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Morocco Food Explorer

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12 Days
Casablanca
Marrakech
Tour Details

All the flavours of Morocco are on display on this satisfying authentic food adventure

The tagine is the perfect symbol of Morocco – varied in flavour, infinite in possibilities. Discover an intoxicating combination of Arabic, Berber, and European influences on this authentic food adventure. From a market breakfast in classic Casablanca, climb into the hills of the stunning Riff Mountains to gorge on goat’s cheese in Chefchaouen, picnic in the shadow of the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, taste your way through the medieval laneways of Fes and Marrakech and dine on a Berber specialty in the Sahara desert. From street food and small-batch producers to home-cooked dinners and hands-on cooking classes, this is memorable Morocco on a plate.

Start

Casablanca, Morocco

Finish

Marrakech, Morocco

Price Includes

  • Meals : 11 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Transport : Private vehicle
  • Accommodation : Riad (7 nights), Desert Camp (1 night), Hotel (1 nights), Gite (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Casablanca - Welcome Dinner Casablanca - Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque Chefchaouen - Guided Walking Tour Chefchaouen - Goat Cheese Tasting Chefchaouen - Home-cooked Dinner Volubilis - Roman Picnic Fes - Souk Tasting Trail Middle Atlas - Couscous Demonstration and Lunch Marrakech - Medina Food Tour High Atlas - Hands on Cooking Class
Why you'll love this trip
      • This trip aims to give you an exciting, diverse and well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. In many countries, dietary restrictions are not common or well understood. If you have dietary requirements, please advise your agent at time of booking to receive information on how this may impact on your ability to take part in included activities and meals. Come with an open mind and open mouth, and you won’t be disappointed.

      • As this trip covers quite a lot of ground there are some long drives, particularly from Casablanca to Chefchaouen on Day 2, and the M’Goun Valley to Morocco on Day 10. These are excellent opportunities to get to know your fellow travellers better, catch up on some reading, or simply appreciate the scenery.

      • On Day 9 you’ll visit M’Goun Valley. This remote area of Morocco is an amazing place to discover on foot, but to do so you’ll need a moderate level of fitness and have the relevant footwear and clothing with you. Don’t worry if trekking isn’t really your thing, there are plenty of other activities to do in the valley.

      • The weather in Morocco can be extreme. Summer temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, especially for those who aren’t accustomed to the heat, so please consider carefully what time of year you travel. If you do travel in the warmer months, pack layers to cover you from the sun, bring the necessary sun protection and drink plenty of water.

      • In 2019, Ramadan will take place from 15 May to 4 June. This is the holiest month of the year for Muslims around the world. While this can be an interesting time to experience Morocco, it is also likely to affect your travels. For instance, regular services may not be available or open during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars. Please consider your travel arrangements carefully.

      • Although you shouldn’t expect any aggressive selling techniques in Morocco, please be aware that you may be approached by shop owners and street vendors offering their goods to you on regular occasions.

Is this trip right for you?
    • One of the highlights of this trip is wandering around the Fes medina on Day 4. You will be on your feet for at least 5–6 hours, but the sights, smells and sounds make are well worth any weariness at the end of the day.

    • The camel ride on Day 7 is a romantic way to see the Sahara, but if you’d prefer, it’s possible to walk alongside the caravan on the sand for about an hour.

    • The remote areas of M’Goun Valley and Todra Gorge that this tour visits on Day 9 are best discovered on foot, which is why the itinerary includes a trek. You’ll need a moderate level of fitness and appropriate footwear and clothing to enjoy it. If trekking isn’t really your thing, you can speak with your leader about activities on offer in the valley.

    • The weather in Morocco can be extreme. Summer temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, especially for those who aren’t accustomed to the heat, so please consider carefully what time of year you travel.

    • In 2020, Ramadan will take place from 23 April to 22 May. Travelling in Morocco during this holy month can be a rewarding cultural experience. However, some regular services may not be available during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars, and occasionally travel can be disrupted by events. Your local leader will adjust the itinerary accordingly, but please consider your travel arrangements carefully before booking travel for this period.

    • Travelling with Peregrine is all about embracing local customs, so please be aware that as Morocco has a tipping culture and travellers are expected to tip small amounts for most services. Your trip leader and the Money Matters section of the Essential Trip Information will provide you with suggestions as to what amounts are appropriate.

    • Although you shouldn’t expect any aggressive selling techniques in Morocco you may be approached by shop owners and street vendors offering their goods to you on regular occasions.

    • We’ve sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Peregrine style of travel, but keep in mind the service and accommodation in Morocco may differ to western standards.

Itinerary

Day 1Casablanca

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Aromatic tajines, red-earthed landscapes and limitless generosity define this friendly, vibrant and flavourful Berber-Arab-Spanish-Portuguese-French melting pot. Modelled after Marseille in France, the bustling port city of Casablanca has a curious architectural style – famous for its art deco French-colonial buildings, an old medina, and the modern-day masterpiece of the Hassan II Mosque. On arrival at Casablanca Airport, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel. You can arrive at any time during the day, as there are no activities planned until an important meeting with your leader at 6pm. Please ask at hotel reception where this meeting will take place. Your gourmet adventure starts after this meeting with an included dinner.

Day 2Chefchaouen

After breakfast take a turn around the characterful Central Market, where fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetable sellers call out their prices and local women bargain for their daily ingredients. Here you’ll discover an array of produce that makes up the building blocks of Moroccan cuisine – the grains, herbs and, of course, the spices. Look out for dishes like msmen (layered, grilled bread), khlea (a type of Moroccan preserved meat), bessara soup, or a variety of other options found amongst the stalls. Continue on to the sight that dominates the city – the vast Hassan II Mosque. Opened in 1993, and second only in size to the great mosque at Mecca, the huge building is part on land and part on sea, and in one area water can be seen through a glass floor. Leave Casablanca and travel north. Stop at the seaside city of Kenitra for lunch, then stretch your legs in the delightful fishing village of Asilah (approximately 3.5 hours). Enclosed by Portuguese fortifications, white-and-blue washed houses give the town a very Mediterranean feel. Continue on to Chefchaouen, arriving by early evening (approximately 2.5 hours).

Day 3Chefchaouen

Set against a wide valley and nestled between two peaks in the stunning Rif Mountains, the isolated town of Chefchaouen is a surprising delight. Much of Chefchaouen was recreated by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquistia, so its striking blue and whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs and artistic doorways give it the feel of the Spanish hills. Spend your morning exploring the sights, sounds, and smells of the medina, the shops in the square selling woven goods and small sweets, and, most importantly, enjoy a taste of the town’s famous goat’s cheese. Herds of goats wander the sparse hillsides that surround Chefchaouen, and their cheese is sold in great fresh rounds in the street markets. The afternoon is free to relax or explore more of the town. Within the plaza is the walled fortress of the Kasbah – you can wander through the tranquil gardens inside, visit the ethnographic museum, and soak in wonderful views from the rooftop. Alternatively, you might prefer to get out of town and enjoy a short hike in the surrounding hills. This evening you’ll get a real insight into Moroccan food with a home-cooked dinner prepared with seasonal ingredients – bursting with flavour and made with love.

Day 4Fes

Descend from the hills and travel south through the centre of the peninsula towards the sacred pilgrimage town of Moulay Idriss (approximately 3 hours). From here it’s a short journey out to the World Heritage site of Volubilis. The remains of this Roman city make an undeniably impressive sight as they come into view on the edge of a long, high plateau. Take a tour around the arches, basilicas, and superb mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus, many of which remain intact. The reward for walking in the sun lies in a memorable lunch of traditional Roman recipes in the shadow of the ancient ruins. Recline on Moroccan Kilims and dine on locally-sourced ingredients, much like the Romans did a thousand years ago. Once forbidden to non-Muslims, your next stop at ancient Moulay Idriss offers a great insight into traditional Moroccan life. Here the faithful gather to pay homage at the tomb of Moulay Idriss I – the great-grandson of Mohammed and the man who brought Islam to Morocco. Perhaps sampling the famous nougat candy sold at street-side stalls and stop at an olive press and see how this golden unctuous liquid is extracted from the olives which grow in abundance around this region. Continue on to Fes, arriving by evening (approximately 1.5 hours), the spiritual heart of Morocco. Perhaps seek out some Fassi specialties for dinner, or enjoy a rooftop drink at your riad. Watching the sun set over the medina while a dozen prayer calls vie for attention is an experience you’ll likely remember.

Day 5Fes

The old city of Fes el Bali is home to perhaps the greatest of all medinas. Descending into its labyrinthine alleyways is like stepping back to the Middle Ages. Donkeys wander the streets and the smell of spices fills the air. With a local guide, navigate narrow streets alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries, mosques and colourful local characters. Explore the different speciality sections of the Medina that are known for specific types of food – from natural butters and fats, to pastries, to crepes and soups to dried and fresh produce. Taste your way through dried meats, milawi, harsha, briwats, spicy sardines, spicy potato cakes, soups and olives. Move on to the honey souk, where you’ll discover the importance of this liquid gold to Moroccan cooking. Get a closer insight into the culinary traditions of the city by visiting a 400-year-old communal oven and bakery. In the late afternoon, complete the gourmet day with a cooking demonstration, learning to create one of the city’s signature dishes – pastilla (or b’stilla) – a salty and sweet pastry parcel.

Day 6Midelt

Today, leave the intensity of the city behind for the simplicity of the High Atlas Mountains. Drive south, inland through a variety of spectacular scenery – fertile valleys, cedar and pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes – to the small town of Midelt (approximately 3.5 hours). Midelt is a market town nestled in the high plains surrounding the Moulouya River, between the Middle and High Atlas mountain ranges. Join some local Berber women for an insight into the preparation of hand-rolled couscous. Find out how much more delicious it tastes after all that effort. After lunch, stretch your legs for a few hours on an easy hike in the nearby hills. Be prepared for some astonishing views of the Atlas Mountains, with snowy peaks almost touching the sky. Wander through plantations of apple trees on the way back to your accommodation for a relaxing evening.

Day 7Merzouga

This morning there’s time to haggle in the markets before driving through shifting scenery on the journey to Merzouga. With a backdrop of the orange-coloured Erg Chebbi sand dunes, this charming Saharan village feels wonderfully isolated, like the modern world has left it behind. Erg Chebbi’s dunes are the most stunning in the country, towering up to 150 metres in height. They’re easily an essential part of any visit to Morocco. Located at the end of a sealed road and just 20 kilometres from the Algerian border – this truly feels like frontier country. You will leave your gear at a simple auberge and then ride camels into the edge of the Sahara Desert, enjoying a spectacular sunset along the way. The dunes are stunning, especially as the evening light plays across them and sets off the colours. Tonight you will camp out in traditional style, where you will be be treated to a demonstration of medfouna (also called Berber pizza). Stay late after the dinner, enjoying lively music, drumming, Bedouin stories and dancing under the stars.

Day 8M'Goun

Continue your journey inland for tonight’s destination, M’goun (approximately 1 hour). Your accommodation for the next two nights is at a charming family-run guest-house in an area known as the Valley of Roses. In the spring-time, this region is covered in flowers and forms a centre of Moroccan rose-water production. Dinner this evening will be a feast of mechoui – slow-cooked lamb on the spit – lovingly prepared by our hosts.

Day 9M'Goun

While the morning holds the option of exploring the nearby village souk of Kelaat M’gouna or witnessing Moroccan bread-making techniques in action, today’s adventure will give you until sunset to explore the beauty of this largely untouched Moroccan backcountry. Accompanied by a local guide, pass through Berber villages, meeting local people along the way. Learn tea-making secrets with a Berber family. You’ll take a trail that undulates slightly here and there, but isn’t too challenging if you have a basic level of fitness – plus a picnic in theses beautiful surrounds is definitely worth the walk.

Day 10Marrakech

Travel to the Moroccan city of Marrakech (approximately 6 hours), an exotic place where European modernity has meshed with ancient traditions. On the way, stop for lunch at the impressive Ait Benhaddouu. Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco’s most iconic sites. Its grant kasbah is one of the most beautiful in Morocco and the fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture. If you think you recognise the place, you probably do, as the town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Arrive in Marrakech by late afternoon. On arrival, join a passionate local foodie for a true insider’s guide to the medina and a tasting tour of the incredible Djemma el Fna. Smell and see the famous spice mix, ras el hanout, prepared fresh to order; drop past a traditional wood-fired bakery and watch the smoking stalls of the Djemma el Fna night market come to life. This is one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. Snake-charmers, henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar of stalls laden with Moroccan delicacies – it’s sure to be a memorable start to your time in this city.

Day 11Marrakech

This morning, rise early for a hands-on cooking class with a celebrated local chef. You will explore his organic kitchen garden surrounded by beautiful olive groves and orchards set in a traditional Berber douar. Harvest ingredients fresh from the garden and let the chef teach you the art of seasoning with aromatic Moroccan herbs. Learn to cook tagines and salads, and then savour your creations over a delicious lunch. Return to the city for a guided tour of some of the famed sites of Marrakech, incuding the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, as well as the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its 12th-century minaret, which was the famous prototype for the Giralda tower in Seville. For your final evening, choose to join your fellow travellers for a final celebratory meal. There are a plethora of options, a favourite restaurant of ours being Al Fassiah, renowned for outstanding renditions of traditional dishes. Others may be drawn back to Djemaa el Fna for a bowl of snails or a slow-cooked tanjia.

Day 12Marrakech

Your gourmet expedition across Morocco comes to an end this morning. If you are extending your stay, perhaps stroll through the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent), or return to the medina, where every corner brings a new flash of colour, an enticing new smell, or a souvenir to haggle over. The Saadian tombs are another recently uncovered gem of the Medina. Be sure to take a break from the bustle to sip on tea or eat a tajine, filled with the quintessential flavours of Morocco.

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