All the Makings of a Feast: Marrakech Medina

Cones of spices form a backdrop for open bags garlic and crushed ingredients.
Shopping for preserved goods and spices in open bowls: Marrakech medina

Shopping for preserved goods and spices in open bowls: Marrakech medina

No culinary experience in Morroco, especially Chef Joanne Weir’s Culinary Journey, would be complete with a trip to the Marrakech medina.  It’s there that the freshest, most colorful foods are piled high for what is truly a feast for the eyes.  And once you get home, the makings of a feast for all!

It begins outside where donkeys and carts of all shapes and sizes bring in the goods. Everything from spices to herbs to fresh-picked fruits make their way over cobblestone plazas to the open markets or through winding alleyways to markets inside.

Trucking fresh food into the medina on a busy market day.

Trucking fresh food into the medina on a busy market day.

Herbs by bicycle: Marrakech medina

Herbs by bicycle: Marrakech medina

Spices become art forms as conical shapes in colors of the Mediterranean stand tall awaiting shoppers looking for such delicacies as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon.

Cones of spices form a backdrop for open bags garlic and crushed ingredients.

Cones of spices form a backdrop for open bags garlic and crushed ingredients.

Herbs aren’t packaged in plastic, as we may see in the U. S.  They’re more likely to be found in armloads — thick, green, and aromatic.

Outside the medina, a seller of herbs awaits customers.

Outside the medina, a seller of herbs awaits customers.

Ready for purchase during Ramadan (May 17 to June 14, 2018) are sweet treats for the season.  Of course, those who fast wait until evening to dive into these goodies.

Bowls and platters hold sweets for Ramadan in this medina stall in Marrakech.

Bowls and platters hold sweets for Ramadan in this medina stall in Marrakech.

Going to the medina with Chef Joanne Weir meant frequenting her favorite places.  Like this booth filled with preserved lemons, onions, and olives of various shapes, colors and sizes literally overflowing their massive bowls.

Olives, lemons, spices, and preserves -- a colorful stall in the Marrakech medina.

Olives, lemons, spices, and preserves — a colorful stall in the Marrakech medina.

And if we had needed eggs, we could have bought them . . . with the chickens as well.

Fresh eggs and chickens: Marrakech medina

Fresh eggs and chickens: Marrakech medina

Rich brown dates begged to be touched — so we bought some and ate them while we walked!

Dates for sale in Marrakech

Dates for sale in Marrakech

If you live in the medina, you can bake your homemade bread in community ovens.  (Look closely to see the baker hard at work inside this one pulling out round flatbreads brought to him by residents.)

Community bread oven with baker inside.

Community bread oven with baker inside.

Flat breads cooling near one of many community ovens in Marrakech.

Flat breads cooling near one of many community ovens in Marrakech.

Our culinary group counted ourselves lucky to catch this in action:  young men spinning werqa dough (similar to phyllo) used in making pastilla, a meat pie usually filled with pigeon and apricots and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon.  (But I have to say that the chicken version we cooked later in the week ranked right up there with one of my favorite dishes of Morocco.)

Spinning werqa dough for making pastilla.

Spinning werqa dough, a dough used for making pastilla.

Every turn in the medina market offered a different glimpse into Moroccan culture and cuisine.  How grateful I was for the opportunity to shop for fresh goods in a truly remarkable place:  the Marrakech medina!

Shopping for fresh fish in the Marrakech medina

Shopping for fresh fish in the Marrakech medina

— Rusha Sams

For more information:

To view more pictures of Morocco, check out my Flicker account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/placeswesee

And to see more posts on this exotic, fascinating country, click on Marvelous Morocco.

 

21 thoughts on “All the Makings of a Feast: Marrakech Medina

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      You are in for a treat! It’s a beautiful country with well-prepared food — a true feast for the senses. We loved our strolls through the medina just so we could look at market places and food stalls. Fascinating!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much. Morocco is so colorful, so interesting. And even though most people did NOT want their pictures taken, I was able to grab a few shots without anyone knowing. I wanted to respect their culture but at the same time, share this place with many. Hope you enjoy the next posts to come.

  1. Suzanne Ott

    Great pictures Rusha! They make me want to go back and take everything in slowly. We did have a wonderful experience!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      You’re so right, Suzanne. I’d love to take longer looks. I’m jealous of Joanne Weir who has been at least 10 times to this beautiful place. It’s really left an impression on me.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks! The food itself was truly gorgeous. I had no idea what to expect, but once I arrived, I could tell the food was central to understanding the culture of this country. And I loved everything I ate!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much. It was a pleasure taking pictures. But I learned that I’m really not all that quick. When we walked through the medina, I was fearful of tripping over something. But I really, really wanted shots of that gorgeous food. Glad you enjoyed!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks, Cindy. The whole medina was one color palette onto which I do believe every color was represented! And I love walking through farmer’s markets and food stalls everywhere!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Don’t be frustrated! We all have “regular” food at home, and that’s why travel allows you to see something extraordinary. I will say that the Moroccan food we ate was all quite good — fresh, colorful, well-prepared. I’m thinking they have a handle on how to eat healthy, and there are times I’m not so sure we in America do. Just an observation, though. Thanks so much for taking a look!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for looking at the pictures of the glorious food in the medina! I loved that part of the tour. I took a few pictures of you guiding us, but none were as flattering as I would have liked. I guess I was snapping too fast! I’d love a return trip to Morocco — if nothing else, just to have a pastilla again!!!

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