Best known for being one of the finest cafes in Fez, Cafe Clock is about to open a branch in Marrakech (address: 224 Derb Chtouka).
As well as serving delicious coffee and lip-smacking food there will be the eventful live music and cross-cultural events that the café in Fez has long been respected for.
One of the most exciting events will happen next month, on February 27th at 5:00pm, when a story telling group will perform their debut show at the cafe.
The three apprentice storytellers have been in training with a master storyteller, 73 year-old Ahmed. Weaving in the history of storytelling with Moroccan fables and morals, Sara, Oussama and Malika hope to present modern Moroccan storytelling to new audiences, in Arabic and English.
Also we heard that Café Clock is partnering with the Biennale and Richard Hamilton, author of The Last Storytellers. Keep up to date here: www.cafeclock.com
We don’t like to name-drop, but if you’ve been in Marrakech over the past few weeks you may just have been wandering the same souks as some Hollywood A-listers.
Not so rare in Marrakech – long known as a ‘jet-setting destination – but there is something exciting about the city being used (again) as a film location.
Since the end of last year various Hollywood stars have been popping up over Morocco for the filming of Queen of the Desert – a movie made at the cost of a cool $36 million.
Directed by Werner Herzog, the film is a biographical drama film written and based on the life of English traveller, writer and political officer Gertrude Bell. The film stars Nicole Kidman, James Franco and Robert Pattinson.
Most recently, heart-throb Pattinson has been spotted at the Brazilian theme restaurant Churrascaria Marius Marrakech. Cameras at the ready….
Find out more here: Follow @QueenDesertFilm on Twitter.
Moroccan soul food is best sampled on the street, or in someone’s home. As a tourist it can be hard to secure an invite while on vacation, so after you’ve tried the delicious homecooked food at our riad, wander the makeshift food stalls around Djmaa el-Fna and surrounding streets. It is a quintessential Marrakchi experience.
Each night, the numbered stalls, topped with handwritten signs, are eagerly set up by Moroccan men in chefs’ whites. Bubbling cauldrons and hot pans contain everything from bean soups to skewered meats and often these delicious dishes will cost less than a sandwich back home.
With culinary traditions that draw on Morocco’s mix of Berber, Arab and European cultures, there are dozens of tasty dishes to try.
Stand number 6 is where Ahmed pitches up to ladle steaming bowls of escargot. Over at number 32, Hassan serves miniature beef sausages with red tomato chutney on the side. Other stands sell slow-cooked lamb, mini-chicken kebabs, aubergine dipped in sweet smoked paprika and of course tagines.
As with street eats anywhere in the world, there are a few key things to remember – choose busy stalls, eat where the locals eat (literally follow the crowd), dine where food is cooked fresh in front of you and be wary of fruit that may be regularly washed in dubious water to keep it looking fresh.
If you’re nervous give yourself a few days to adjust to the local cuisine, but be confident too – we’ve always been fine and you will be rewarded.
While the world’s media focuses on the opening of the new Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts (MMPVA) other, equally as exciting, developments continue apace in the city.
Quietly but confidently the Fondation Alliances have been working hard to bring an enormous outdoor exhibition, the first of its kind in Africa, to Morocco.
Newly opened, the Al Maaden Sculpture Park is located at the well-known Al Maaden Golf Resort. The space has been created by both Moroccan and international artists, with collectors Alami and Farida Lazraq spearheading the project.
Initially, 25 Moroccan and international artists were invited to propose sculptures, with 12 striking sculpture works picked after the selection process.
These works, by French, Moroccan, Algerian, Chinese and Egyptian artists, are currently on view. The sculptures have been carefully chosen by a committee on account of their artistic merits and their fit with the locale. Antonio Segui’s giant 8-metre high sculpture Golfista Anecdotique (Anecdotal Golfer) fits with its setting perfectly, as does Yazid Oulab’s Montagne (Mountain).
A very modern restaurant in Guèliz. It’s a little out of the way so not as well-known as others on the main roads. If you go north on Mohamed V to the La Flamme Restaurant (on the corner of Avenue Khattabi), take the road that is diagonally opposite (rue Drâa). It’s the second street down – the other end of the building housing the Red City offices.
It’s well worth a visit as you get beautifully cooked dishes (French or Moroccan) for a very reasonable price – main dishes about 100 dirhams.
Service is very friendly and both the interior of the restaurant and the outside eating area are very pleasant places to dine.
Open Monday to Saturday, for lunch and dinner. Music entertainment.
Angle rue Lieutenant Lamure et rue Drâa, Guèliz, Marrakech
The opening of new cafés is hard to keep up with. My latest discovery is a chic café called Palais Khum in the street down from Dar el Bacha (where the sentries stand outside). The antique stores round about are also upgrading their image by making modern renovations to make their wares more enticing.
Decorated with style – Kremm Kafé7 is a nice spot to rest as you troll the medina.
On the middle road of the roads leading south of the main square, Place Jemaa’ el Fna’, on the rue Bani Marine, you’ll find Restaurant Oscar Progrés. It’s not chic but is a favourite of travellers and locals. Ambience provided by ceramic tile walls with a band of sculpted plaster above – rows of tables one next to the other so you can strike up conversation with strangers.
You can eat a good, satisfying meal for a very reasonable price – a yogurt dessert is only 3 dirhams. Two people can eat well on 100 dirhams.
Association Amal – it doesn’t sound trendy or chic. It’s authentic and serves good food.
Eat and help others – a simple concept but one full of hope for women chosen to benefit from the training program by this association. Barely a year old, Amal (‘Hope’ in Arabic), offers very tasty meals, beautifully presented and at a very reasonable price. We wish them much success.
We had lunch there recently and found ourselves warmly welcomed. You can sit either inside or outside in a pleasant garden. Hard to believe that busy Guèliz is steps away.
Their appetizers are 20 or 30 dirhams, the entrées 40 dirhams and desserts 20 dirhams. We chose a white chocolate dessert in a strawberry sauce. Mmm, delicious and beautifully presented.
If you live in Marrakech and are organizing a party, they can do the catering for you.
The easiest way to get to Amal center by taxi is to ask for “Polyclinique du Sud”. They are one block away. Their website has a clear map so you walk in the right direction.
From the outside, it looks like a private villa with a hedged privacy fence – there is a doorway with the name “Association Amal” clearly written outside, maybe even their daily menu.
Even if you’re in Marrakech just a few days, if you make your way to Adil Andaloussi’s place in Rue Riad Zitoun Jdid (New Olive Street), he can make you a genuine leather handbag using ancient techniques (as opposed to the machine-made ones in the souks).
Simple bags range from 200 dirhams and ones with more decoration or handwoven and sewn threads around the bag are from 300 dirhams and up.
Choukkara money bags traditionally used by Berber men are 500 dirhams. They are made from goat’s leather, which is thick and robust, but also very soft. The leather flap on the bag is decorated with handtooled leather designs or embroidered in delicate oriental designs with vibrantly-colored silk thread.
I can assure you that women would be equally happy having one over their shoulder.
You will see the different styles in his tiny retail space, clutch bags, pouch bags, evening bags …
So if you prefer not to wait, then you can choose from ready-mades ones on display.
You can also check out his website: http://www.tamaroc.com/
Best starting point to find his small store is from the Bahia Palace – with the Palace on your right, keep walking straight. This is the rue riad Zitoun Jdid. He’s number 58.
The Jarjeer project, a community set in six hectares of land in the foothills of the High Atlas, was developed by Charles Hantom and Susan Machin. The couple have close ties with the village of Oumnas and are active in promoting and helping to preserve Berber traditions. They also have a great deal of love and respect for animals and work tirelessly in looking after donkeys and cows.
A visit to Jarjeer is possible and as the project is located just 24 kms from Marrakech, this can make for a great day trip with a difference.
You can travel to the estate and take part in a cooking class, eat a delicious meal and meet the donkeys and cows – great for children. Here you can spend a pleasant afternoon learning all about the working life of donkeys – an important part of Moroccan culture.
People you might meet at the estate include Sade Brahim, a farrier (a specialist in equine hoof care), who lives in the village and was trained by SPANA in Casablanca. Other team members include Mohammed, the Head Muleteer who has overall responsibility for the animals and Abjelih, an experienced horse rider who is also a guide for walks around the surrounding countryside.
All proceeds from the sale of refreshments goes to the welfare and upkeep of the animals.