1. Enjoy fresh dates
Throughout the markets, you will see street vendors selling boxes of various kinds of dates, including the plump Medjool or Halawi dates. Symbols of good luck, dates are very much a part of Moroccan culture. Not only are they a source of agriculture, but they are celebrated and enjoyed during religious occasions. Every year in October, after the harvest, there is an annual Festival of the Date in the desert town, Erfoud, in the eastern part of the country. The festival, which occurs over three days, includes camel races and traditional music.
2. Try a cooking class
Across the country in popular tourist cities, Morocco offers a range of cooking classes in traditional Moroccan fare. In these classes, you can learn more about the wide selection of spices used in Moroccan cooking, how to cook with a tagine or even how to prepare a traditional feast. Your travel consultant can help you find a riad – a traditional Moroccan house often used as a hotel – which also offers cooking classes.
3. Explore the markets
Many cooking classes will include a trip to the market to choose fresh ingredients for your class. Touring with a guide will really help you to learn more about unfamiliar foods and spices. Shopping in souks can be overwhelming for North Americans where haggling is the name of the game. Shopping with a guide can ease the experience.
4. Drink tea
There is a precise method to preparing Moroccan mint tea that involves adding the perfect blend of spearmint, green tea and sugar at different times in the process of boiling and steeping. Quite unlike North American tea, Moroccan mint tea is almost always served in beautifully engraved silver tea pots, ceremoniously poured into equally beautiful decorated clear glasses. Look for these tea pots in the markets to take one home with you!
5. Try new things
While some of us are a little more adventurous than others when it comes to new cuisine, exploring international cuisine doesn’t mean having to step too far out of your comfort zone. In Morocco, it can be simply the blend of spices, ingredients or the cooking style that makes the food a gastro experience. One of the best things about Moroccan cooking is that it is as rich as its cultural influences; many dishes are a combination of Arab, French, Spanish and indigenous Berber cuisines.