3 mins

Learn to cook like a local in Marrakech

Spice things up in a Moroccan cookery class, writes Mark Kensett

Cook up a storm in Marrakech (Adam De-Ste-Croix)

For foodies, the ultimate experience to take away from Marrakech has to be a cookery course.

The enthusiastic beginner, as well as those more experienced in the kitchen, are well-catered for with a variety of courses available, ranging from half-day lessons to a culinary week.

Quality is key when it comes to the ingredients used in Moroccan cooking, and some courses start with a guided trip to the souks, not only to gather the all-important spices and fresh produce, but also to learn what to look for.

Spend some time with Gemma Van De Burgt from Souk Cuisine and you soon realise that there's more to shopping than meets the eye.

Dutch-born Gemma moved to Marrakech in 2005 and has since developed a personal relationship with her suppliers, picking up plenty of handy hints along the way.

As you weave your way through the market, Gemma talks you through the extensive range of spices on offer, along with tips on what to use them for and how to spot the genuine article. You'll soon learn how to avoid being duped by fake saffron-sellers, and that the best preserved lemons are not necessarily the prettiest.

Once you're in the open-air kitchen in the courtyard of the traditional riad, local women help you prepare and cook mouth-watering dishes such as tagines and seffa, a mound of steamed couscous with saffron meat hidden inside.

Moroccan dishes are designed for sharing and arguably the most rewarding part of the day is when you all get together to sample the fruits of your labour.

Mark Kensett travelled to Marrakech with Wanderlust Journeys

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