, built on the site of a Portuguese cathedral. Walking north, you will then visit the kasbah decorated with mosaics, ornamental stucco and woodcarving.

►Next to the Kasbah you will walk the ramparts and take a short break to relax by the breathtaking view of the port. Explore the Musée de Carmen-Macein exhibiting a collection of works by Picasso, Max Ernst and Georges Braque.

►Have a traditional Moroccan lunch in the city center of Tangier then explore Quartier du Marshan, once an attractive residential area west of the Kasbah. Next, visit the Anglican church of St. Andrew built to cater to Tangier’s growing British population. After, make a stop to appreciate fine works of art at Tangier’s Musée d’ Art Contemporain showcasing contemporary Moroccan paintings.

►In the mid afternoon, take a break and experience Tangier’s cafe scene at the Cafe Hafa on the Marchan, a popular meeting place for Tangier residents, a former favorite of Paul Bowles and other famous foreigners. Cafe Hafa boasts a terrace and gardens that overlook Gibraltar –perfect at sunset and is the perfect place for afternoon tea as is Cafe de Paris. All Tangier’s cafes offer a relaxing environment where you can meet locals even over a game of backgammon.

►In the evening enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal and live entertainment at Restaurant Hammad or instead dine sea side at one of the delightful places that serve food by the sea in Tangier.

El Minzah Hotel

El Minzah Hotel

THREE DAY TANGIER TOUR FROM CASABLANCA

DAY 1: CASABLANCA – TANGIER

►After breakfast of fresh squeezed orange juice, baguette and fresh fruit, departure from Casablanca to visit Tangier, a Moroccan port city with unique character. Heading north, you will enjoy views of the sea and deserted beaches that stretch to infinity. The road will be laced with ancient and interesting places to stop in such as the tropical gardens of Sidi Bouknadel, an exotic bird sanctuary in Mehdya and the European styled town of Kenitra, a port area whose land has been transformed by irrigation and is now one of Morocco’s major agricultural areas specializing in rice, sugar beet, cotton and citrus fruits. Nearby Kenitra, we can also stop in Thamusida to view the Roman baths on the banks of Wadi Sebou.

►Time permiting we will stop in Lixus, a UNESCO world heritage site, to briefly visit the Acropolis located on a hill above the town. After Lixus, we will drive directly through the seaside town of Asliah.

►For lunch we will stop in the charming coastal town of Asiliah, whose beach is one of the most quaint and beautiful in Morocco. Asiliah is frequented by Moroccans in summer and is less touristic then other seaside towns such as Essaouira and Agadir.

►After a seafood lunch, visit seaside Asiliah a blue and white washed city with commanding views of the ocean. There is also a lagoon where thousands of birds including herons, pink flamingoes, gannets, and sheldrake come to migrate during the months of December and January.

► In Tangier, you will be transported to your hotel where you can have dinner and prepare for the next day’s activities. Options for an overnight stay include the fabulous Hotel El Minzah in Tanger that overlooks the seas, Riad Tanja, located in the medina or a private villa.

DAY 2: TANGIER

►After breakfast, your official tour of Tangier will begin. You will start your day with a city overview at the vantage point of the Colline de Bella-Vista. Then, drive to see the Grand Succo, a popular nighttime square close to the Mosque of Sidi Bou Abib and the link between Ville Nouvelle and the medina.

►Enter the medina at Rue Es-Siaghinie, the busiest part of this Roman medina lined with cafes and bazaars, a Spanish church, jewelers’ shops and an arts center displaying works depicting Tangier’s social history. Walk Petit Socco, which was once the heart of the medina where businessmen and bankers frequented cafes, hotels, casinos and cabarets that have relocated to Ville Nouvelle. Move on to visit the Grand Mosque, built on the site of a Portuguese cathedral. Walking north, you will then visit the kasbah decorated with mosaics, ornamental stucco and woodcarving.

►Next to the Kasbah you will walk the ramparts and take a short break to relax by the breathtaking view of the port. Explore the Musée de Carmen-Macein exhibiting a collection of works by Picasso, Max Ernst and Georges Braque.

►Have a traditional Moroccan lunch in the city center then explore Quartier du Marshan, once an attractive residential area west of the Kasbah. Next, visit the Anglican church of St. Andrew built to cater to Tangier’s growing British population. After, make a stop to appreciate fine works of art at the Musée d’ Art Contemporain showcasing contemporary Moroccan paintings.

►In the mid afternoon, take a break and experience Tangier’s cafe scene at the Cafe de Paris, a popular meeting place for Tangier residents, a former favorite of Paul Bowles and other famous foreigners.

►In the evening enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal and live entertainment at Restaurant Hammad or instead tea at the Moroccan Cafe Hafa, an attractive restaurant with a terrace and gardens that overlook Gibraltar –perfect at sunset with dinner by the sea. All Tangiers cafes offer a relaxing environment where you can meet locals even over a game of backgammon.

Day 3: TANGIER – CASABLANCA

►After breakfast departure from Tangier back to Casablanca.


For more information about a Tangier Tour to Cape Spartal and the Cave of Hercules

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert, Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Moroccan Wine Guide, Choosing The Best Moroccan Wine, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Moroccan Grape Preparation For Wine Making Process

Restaurant menus and wine shops in Morocco present travelers with an astounding array of choice in excellent Moroccan wines.  But where should the person unfamiliar with Moroccan wines begin?  This article will provide a starting point and serve as a Moroccan Wine Guide by recommending some inexpensive good-value Moroccan wines.

Morocco has been a leading wine producer and its bold red and white grapes have become popular among the French, Americans and within Modern Moroccan households. When the French colonized Morocco, like the Romans centuries before them, they realized Morocco’s possibility of being a wine country. The French developed Meknès, a Moroccan Imperial City, into a wine region. Today 30,000 acres of land in Morocco contribute to wine production and Morocco sells over 40 million bottles within Morocco and abroad. Moroccan wine is in a state of revival and wine producers are taking advantage of the country’s sunny, mild temperate climate, and high altitudes.

Although most Moroccans do not drink alcohol due to religious prohibitions, Morocco provides a home to groups of ex-patriots and foreigners from France, England, America, Spain, Germany and Italy who enjoy healthy alcohol consumption. Wine production has greatly assisted in Morocco’s tourism sector and created much needed jobs. Close to 10,000 Moroccans are employed through the wine-making industry within the fourteen regions of Morocco. The fourteen wine making regions of Morocco  are Agadir, Boulaouane, Casablanca, Fes, Kenitra, Marrakech, Melilla, Meknes, Ouarzazate, Rabat, Safi, Sidi Ifni, Tangier, and Tetouan.

Map of the Fourteen Wine-Growing Regions of Morocco

Even though Morocco has fourteen wine-growing districts, wines from some of these regions are not widely available. Some common, easily-found appellations include Gerrouane, Beni MTtir, Benslimane, and Zenatta. (Gerrouane and Beni M’Tir alone account for over sixty percent of Moroccan wine production.)

The Beni M'Tir Wine-Growing Region of Morocco

Moroccan Guide To Inexpensive Red Wines:

For anyone wanting to sample a good standard Moroccan red; or when ordering for a group of red wine drinkers of varying tastes, it’s hard to go wrong with Cuvée du Cabernet President Rouge:

This garnet-colored red wine (left) hints of orange, lemon, and bramble fruits.  A medium-bodied wine,it has good complexity, without being too heavy or too light.  It is rich and robust, with a lingering finish.

For those who prefer a heavy-bodied (14%), plum-tasting wine, Bonassia Cabernet Sauvingon (right) is a better choice.  Bonassia is a rich and smooth opaque deep ruby-violet, tasting of black currants with hints of vanilla and nutmeg with a floral finish.  It is an exceptionally good value, and one of my personal favorites.  Matured in stainless steel for three months, and subsequently aged in oak.

For wine drinkers who enjoy Merlots and Syrahs, excellent inexpensive choices exist in Moroccco:

The Halana Merlot is a deep garnet-colored wine, tasting of raspberry, floral (jasmine and violet), and a hint of spice.  The Halana Syrah tastes of plum and raspberry, licorice, and cinnamon.  It also tends to be heavy with tannins.

Vineyards in Meknes

Moroccan Guide To Inexpensive Rosé Wines:

The Thalvin Boulaouane Vin Gris (left) is an especially good value and a personal favorite of mine.  It is a light wine, tasting of floral and honeysuckle, raspberry and citrus, with a pleasingly long floral length.

The Halana Syrah Rosé is medium-bodied, and stands up well to meat courses.  It tastes of rose petals, strawberry, melon and peach, and of robust minerals.

The “S” de Siroua Cabernet Sauvingnon Rosé (moderately priced in stores at about 120 Dirhams, or 12 Euros, and the most expensive wine listed in this article) is reminiscent of strawberry jam, and also a personal favorite of mine.

Grapes Being Harvested "by Hand" in Meknes

On most bottles of Moroccan wine, you will find the French words “vendage à la main,” which means “harvested by hand.”  According to the growers, this not only provides jobs for many Moroccans, but gives a superior quality to the wine when compared with mechanical harvesting methods.

Moroccan Guide To Inexpensive White Wines:

If you enjoy white wine, a light and refreshing Moroccan white you can try, which seems to please most palates,  is Thalvin Cuvée du President Sémaillon (no photo available).  It is reminiscent of green apples, light minerals, and grapefruit.

Another fresh and clean-tasting Moroccan white is Special Coquillages, found on many hotel and restaurant menus.  It tastes of green apple  citrus, and minerals, with a hint of grapefruit, and having very long length.

Cap Blanc (no photo available) is another similar white also found on many hotel and restaurant menus.  It is a pleasing and inexpensive wine tasting of grapefruit, honeysuckle, and minerals.

If you are interested in visiting the wine-growing regions of Morocco, why not book your next private tour with Travel Exploration?

For more information about Moroccan Wine, visiting the region of Meknes or a Morocco Wine Tour

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806  or 1 (917)703-2078  and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Scenes From the Filming of Sex and the City 2 in Morocco, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Sex & The City Stars in Morocco Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis Sex in the City 2

Step into the world of the Arabian Nights with New Line Cinema’s Sex in the City 2, a fabulous wish-fulfillment movie for women, filmed in Morocco, and opening in theaters on May 28, 2010. Indeed Sex in the City has left New York for majestic Morocco. Spectacular photographs from its North African set will leave an impression on viewers of this sequel film.  Filmed in the Souks of Marrakech, actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon were spotted pounding their heals through Marrakesh’s Djemaa El Fna Square, according to the UK Daily Mail Online.

Writer/director/producer Michael Patrick King  says, “I wanted the audience to have a big, fun vacation with the girls on the screen.”  The essence of the movie is for the girls to spend one decadent week in Abu Dhabi, with all expenses paid.  Since the movie could not actually be filmed in Abu Dhabi, it was filmed in Morocco.

Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis Sex in the City 2

Filmed in Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Merzouga and Agadir, in a world of luxury, private servants, lavish rooms, and nonstop costume changes, viewers are transported into the fantasy life of Abu Dhabi.  The cosume budget for the film was $10 million.

Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, and Cynthia Nixon filming in Merzouga, Morocco

Five weeks were spent filming in Morocco.  The desert scenes were filmed on the same stretch of sand where Lawrence of Arabia was shot in the Souss-Massa-Draâ near the Ouarzazate River and Ait Benhaddou.

Mandarian Oriental Hotel Luxury Entrance, Marrakesh

Mandarin Oriental in Marrakesh

The set for the hotel scenes and room suites of Abu Dhabi was actually the Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma hotel in the Palmarie of Marrakesh.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Room in Marrakesh

Rooms in the Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma hotel in the Palmarie of Marrakesh are lavishly decorated with rich colors and this 5 Star Luxury Resort boasts a melange of traditional and Moroccan Decor.

Internationally renowned film stars featured in Sex in the City 2 include its original cast of Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie Bradshaw), Kim Catrall  (Samantha Jones), Kristin Davie (Charlotte York-Goldenblatt), Cynthia Nixon (Miranda Hobbes), John Corbett (Aidan Shaw), Chris Noth (Mr. Big), David Eigenberg (Steve Brady), Evan Handler (Harry Goldenblatt), Jason Lewis (Smith Jerrod), Willie Garson (Stanford Blatch), Mario Cantone (Anthony Marantino), Alice Eve (nanny), with special appearances by Liza Minnelli and Penélope Cruz.

If you are interested in experiencing the dunes of the Sahara, luxurious camping in the desert, luxurious hotels, and the souks of Morocco, contact Travel Exploration for your own private tour.

For more information about Moroccan Sex in the City 2 in Morocco or a Private Morocco Tour

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806  or 1 (917)703-2078  and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Souks of Morocco, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Woman Picking Oranges at Sunday Souk Ouarzazate, Morocco
Woman Picking Oranges at Sunday Souk Ouarzazate, Morocco

Exploring the Souks of Morocco is a great way to connect with the local people and to experience first hand the tradition of Moroccan buying and selling of a wide range of goods. Moroccan Souks are typically held once a week in each city and region with the “day of the souk” being the best time to purchase fresh vegetables, fruits, preserved lemons, olives, spices, household items, Moroccanjewelry, Music, Toys, Glass ware, Silver, Gold, Clothing, Moroccan carpets and other exciting finds that are carried across the Maghreb from souk to souk.

Man from Atlas Mountains with Antique Silver for Sale, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Man from Atlas Mountains with Antique Silver for Sale, Ouarzazate, Morocco

A majority of the goods that are sold at Moroccan souks are either imported or made and sold by local artisans, vendors and Nomads who descend from the Atlas mountain regions to sell their wares. The good s at Moroccan Souks which are primarily imported from abroad are made available to cater to the local population in Morocco who prefer goods that are made of plastic, glass and porcelain as a result of their low price point, quality and attraction to foreign goods.

Imported Plastic Goods at the Sunday Souk, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Imported Plastic Goods at the Sunday Souk, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Souk (souq) is referred to as the commercial quarter in an Arab or Berber city and specifically refers to the weekly market.

Historically in Morocco, souks were held outside of cities in the location where a caravan loaded with goods would stop and merchants would display their goods for sale. Souks were typically held when there was a caravan passing through a city or if there was excess of goods available. At that time, souks were more than just a market to buy and sell goods; they were also major festivals and many cultural and social activities took place in them.

Woman at Sunday Souk, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Woman at Sunday Souk, Ouarzazate, Morocco

A result of the expansion and growth of Moroccan cities during the past ten years has created an environment where traditional Moroccan souks have become less important in major cities such asCasablancaMarrakechFesEssaouira and Tangier. The reason an interest in traditional souks in major cities has declined is because larger, more modern Moroccan places to shop such as Marjane (American “Target” equivalent), Acima, and other urban centers now offer a similar or better quality of goods. Moroccan Souks in smaller cities, towns and Moroccan villages are still a large weekly tradition and the main source of goods for the local population. Families who live in remote mountain regions of Morocco or in small villages often travel long distances each week to the traditional Moroccan Souks where they can stock up on goods.

Spices in a Moroccan Souk
Spices in a Moroccan Souk

Each city and small town in Morocco has a particular day of the week when a  “Souk” takes place and many refer to it with the day of the week as it’s title. For example in Ouarzazate, Morocco there is a “Saturday Souk” and a “Sunday Souk” however in other regions and cities there is often a “Thursday Souk” or a “Monday Souk.”

If you are considering a Morocco tour make sure to ask your travel agent to include a visit to the local Moroccan Souk. Visiting a Moroccan souk offers an unforgettable visual and sensory experience.

For more information about Moroccan Souks or a Private Tour to Shop the Souks of Morocco

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806  or 1 (917)703-2078  and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Eating in Djemaa-El-Fna Square, In Marrakesh, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Dinner in the Djemaa El Fna Square

Dinner in the Djemaa El Fna Square, in Marrakesh, Photo by Mary Mimouna

Djemaa El Fna Square is in the heart of Marrakesh, Morocco is like no where else on earth, and an adventure not to be missed after dusk.  Courageous travelers in Morocco will definitely want to eat in the Djemaa El Fna Square.  Tourists can avoid any chance of illness simply by sticking to foods that are actually cooked in front of them, and passed over to be eaten off of a clean paper.  The Moroccan family in the photo above is waiting for their main course to come out of the cooking pot in front of them.Whether you choose to eat or not, just a stroll through the Djemaa El Fna Square in the evening can provide some very unique photo opportunities.

Freshly Cooked Seafood in the Djemaa El Fna Square in Marrakesh, photo by Mary Mimouna

Freshly Cooked Seafood in the Djemaa El Fna Square in Marrakesh, Photo by Mary Mimouna

One of the best meals to have in Djemaa El Fna Square is a variety of types of freshly-cooked white fish including sole.  These are served with French fries, and a variety of salads eaten with bread out of a dish or off of a clean paper, consisting separately of mashed cooked eggplant with a squeeze of lemon and salt; tomato, onion, and parsley salad; and roasted green pepper salad.  You might also want to try chicken or beef brochettes (shish-ke-babs) roasted over a fire, or roasted whole chicken.  Snails are served from special carts.  If you have never tried snails, Morocco is definitely the place to do so.  Various bottles of soda pop are served as drinks.  For most tourists, this is the best option.  (Water and tea might be available, but you will be unwittingly sharing a cup with many other dinners, so these are best avoided in the Square.)

Cooked Sheepheads in Djemaa El Fna Squrare, in Marrakesh, Photo by Mary Mimouna;

Cooked Sheepheads in Djemaa El Fna Square, in Marrakesh, Photo by Mary Mimouna

Really adventurous diners will want to try sheep heads in Djemaa El Fna Square.  While most people in the West aren’t aware of it, bologna is made out of the tender meat of the face.  You can also try tongue, brains (a Moroccan favorite), heart, liver, or pancreas stuffed with rice and currants.  Some tourists may just want to take pictures of these things to send back home.

Once you have completed your meal, you step behind the serving cart, where a man is ready with soap and ladles of clean water to let you wash your hands.

Either before dinner, at sunset, or after eating, you may wish to sit up in Café Argana, a landmark in Djemaa El Fna Square where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the lively and exotic Square while sipping Moroccan coffee or tea.

Djemaa El Fna Square at Night, Photo by Mary Mimouna

Djemaa El Fna Square at Night, Taken from Café Argana, Photo by Mary Mimouna

The Djemaa El Fna Square is located next to the main entrance to the Marrakesh Souks.  A meal in the Square can also be a great start or finish to your Marrakesh one day tour or even a Sahara Desert Tour .

For more information about Eating in Djemaa El Fna Square or a Marrakesh Tour

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806  or 1 (917)703-2078  and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Morocco, The Land of Olives, Your Morocco Travel Guide

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Olive Souk in Marrakesh, Morocco, Photo by Mary Mimouna

If you are an olive olive lover, you will find Morocco to be a paradise!

All the different colors and varieties of Moroccan olives are cured with different methods. The lemony greens, the succulent reds, and the pungent blacks are all done in several different ways, and each style has separate uses in the Moroccan cuisine.

Once the olives are picked off the trees in mid-November, they are usually cut in Morocco with a razor blade, using a long, diagonal slash.  During the hand-cutting, they are sorted by color into green, red, and black, all going into different vats.

Freshly picked olives

The olive vats are then filled with water, with the water being changed daily, until most of the bitterness is soaked out.  This takes roughly two-to-three weeks, with each color taking a different amount of time.

The simplest home curing at this point involves just putting the olives into heavily-salted water.  However, many people have their own family recipes, and olives in the souk are most often using other recipes involving both vinegar and heavily salted water.  The olives are considered ready after three months, but can be eaten sooner.  Many families in Morocco try to preserve one or two barrels at home to use throughout the year.

Only green and red olives tend to be used in cooked recipes in Morocco, and each type is used in different traditional recipes.  Black olives are generally eaten as an accompaniment to salads, or arranged on top of the salad.

Black, salt-cured olives

Black, salt-cured olives

One interesting type of olive in the souk, which is also seen in restaurants, is a black variety which appears to be shriveled up, even spoiled.  Don’t worry!  Its shriveled appearance comes from the unusual way it is cured.  Instead of being cut and soaked in salt water, it is picked off the tree and packed directly into salt, where it it left for about three months.

Moroccan Green Cracked Spiced Olives

Moroccan spiced olives are another interesting variety of green olives.  The cured green olives are cracked (pits left in) and mixed with chopped corriander and flat parsley, chili flakes or small whole chilies, finely chopped garlic, cumin powder, lemon juice, and a little olive oil.  They are quite spicy, and often served before the meal in restaurants together with bread and butter.

While most often the pits are not removed, a few varieties do remove the pits and replace them with such delicacies as slivered almonds.

Whenever you visit the souks of Morocco, always take time to visit the olive markets, as the different olives on display provide a captivating photo opportunity.  When eating in Moroccan restaurants, do take time to enjoy how and where the different colors and varieties of olives are served.

For more information about Moroccan Olives or a Private Morocco Tour of Cuisine and Curing Olives

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806  or 1 (917)703-2078  and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Moroccan Preserved Lemons, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Preserved Lemons in Moroccan Souk

Preserved lemons are a staple in Moroccan cuisine and are added to slow cooking tagines, stews, and soups for a wonderful tangy lemon flavor that can not be duplicated with fresh lemons. In Morocco, these lemons can be bought individually at a souk, or marketplace, and are very easy to find given their importance in Moroccan dishes. Outside of Morocco these lemons may be found in Middle Eastern or international markets but are so easy to make many cooks decide to prepare their own preserved lemons at home.

The ingredients for Moroccan preserved lemons are extremely simple, all you need are whole fresh lemons, sea salt, lemon juice, and, in some recipes, vegetable oil. There is also the option of adding additional spices to make the preserved lemons more suitable for sweet or savory dishes. Cinnamon sticks are a common spice that is added for lemons that are going to be used in sweet dishes and pepper or bay leaves are added for lemons that are going to be used in savory tagine dishes.

Moroccan Chicken & Preserved Lemon Tajine

The pickling process takes about one month and the preserved lemons will be good to use for up to six months. A simple clean jar is sufficient to pickle the lemons in but it is suggested that if you are not planning on refrigerating the lemons that you use a proper sterilized canning jar.

Moroccan Preserved Lemons Jarring Process

To Make Moroccan Preserved Lemons

– Cut off both rounded ends of the lemon and make two deep cuts lengthwise downwards, careful not to cut all the way through, so that the lemon has been incised with an X.

– Stuff the salt down into the cuts using about 1 tablespoon per lemon. If available use Moroccan sea salt for a finer taste.

– Pack the lemons tightly into the jar, pushing them to the bottom, and cover with lemon juice and any additional spices you choose to include. Some recipes call for topping the jar with vegetable oil.

-Leave the jar closed for one month, checking every couple of days to make sure the Moroccan lemons are fully submerged in juice.

– After one month the Moroccan preserved lemons are ready, the pulp and skins will have become soft and silken and can both be used in cooking recipes. Some people use the juice as well but this is often too salty. Rinse the lemons in water before using to wash away the extra salt and then add to any slow-cooking meat or vegetable tagine dish.

For more information about Moroccan Preserved Lemons and a Taste of Morocco Tour

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806  or 1 (917)703-2078  and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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