My Moroccan Addictions

My name is Hilary, and I am an addict! Moroccan mint tea (aka “Berber Whiskey”)… olives grown and pressed just outside Chefchaouen… Moroccan bread (especially the khobz and msemen/rghaif)… tagine… I just can’t seem to get enough 😋. Moroccan mint tea (green tea blended with mint leaves) is considered a drink of hospitality and is served everywhere – prior to check in at Riads/Hotels, prior to exchanging money at some shops, upon entering people’s homes, etc. – and, as Moha explained, to turn it down is seen as a sign of disrespect. Thank goodness I LOVE tea. Olives – black, yellow, and/or green – and/or – whole or tapenade – are served with almost every meal. I loved olives before but now I really LOVE them 😘. The bread is pretty darn good too. As it is a staple in the Moroccan diet, most meals include 2-4 different kinds of freshly baked bread. Moroccan tagine… So SO SO So good!! I have had 2 beef, 2 chicken, and 1 lamb tagine in the past few days – all with different ingredients (from root vegetables to prunes and apricots to lemons and olives to dried fruit and nuts) and all INCREDIBLY scrumptious! Moha suggested that if we journey to Erfoud (his hometown) or Essaouira (his current city) either his mother or wife will show me how to make it. I will be one happy girl 😊😊😊. Last but not least, the pastilla is quite tasty! Not quite addicted… AND I will never look at pigeons the same… So, do I tell the Dude that he just had a meal made from rats w/ wings???

Believe it or not, the Dude and I have done something other than eat/drink 😜. After spending such a short time in Casablanca and Rabat, we decided to spend a few days exploring Chefchaouen – at Moha’s suggestion. Chefchaouen, also known as the “Blue City,” is such a uniquely cute little town. And, YES, almost everything is a shade of blue. The walled town is a maze of VERY narrow, steep alleyways (most that look eerily similar) that twist and wind up the side of the Rif Mountains. The alleyways are filled with tiny workshops and cooperatives whose merchants make things such as woven fabrics (for making djellabas), leather goods, cedar furniture, olive oil, goat cheese, bread, etc. – all using local resources. It seems that everyone has their role within the community. Lucky for me, I was able to feed my love of Moroccan bread by finding the baker that has the community earthen oven. Not only does he sell bread, he also bakes (for a small fee) the raw dough brought in by the townspeople.

Chefchaouen, Morocco. Chefchaouen (“Shef-SHAH-wen”) is nestled in the foothills of the Rif Mountains, and is known as the “Blue City.” Like many other Rif Mountain villages, Chefchaouen is relatively rural. It was initially inhabited by Rifi Berbers, who were joined by Andalusian Jews and Muslims after fleeing Spain beginning in the 15th century. It is such a uniquely cute little town. And, YES, almost everything is a shade of blue — with the exception of the BRIGHTLY colored woven fabrics and handicrafts.

Although the Dude and I were only in town for a few short days, Chefchaouen and the Rif Mountains more than exceeded my expectations! I could really feel the warmth of the people and closeness of the community… Many that we met shared how excited they were that we (as Americans) decided to visit their country… All of the kind people that we met, plus the extraordinary scenery made for a wonderful visit.

Better/more pictures forthcoming… Still have yet to find a decent internet connection 😉. Headed to the Middle Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert and doubt there is any connectivity. Stay tuned…

#iluv2xplore #dreamexplorediscover


My First Taste of “Berber Whiskey”

It was a long haul, but the Dude (aka dad) and I have finally arrived in Morocco 😋. We were warmly welcomed with a “Berber whiskey” (piping hot fresh Moroccan mint tea) and a HUGE warm hug from our driver/guide (Moha) as though we were longtime friends returning for a visit. After a quick afternoon in Casablanca, Moha whisked us away to Rabat to experience a much more relaxed atmosphere dining amongst the locals. Holy… good tagine!!!

The Dude, Moha, and I have really hit it off, so Moha will accompany us on our journey through Morocco to not only help us with communication throughout the country since neither the Dude nor I speak French, Arabic, Portuguese, or any of the Berber dialects, but also to help us explore the roads less traveled outside the larger, more well known cities. I am SOOOOOO looking forward to spending time with the Dude (aka dad) and Moha exploring this BEAUTIFUL country! Next stop – Chefchaouen, the blue city…

More pictures forthcoming – once I get a better internet connection 🙂

#iluv2xplore #dreamexplorediscover