From couscous to spice-rich tajine concoctions, the cuisine of Morocco is distinctive and delicious, but that’s not to say it’s what you might expect to eat at home. When Intrepid’s Siobhan O’Halloran leads her groups through the amazing medina of Morocco they are in for a barbecue meal to remember…
“A melancholy camel head hangs from the butcher’s wall. It stares lifelessly out at me as I wait patiently for my kilo of jamel. As the fresh meat is minced the butcher throws in handfuls of fresh coriander, pepper, salt and cumin. I look behind me and see my 12 bewildered, smiling passengers, cameras clicking as djellaba-clad men and women shove their way through the narrow alley of the medina. “Balek, balek, balek”. Stand back, an old man yells as he tries to push a cart full of fresh mint through the crowds.
The aroma hits us and mouths start to water. We jostle our way around the corner following the smell of barbecued meat. We find the small alley full of coal grills and cooks fanning the embers waiting for the next customer with their fresh meat. The meat sizzles as it cooks. A thick meaty smoke circles the alley. Tomato, onion and red pepper bought from the local market are cooked along-side our little camel meat patties. Stomachs rumble, curiosity grows as we wait for our camel burger lunch.
I look up and notice one of most beautiful minarets of the nearby mosque. A stunning turquoise and gold mosaic extending up towards the heavens beyond the roofs of the medina. Back on ground level and the ubiquitous cup of mint tea is poured. I wonder how many cups of mint tea a Moroccan drinks per day? Contentedly we let the colours, the smells and sounds of medina life swirl around us as we take the first bite of our camel burger lunch!”