Exploring the food markets of Marrakech

A stroll through the souks is a great way to appreciate Morocco's culinary heritage, says Rachael Rowe

4 mins

Marrakech is a feast for the senses and a walk through the food markets is the ideal way to experience what the city has to offer.

The mechoui sellers may look formidable as they stare down from their stalls in Djemaa El Fna, the city's bustling main square, but their delicious slow-cooked lamb flavoured with cumin and salt is not to be missed.

Another delight that could easily go unnoticed by the average visitor is the clay tangia pot, resplendent with sheep skulls and containing meat to be taken to the hammams.

Wander into the maze of covered markets north of the square and you'll find live chickens. The butchers bless them before slaughter, and there is no waste as every part of the animal is used in Moroccan cooking.

Tagine pots and decorative tea glasses make excellent souvenirs, although the wares on offer will change depending on the seasons and festivals.

You'll see plenty of knives and ropes in the run up to Eid, in anticipation of the sheep each family will slaughter, as well as kebab skewers for the feasting that follows.

Snail-sellers wait patiently by their buckets of goods, while some plucky gastropods try desperately to escape before they are sold.

Women hurry through the alleys gathering ingredients for the day's meals, and they have a wonderful array of fresh produce to choose from.

Stalls selling aromatic bunches of mint compete with colourful displays of ras al hanout, a popular spice blend, and jars of preserved olives and red peppers.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are sold in abundance and there are stalls of dried apricots, figs and dates that are used in tagines and as snacks.

Some of the most decorative Moroccan cuisine can be seen in the pastry shop displays, where almond and cinnamon-flavoured cakes laced with honey tempt locals and visitors alike. Washed down with a glass of mint tea, they make a delicious end to your culinary adventure.

Rachael Rowe travelled to Marrakech with Wanderlust Journeys

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