Hi loves, welcome to my first Fernweh Fridays edition, where I show you a place I want to visit and highlight the amazing food, fashion and culture that have caught my eye. I’ll share with you some local eats, fabric treats and local customs, traditions and fun facts.
The word fernweh doesn’t translate into the English language, but it happens to my one of my fav words, eva. Roughly, it translates to mean a homesickness or ache for traveling to distant places you’ve yet to visit. How cool, right? Sums up my life!
Moroccan food is known for its vibrant colours, rich flavours + intersection of Berber, Arabic, Jewish and French cultural influence. There are lists of meals to commit yourself to trying while visiting this beautiful place, but the three I recommend not leaving Morocco until you’ve tried are:
Tagine (or tajine) is perhaps, the most well-known Moroccan dish. Slow-roasted inside of a conical clay cooking pot, Tagine is a mixed stew, made by carefully roasting beef, lamb, chicken, and/or veggies, etc. over coals and adding spices, nuts, and dried fruit. It’s commonly served with tasty bread!
Morocco is the largest exporter of sardines – in the world. So, it makes sense that one must try a sardine dish, while visiting or staying in Morocco. Spicy sardines are served stuffed and cooked with a spicy chermoula sauce, they then deep fry the fish for a delicious and tasty snack.
Moroccan Mint Tea
Moroccan Mint Tea is a special within its own right. There are numerous recipes and people or cafes typically add their own spin to the refreshing drink. It is without a doubt, the drink of choice in Morocco, as you can literally find it anywhere and everywhere. Made from a green tea base, Mint Tea combines lots of mint leaves and sugar. The traditional Moroccan drink, even has a procedure for it’s pouring technique!
Stand Out in Style
Morocco is a beautiful country with much to offer its visitors. There are major cities to tour, beautiful fabrics and hand goods to buy and browse, and delicious cuisine to be enjoyed. Some of the most sought after adventures in Morocco are:
Marrakech is a stunning African City in the heart of Morocco that’s colored with its own unique splendor and charm. Beyond the hustle and bustle of city life, Marrakech is known for it’s bountiful souks and shopping areas that are home to some of the finest goods in the land. While Marrakech is tourist-friendly, it helps to keep a few things in mind to enjoy your time even more so, regarding culture and customs.
It’s best to keep in mind that Morocco is a devoutly Muslim country, so it is best advised to dress very modestly and conservative (err on the side of covering up too much, rather than showing off your lovely skin for the sake style or heat comfort). For men this means wearing t-shirts instead of tank tops and for women it’s best to cover your shoulders and wear a long skirt or shorts at least to knee length.
The Moroccan heat is well known, so it’s a great idea to research your sleeping quarters to make sure your hotel or accommodations are able to offer you a relaxing and calm environment that is cooled down. The city of Marrakech can be quite overwhelming due to its heavy population (a constant mixture of visitors and residents), unwavering heat and as mentioned before- hustle and bustle of urban city life. Having an oasis you can retreat to is essential.
Now, for the fun part- visiting the souks! The souks, or markets of Marrakech hold an enchanted little place in my heart. From the stunning fabrics, to the hand-woven leather goods, its a stylish girls shopping paradisio! Be sure to bring cash with you as locating ATMs is a full job within itself that does not come with the guarantee that your foreign card will be accepted. Next, just relax into the fact that you will get completely lost in the markets. They are winding and maze-like, so go with the expectation of having a good time getting lost, finding your way, and probably getting lost again! Go with the flow on this one- it’ll save you frustration. If this is not your jam, I suggest hiring a tour guide through your hotel. Be sure not to ask for directions from strangers as they will automatically start guiding you and usually expect to be tipped/paid for their service of taking you to their friends shop. Instead, ask a shop owner or a policeman, but make sure to just get directions instead of following anyone, unless you feel like tipping.
Bargaining is way of life in most other cultures, and Morocco is no exception. As a tourist, most places will try to charge you more, so don’t be shy about negotiating prices and fares from buying goods and souvenirs to taxi fares, which will usually try to charge you double (40-50 Dirhams for taxis around any part of the medina is standard price). If the person doesn’t seem willing to budge, simply tell them you ‘ll find another shop or taxi and they will usually relent. That being said- be respectful as this is how they make money. Haggling is great, being a cheapskate is not! Politeness and a smile go a long way to a great bargain. Check out this amazing guide to finding the best deals, areas to shop, was to save your money for and bargaining techniques here.
Coco Chanel + Morocco
Back in the 1950’s the ever-amazing Coco Chanel and her team of scientists embarked upon Morocco to find the oils that she would use as the base of her now world renown perfume. All oils originate from Morocco, so it makes perfect since that this trailblazer went directly to the source to get her wants and needs met.
If you’re into perfumes and scents, I highly recommend seeking out perfumeries and getting a custom signature for yourself, because let’s be real, it never gets old to say “Oh, I had this perfume custom-made in Morocco where Chanel went”.
Camel Trekking in the Desert
If you’re going all the way to Morocco for a visit, you’d be remiss if you didn’t plan a little getaway within a getaway and venture into the Saharan Desert overnight on a camel trek, from Zagora, M’Hamid, or Merzouga. Think SATC 2 style desert adventure! You can have a well-planned out voyage in a similar style in the Saharan as well. Be sure to to hire a small crew to help you plan, navigate and setup tents for the excursion!