The Magic of Morocco
We've added some paint and pizzazz to the walls of the LIV Bulk area, spicing up the area with a much needed Moroccan twist.
Although not all of our herbs and spices are native to the country, the famous spice stalls in the Moroccan markets, or 'souks', inspired us to add a touch of Moroccan magic to our store.
Using reclaimed wallpaper, we added a new feature wall to LIV, with some cool accessories that accentuate the beauty of the culture. Our new look inspired us to look deeper into the magic of these Moroccan Souks and what you can expect to find when visiting them.
The Moroccan Charm
Over the past several years, Morocco has become a popular tourist destination for those who are looking for a more cultural escape from the usual holiday hot spots.
In particular, it's the city of Marrakech that attracts the most attention. Although often confused as Morocco's capital, Marrakech is the country's fourth largest city. It's popularity may be down to the fact it has both French and Spanish influence, attracting many tourists from the respective countries to the city.
It is in the heart of the city where you can find UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular squares in Africa, the Jemaa el-Fnaa. Like many major cities and economic hotspots, the Jemaa el-Fnaa has experienced a tumultuous history; from thriving periods of trade to reigns of fear with public executions taking place in the square.
It is, however, with this diverse history that spans thousands of years, that makes this a fantastic and culturally-rich area, with much to offer for the inquisitive tourist. The influx of foreign visitors has resulted in a interesting melange of old Moroccan culture, think street dentists, snake charmers and spice stalls; mixed with vendors that offer much to the modern tourist's delight.
A Moroccan Souk can be overwhelming for the foreign tourist, with mazes of tiny corridors offering everything from clothing, handbags and jewellery to carpets, lanterns and textiles. With the beautiful colours of gifts and crafts to the scents of the herbs and spices for sale, it really is an experience for the senses.
For the average Brit, haggling may be an uncomfortable experience; however, for the native Moroccans, it is a key part of their shopping experience. Price tags are few and far in-between, with vendors ready to sell you their goods as soon as you are interested in the price. These vendors have perfected their sales technique, vocal and persuasive, it's a completely different experience to shopping in modern shopping centres.
One of the must-see destinations within the markets are the spice stalls, especially for the ultimate foodie-lovers. In many Western countries, spices are sold in jars or packets, with their pungent scents hidden away. However, in the cultural souks, you will find the spices in their natural state. Piled high into a pyramid-like shape, you can see an array of vibrant and bold colours of spices, exposed to the African elements. A core part of Moroccan and African cuisine, the offering of spices are vast, from the Paprikas and Piri Piri to the Cinnamons and Cumins.
Spices add another dimension to dishes in a way that it is impossible to achieve without their collaboration. African dishes are known for these aromatic flavourings, often spicy foods that may overwhelm the muted Westernised palette. However you may enjoy your food, it is always an important part of a holiday to experience a traditional dish from their cuisine. Here are some culinary inspirations to inspire some Moroccan magic in the kitchen:
Couscous is a core part of the African cuisine, appearing in many dishes throughout it's Northern countries. As a healthier alternative to rice, couscous can be paired with many dishes including curries, stews and meats.
In North Africa, they often add some vegetables to create a jewelled couscous, not only delicious and an extra boost of health but it jazzes up the otherwise bland colouring of the dish.
The Traditional Tajine
The tajine is native to North Africa, both the dish and the pottery in which it is served. Traditionally, the tajine is cooked over hot charcoal, giving it a specific flavouring through the rising smoke.
The unique shape of the tajine means that a minimal amount of water has to be used, especially useful for those living deeper into the desert.
Although many types of dishes can be created within the tajine, it is common for Moroccans to use lamb, vegetables and potatoes. Many choose to enhance the dishes with herbs, spices and fruits.
Although Morocco has influence from both the European, Asian and African continents, the country's official religion is Sunni Islam. It's like to the middle eastern world this is shown through its various culinary practices and offerings.
During the holy month of Ramadan, local Moroccans enjoy baking Halwa Chebakia, a type of cookie that uses dough, sesame seeds and warm honey to create a flower-shaped dessert.
Enhanced with orange flower water, or rose water, this is a fragrant dessert that is most popularly used for special occasions.
Moroccan Mint Tea
After all the aromas and flavours of the Moroccan cuisine, cleanse your palette with a sip of refreshing fragrant tea.
Mint tea is a popular drink of choice over in Morocco, often created with green tea before adding lashings of fresh spearmint and some sugar into the cup. A refreshing way to cool down in the deep African sun.