A Month in Marrakech

andy Harris Moroccan cookery book Marrakesh

We suspect that Andy Harris probably spent a little longer than a month researching and eating his way around Marrakech in order to produce this fabulous cookbook. Published by Australian publishers Hardie Grant, this book is for sale worldwide via Amazon and features all the different tastes and culinary diversity that Marrakech has to offer.

The excellent food photography by David Loftus makes the recipes incredibly appealing. We especially like the way that the book is laid out – starting with breakfast through to desserts. Also, many of the recipes featured include ingredients that you are likely to have at home, as well as some harder-to-find together items which can be found nowadays in most big city supermarkets and specialist shops. Recipes include things you’d expect like stuffed baby vegetables, harissa, mint tea and green bean salad, and things you might not, like Figs with Almond Milk Ice Cream and Orange Flower Donuts. Delicious!

You can order the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk


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Moroccan film footage on britishpathé.com

pathe old films Marrakesh

After stumbling upon the British Pathé website we were amazed by some of the old footage that can be found catalogued within the site. A short search – either by entering ‘Marrakech’, ‘Marrakesh’ or ‘Morocco’ – can bring up all sorts of fascinating footage from many years ago.

We found a market scene in the Medina from 1974 and various shots of the Sultan inspecting troops of Moroccan army where crowds of dignitaries watch, including some European army officers, from 1937.

In Terry Ashwood’s film ‘Marrakech – Desert Paradise’ from 1948, we watched a unique snapshot of Marrakech with a voice-over from a different time. Admittedly, the commentary seems a little dated but it’s intriguing to watch old scenes of the Atlas Mountains, hotel grounds, waiters, markets and orange trees. There’s a spice seller with his spices laid out in piles on a newspaper and money changing hands with stall owners. You can watch this clip here: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/marrakech-desert-paradise-1/query/Marrakech

This collected footage shows just how Morocco has changed over the decades and how in some ways, things have stayed the same (the craftsmanship, the trading, storytellers and so on).


Héritage Berbère Parfumerie Marrakesh

Marrakech perfumes heritage berbere

Travellers often wax lyrical about the myriad of wonderful and fragrant smells that drift across Marrakech at different times of the year. The gardens, rich with jasmine and orange blossom that bloom in the sun send forth their scents while oil burners in riads and shops warm the heady scents of bergamot and rose.

It is a lot to take in and many travellers wish to bottle the scents up and carry them home. A wonderful reminder of warmer climes during chilly winters back home… One of the best places to buy authentic Moroccan perfumes is Berber Heritage Boutique located just by Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle.

There are many scents to choose from, for women and men. We like the Twilight Passion and Audacity Berber Fuge for ladies and the Touareg Secret Oud, Nommatitude or Berber Earth for men. On entering the shop the gentle aromas of honey, almonds, mandarin waft around, all inspired by the souks of Marrakech. The beautifully packaged perfumes make for a special souvenir or gift for loved-ones back home, they also offer a mail-order service too.

Villa Dar Sabah, Av. Yacoub El Mansour. www.heritageberbere.com



David Bloch Gallery Marrakech

McMurry photographer exhibition Marrakech

There are heaps of good galleries to visit in Marrakech. In fact, visitors could come with the aim of visiting only art spaces and museums in Marrakech – perhaps with a little eating and shopping squeezed in – and they would not leave disappointed.

One gallery that really stands out is David Bloch. There are two great shows coming up this winter that we’re keen to tell you about and the first is Larbi Cherkaoui who will present his recent work from November 8 to December 3, 2013.

A young Moroccan artist (born in 1972), he is a particularly talented and creative calligrapher. Arabic letters are designed to become abstract and lyrical through the warm colours and the pigments used. Words used to describe his work include ‘symbolic’, ‘heritage’ and ‘cultural.’ This will be a must-see show and we’re looking forward to it.

When this exhibition finishes, the gallery will present the work of world-famous photographer Steve McCurry (5th December-4th January). Born in Pennsylvania, McCurry made many trips to India and for the next 30 years he became one of the world’s best known contemporary photographers.

McCurry Afghani girl

He has won the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and a record four first prize World Press Photo awards. Don’t miss the chance to see some of his earliest works here in Marrakech!



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Hamid Khantour artist in Marrakech

Hamid Khantour foundouk Marrakech artist

We discovered some time ago that often you don’t have to go very far at all to discover great art, in fact, sometimes it is right on your doorstep, or next door, especially in Marrakech.

So, with this in mind we were delighted recently to discover that one of our guests had stumbled upon the work of Hamid Khantour, right by the well-known bar and restaurant Café Arabe. Khantour has a workshop (located at 1954 rue el Mouassine) housed in a traditional foundouk. ‘Foundouk’ means ‘hotel’ in Arabic, but specifically these are old hotels used by travelling merchants. Many were built large enough to hold animals – hence some of enormous doors in the medina. ‘Caravanserai’ is another word for this type of place and they can be found all along the Silk Road, especially in Central Asia in the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara. These days the foundouks are used to house craftsmen and artists.

Khantour was born in Marrakech and his work often depicts busy market scenes, or crowds of people, which from a distance look like patterns. He uses thick and colourful brush-strokes and his work is distinctly Moroccan. You can view Khantour’s work on his FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/hamid.khantour or you can email him at babhamid@hotmail.fr



Zid Zid Kids

Zid Zid kids Marrakech handmade

We are all aglow over these colourful, well-designed and handmade children’s toys. Zid Zid Kids began in Marrakech in the spring of 2003 where the directors were inspired by how children play. Just recently the business shifted to Tangiers, but in between that time Zid Zid Kids have won awards in France at Maison & Objet and in Amsterdam at Kleine Fabriek and in Morocco. So, what makes them so special? Well the products are utterly unique and children love them. From the airplane backpacks to the ‘petit poofs’ and clothes, all are special and inspire creativity with their original flair.

Every product is designed and produced in Tangier by Moroccan female and male artisans using a combination of old traditions combined with modern day techniques. Fair trade is also at the heart of what they do and Zid Zid Kids is recognized as a ‘Leading Artisan’ in the Kingdom of Morocco for their quality and workplace standards by the American Chamber of Commerce in Morocco.

Recycled and reclaimed fabrics are used throughout, tapping into the abundance of leftover fabrics from local manufacturers, also the leather is cured by hand and chemicals are never used.

You can shop on-line, or find out more here: