Whenever I visit a new place I am always keen to see or learn about their use of herbs and spices.
Introduction to Moroccan tea…
My first Moroccan introduction to a medicinal ally was in a riad. A riad is a traditional house built around a central courtyard. The word is from the arabic ‘riyad’ which means ‘gardens’. Riads are tranquil retreats found in the midst of an effervescent medina. This is particularly true in Marrakesh! They are a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle. Many riads are now converted into small hotels and guest houses.
Should you choose to stay at a riad you are greeted with a typical Moroccan welcome, a pot of green tea with Moroccan mint. My first herbal encounter in Morocco!
The Moroccans have an incredibly sweet tooth. Something I have discovered throughout the Arab world. They choose to heavily sweeten this green tea and Moroccan mint blend. Occasionally, in more touristic areas, they will ask a Western palate before sweetening.
Moroccan Spice Souks and Medicinal Herbs
Naturally on a trip to Morocco the spice souks lured me! These souks bewitch the senses; the aromas, the colours and display, the tastes and the textures of the produce, and the sounds of the busy market.
Step inside to see rows and rows of jars. Of course the Moroccans are always keen to get that sale. They have many herbal blends on offer from aphrodisiacs to detox, slimming blends to anti-stress! It is not all blends, there are individual spices too and many other weird and wonderful things.
Almost every store in the spice souk will sell argan oil. Argan oil is popular in many cosmetics and usually, outside Morocco, very expensive. In Essaouria you frequently see shops selling only products made with argan oil. Travelling to or from Essaouria by road you see many argan trees growing. I shall write more on these trees in a future post.
All photographs taken at the spice souk in Marrakesh or the souk at the medina in Essaouira.