Moroccan cuisine is rich and diverse, due to different cultural influences that have occurred over many centuries. The result is an impressive blend of African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food from native Berber, Arab, Jewish, Spanish, French and to a lesser extent, sub-Saharan African influences. Moroccan food is popular due to its exotic and aromatic spices and ingredients. The creative blending of flavours result in combinations that are unique and delicious.
Common spices used in Moroccan food are paprika, cumin, black pepper, white pepper, saffron, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, coriander, turmeric, nutmeg, star anise and mustard seed.
Popular Moroccan dishes to try at restaurants are tajine, couscous, pastilla (bastilla), harira, zaalouk, makouda and Moroccan Paella. Essaouira is a popular destination for fresh fish caught from the city’s blue fishing boats.
There are modern and stylish fine-dining restaurants as well as humble, traditional restaurants that serve delicious and authentic Moroccan cuisine.
The famous Moroccan mint tea is also known as ‘Moroccan whisky’ and is an essential part of socialising. Rich pastries and sweets are also a popular treat and are served with mint tea. Fresh fruit juices and smoothies are very popular with locals, and we recommend that you try a refreshing orange juice or a delicious avocado smoothie.
The Phoenicians were the first to introduce wine-making in Morocco, and the Romans exported wine to Rome. In the late 19th century, the French revived the wine-making traditions. Morocco produces red, rosé, white and also grey wines. Moroccan Jews created ‘eau de vie’ (water of life) which is also known as mahia. It is a fig brandy that includes a tiny amount of aniseed. Alcohol can be bought from hotels, restaurants and supermarkets in big cities. The majority of Moroccans do not drink alcohol due to religious reasons and discreet indoor drinking should be practised.