Book a unique Moroccan cooking holiday, where you will experience mystical and exotic Marrakech before traveling through argan countryside to the authentic coastal town of Essaouira. With the smell of spice in the air, you will discover the fusion of influences from Africa, Arabia, and Spain, which create the distinctive cuisine for which Morocco is gaining worldwide respect. This will certainly be an experience to remember.
During this culinary holiday, you will be staying in luxury, boutique hotels. In Marrakech, you will be situated in a high-end riad inside the atmospheric medina, and in Essaouira, there is the option to stay in an elegant medina riad or just outside town in a beldi chic retreat.
You will be met at the Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK) and transferred to your accommodation, which is a five-star restored riad with pool, situated in the ancient medina. Depending on your time of arrival, you may be able to visit the Majorelle Gardens. These striking botanical gardens, previously owned by Yves St Laurent, are set over 12 acres and contain the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech.
Today you can really explore the world-famous city of Marrakech, the second oldest imperial city, known as the Southern Pearl of Morocco, which has been an important stop for traders and travelers alike for centuries.
Your tour will include the Bahia Palace and the Saadian tombs. You will also visit the iconic Koutoubia Mosque, whose minaret dominates the center of Marrakech, before continuing on to the Djemaa el Fna, which is one of the main cultural spaces in Marrakech and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here, you will have the chance to relax at one of the many cafés surrounding the square while you absorb the sights and sounds of this tantalizing city. Then, after lunch, experience the hustle and bustle of the aromatic souks of the Medina, as you wind your way through the labyrinth of narrow alleyways and mysterious bazaars selling hand-made rugs, lanterns, and spices.
The guided tour finishes in the famous square, which transforms as night falls into a huge open-air restaurant, crammed with stalls lit by gas lanterns, and where the air is filled with wonderful smells and plumes of cooking smoke spiraling up into the night.
The fusion of influences from Africa, Arabia, and Spain create the distinctive cuisine for which Morocco is gaining worldwide respect. Spices, fruits, and nuts feature extensively and the ingredients are fresh, natural, home grown, and delicately balanced.
Today, you will take part in a culinary class with a DADA, traditional Moroccan cook. Small groups with a maximum of ten participants will work alongside a translator who speaks Arabic, English, and French, using easy to use modern equipment found in everyday kitchens.
You will see how Moroccan bread is made and experience a traditional bread oven, as well as learn to prepare a two-course meal. At the end of the workshop, you will dine on the meal you have prepared.
Today, you will be collected from your riad and drive for two hours and 30 minutes through lush valleys filled with orange groves and ancient olive trees until you arrive to Essaouira.
On the way, you will stop at an argan oil cooperative where you can watch the entire process and have the opportunity to buy some high-grade pure argan oil products. If you are lucky, you will also see the amazing spectacle of goats climbing the argan trees to reach the fruits.
When you arrive in Essaouira, you will join a short tour in order to see landmarks and help you get your bearings before taking you to your accommodation. You can elect to stay in a Medina riad with spa and hammam or at a beldi chic retreat with pool, set in the countryside, 20 minutes outside of town. Your driver will be available for you throughout your time here in order to provide transport whenever you require it.
Enjoy today at leisure. Perfect for pottering, the souks are hassle free in comparison to Marrakech and are renowned for their rich and varied handicrafts. There are zocos (markets) all over the city, filled with textiles, jewelry, ceramics, musical instruments, and handmade wooden items. Art galleries and small boutique shops are nestled between an abundance of cafés where you can chat with the locals while sipping mint tea and chilling out.
Visit Si Said’s spice shop set in the spice market behind the fish market to purchase high-quality spices including locally produced saffron and royal tea blends. If you have room in your luggage, perhaps buy a tagine to bring home and try out your new skills. It is also possible to choose your fresh fish from the fish market and have it grilled in front of you to eat at one of the open-air shared tables or nearby restaurants.
Today you will be collected from your accommodation and transferred back to Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK), with plenty of time for your connection.
This holiday will take place in Marrakech and Essaouira, Morocco. Morocco’s cities are quite simply stunning and much of the country’s intriguing culture can be seen here. They all have an ancient walled Arabic area called a medina as well as a new town or ville nouvelle. These amazing walled cities of Morocco hold a magical fascination and are crammed full of ancient architecture and culture.
Morocco also has over a thousand miles of pristine coastline along both the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. These towns offer welcome relief from the heat of the cities and have an all year round pleasant climate though it can be windy in some places. Miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches are still unspoiled and undiscovered and it is very easy to turn back time here.
Famous throughout the world for its souks, square, and red buildings, Marrakesh nestles at the base of the spectacular Atlas Mountains. This mystical city pulsates with life and manages to be bohemian, cultured, traditional, magical, and romantic.
Exotic wares, snake charmers, and musicians line the streets as you are tantalized by the most vibrant array of colors and scents to be found anywhere. Escape the grey skies of home for this rose tinted city where the beauty is in the detail. Choose from a number of beautiful gardens to escape the hustle and bustle for a while.
A year round destination and great starting point for a number of day trips or longer excursions, Marrakech has so much to offer. Its traditional, modern mix is captivating and entertaining. Intoxicating and chaotic, it is a people watcher's paradise.
An Authentic seaside town, UNESCO listed Essaouira (known as Swira) sits on Morocco’s west coast; a couple of hours from Marrakech. It is an alluring, unspoiled destination with a tangible North African feel.
With an all year round, warm, sunny climate cooled by the Atlantic breezes, Essaouira is a welcome relief from the searing heat of Marrakech in the summer months. A melting pot of locals and foreigners who came and stayed, have created a laid back atmosphere and intriguing resort. Windsurfers love Swira’s shallow, clean waters and it is the Atlantic Trade winds that have ensured the large scale operators stay out and the character stays in.
There are times of the year when the ten kilometers of sandy beach are for looking at but not sitting on and that’s when you will appreciate that this is a working town with plenty to see. The fishing harbor is thriving, and with the smell of citrus and spice in the air, you can have their fresh daily catch grilled for you on hot coals at the open air stands.
The confusing maze of a medina, where the pretty, narrow lanes are crammed with houses adorned with cobalt blue shutters and doorways, is just as important to locals as to tourists and the woodworkers are still crafting their thuya wood as though time has stood still.
Perfect for pottering, the souks are hassle free in comparison to Marrakech. Renowned for its rich and varied handicrafts, there are zocos (markets) all over the city filled with textiles, jewelry, ceramics, musical instruments, and handmade wooden items.
Art galleries, bars, and small boutique shops are nestled between an abundance of cafés, perfect for people watching and chatting with the locals while sipping mint tea and chilling out. Having been established in the 18th century as Morocco’s principal port, exporting goods brought from the caravan route from Timbuktu through desert and mountain, Moroccan Jews were encouraged to settle here in order to handle the European trade, with many Jewish buildings remaining in the mellah today.
The fusion of influences from Africa, Arabia, and Europe create the distinctive Moroccan cuisine. Spices and fruits feature extensively and the ingredients are fresh, natural, home-grown, and delicately balanced.
Meal time is a very important part of home life and usually begins with olives and bread followed by the classic tagine, a slow-cooked stew made in an earthenware dish known by the same name. This is placed in the center of the table for everyone to share and is often accompanied by couscous, considered a gift from Allah, or a colorful Moroccan salad.
Flat breads are served with every meal and replace cutlery as you literally scoop your food up in the bread. The ubiquitous green tea with mint, referred to as Berber Whiskey, is a ceremony in its own right and you will be welcomed almost everywhere you go with this wonderful Moroccan custom.
Please book your flight to arrive at Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK). Transfer from and to the airport is included. So Morocco will pick you up from the airport.
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