How not to diet in Morocco?
Have you ever used Airbnb? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. So have I, but I have never tried the ‘experience’ part.
‘Airbnb Experiences are activities designed and led by inspiring locals. They go beyond typical tours or classes by immersing guests in each host’s unique world.’
While in Morocco, I really wanted to take a cooking class, but I didn’t want to go yet again to one of the tourist trap places where everything is artificial, so I tried our luck with Airbnb Experiences. And oh, how lucky we were.
We took a 5 hour cooking class with a local family in the suburbs of Marrakech for 32€ per person. As we later found out they only take 4-5 people once and have all family involved – Brahim is mainly translating and you can talk with him about anything, grandma is the cook and instructor, Brahim’s wife is helping with cooking as well and Brahim’s younger sister and brother are also sometimes translating and keeping company, especially is he has to leave for a while. They started the cooking class in the beginning of summer and I chose this one specifically because its glowing reviews (150 reviews with 4.99 average) and heartwarming comments by other participants.
I was kind of disappointed in the morning in our riad for being late with breakfast, but in retrospect it was for the best. Brahim and his family served us such a generous Moroccan breakfast, that wasn’t even in the description. We had it all – freshly baked bread, fluffy pancakes, honey-butter mix, jams, olives and of course mint tea.
Afterwards we went to the local market to grab all the ingredients needed for the lunch (read: feast). The place was so calm compared to the souk’s craziness and we managed to buy our spices and argan oil for a barging probably compared to the tourist prices in the centre. Also, it was a good chance to see how the locals actually shop – ordering the meat at first and then coming back after the round to pick it up freshly waiting for them. It’s sad to see so many chickens at first in the cages and an hour later half of them are gone, but I also like the fact that they kill exactly as many as people order, so there’s no overproduction of meat.
Back at their home we started preparing the vegetables and everyone had their part to do. No slipping or watching others work – the grandma showed how and we followed. Btw, they’re really flexible, so if there are vegetarians/vegans or any intolerances to specific food, they adapt the menu accordingly. Also, they asked us if we had something in mind that we definitely want to prepare or should they just suggest.
What was on the menu for us?
Moroccan fresh salad and one with eggplants and herbs
Chicken tajine with conserved lemons and olives
Tajine with couscous, tons of vegetables and chicken
Sardines with vegetables in the (communal) oven
They can bring their dishes to the communal oven for couple of dirhams. Also, it’s good if the dish takes long time to prepare to use less energy and not heat your kitchen so much during summer time. The place had probably 40-50 degrees inside and smelled like freshly baked bread.
For dessert we had a really good fruit salad with avocado. Although I’m not usually the biggest fan of it, they did an amazing orange dressing to it and it tasted amazing. Also, Briham’s wife made us henna tattoos while we enjoyed some tea and local sweets. With all this together, we spend in the end 7 hours there and it went past so fast. We literally rolled out, because I don’t even remember when it was last time I was so full. They didn’t really believe in our “I’m full” and served more and more and more.
So if you happen to be in Marrakech and want to have the best food experience and actually learn how to cook Moroccan style, I suggest to book a visit with Brahim and his family. It is just so authentic experience and I can’t stress enough you how kind and welcoming this family is.