Moroccan cookery book
We just have to share our enthusiasm for this fabulous book The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert which has been receiving rave reviews. She has an impeccable pedigree having won the prestigious Julia Child Award three times, The James Beard Award five times, The M. F. K. Fisher Award, The Tastemaker Award and been a finalist for the British Andre Simon Award.
You can tell that this has been a labour of love with incredible attention to detail. Paula Wolfert is passionate about Moroccan cuisine having spent almost 50 years in pursuit of authentic Moroccan food.
Lavishly photographed and packed with tantalizing recipes, The Food of Morocco also provides helpful tips on preparation techniques. For anyone seriously interested in Morrocan cuisine this is the perfect companion to her classic, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco.
For more information go to http://www.paula-wolfert.com/index.html
Morocco – movie star central
Ewan McGregor just left Marrakech after filming My Kind of Traitor – a thriller adaptation of the novel by John le Carre about an English couple who while on holiday in Marrakech, meet a shady Russian millionaire and then get into deep trouble.
Tom Hanks has also visited recently, for his movie A Hologram for a King, which was filmed in both Casablanca and Marrakesh, so imagine our surprise when we heard more A-listers had arrived with their entourages to our city! This time it’s everyone’s favourite action hero – Bruce Willis.
Bruce is currently in Marrakesh for the shooting of Barry Levinson’s next movie, Rock the Kasbah – due to premiere in the US in the spring of 2015. He is joined by Kate Hudson, Danny McBride, Scott Caan, Zooey Deschanel, and Leem Lubany who are also in Marrakech to star in the comedy. The story of Rock the Kasbah is about Richie Vance, a past-it music manager who decides to send one of his performing artists on a tour in aid of American troops in Afghanistan.
We heard on the grapevine that Bruce Willis was seen last Tuesday casually taking a walk in Gueliz, hidden partly in a baseball cap but instantly recognisable none-the-less!
Follow us on Twitter where we regularly post celebrity updates about Marrakech: https://twitter.com/RiadSapphire
Photo montage – Southern Morocco
Travel writing and photographic projects both flourish in artistic Morocco but what is really interesting is how new social media forms – combined with cheaper high-quality camera lenses – are helping to facilitate a whole new generation of creative reporters.
This week, we stumbled upon a wonderful photo montage, or presentation, of one man’s car journey through Morocco.
Dave Fields, from Portland, Oregon, starts in Marrakech and while his words are minimal – in classic photo journalism style – his amazingly good photographs speak volumes.
Dave says of his adventure:
“Although our stint in Marrakech was short-lived, it does not take long to be absorbed into the fervid pace of the old Medina. Winding through the intricacies of the frenzied souks, losing all sense of direction seems nearly effortless as you follow the barrage of unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. Marrakech is a true bombardment of the senses.”
He then travels to the High Atlas and winds westwards, then down to the southern coast and Essaouira.
Take a look at his story here and enjoy the wonderfully evocative photos: https://davefields.exposure.co/southern-morocco
Photography in the souks of Marrakech
Marrakech brings out the photographer in most of us. The light, the colours, the costumes and the winding souks all present incredible opportunities for travel photography. Even if you’re not normally one for taking holiday snaps, you will almost certainly regret not bringing a camera along with you to Marrakech.
There are plenty of tips online about how to take good photos, but these ones specifically address travel photography.
Take a look and learn some new tips:
Conde Nast Traveler: http://www.cntraveler.com/daily-traveler/2013/10/how-to-take-better-pictures-travel-photography-tips
Wanderlust magazine: http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/misc/take-better-travel-photos
Or, if you’d rather watch a pro in action in the souks, check out this video called ‘Mystical Marrakech Street Photography’ by the multi-talented Zack Arias: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpYfhqfWcu8&app=desktop
Lastly, we recently unearthed this wonderful compilation of Marrakech street photography – ample inspiration for you to dust of your camera! http://www.projectbly.com/destinations/marrakech/souks
This book, which has the sub-title ‘The Rise and Fall of the House of Glaoua 1893-1956’, is set in the medieval city of Marrakesh. It tells the tale of ambitious warlord brothers from the High Atlas Mountains and their rise to great power in Morocco in the early 20th century. A page-turner, Maxwell balances ostentation, mystery and terror in equal measure.
Lords of the Atlas was first published in 1966, then again by the British publishing house Eland in 2004. The Publisher, Barnaby Rogerson, has this to say about the book:
“Beware, ‘Lords of the Atlas’ can instil a desperate craving for Morocco and the red-walled city of Marrakech. I drunk too deeply, too young, from a magic potion composed of Gavin Maxwell’s ‘Lords of the Atlas’ and Delacroix’s ‘Arab Tax’, and have been obsessed by Morocco ever since.”
You can read an extract of the book here: http://www.travelbooks.co.uk/extract.asp?id=71
Home to coasts, islands, wadis, plains, forests, mountains and deserts – with such terrain it’s no surprise that Morocco is a bird-watchers paradise. You can easily travel to see birds on a day trip, or else overnight if more time is required.
You could start by heading out towards the Oukaimeden valley where a world of bird watching opens up. Resident and migrant species exist in abundance in this valley. Grab a pair of binoculars and a good bird watching book and look out for Woodchat Shrike, Common Crossbill, Hawfinch, Brambling, House, Rock and Cirl Buntings.
In amongst the rocky slopes, if you’re lucky, you may spot Blue Rock Thrush and the Levaillant’s Woodpecker.
Up at the ski resort at Oukaimeden (80km from Marrakech), it is sometimes possible to spot the Crimson-winged Finch (November to May), or the elusive Rock Sparrow, Water Pipit and Horned Lark.
Further afield, around the Tizi-n-Tichka pass, you might see the Tristram’s Warbler, raptors and Short-toed Snake Eagles. Ouarzazate is the place to head to for the chance to view the Ruddy Shelduck, and Long-billed Crested Lark, Eurasian Spoonbill and a selection of waders.
A decent book for bird-watching in Morocco is: http://www.nhbs.com/a_birdwatchers_guide_to_morocco_tefno_4859.html
Spanning 200 pages and including 700 illustrations, we think we might just have stumbled upon the ideal Christmas gift for lovers of Marrakech. This book is by Elan Fleisher – a travel and hotel photographer (elanhotelpix.com) – who has chosen to focus on twelve of the most striking riads of Marrakech, and the Medina with its armies of artisans, handcrafters, architects and designers.
The author explains how the riads of the Medina symbolise, not only the long-standing artisanal heritage of Marrakech but also its relatively newly found identity as a destination for creative people, jet-setters and holidaymakers. In fact, the riads he argues, have become as much of a Marrakech attraction as the souks themselves. The riads are destinations on their own, showcasing many aspects of the city that visitors find most exciting about Marrakech – hammams, gardens, gourmet cuisines, craftsmanship, courtyards of fountains, rooftop terraces and views of the Atlas mountains. The author rightly sums up riads as being a mix of “boutique design hotels and historic private preservation museums.”
This book is also breaking new ground as so far, while there have been books on Moroccan interiors and luxury hotels in Morocco, not one has been dedicated to the riad. The book also contains photographic essays on the sights, people, food, surroundings, and nightlife making it a highly suitable souvenir or gift.
The Riads of Marrakech by Elan Fleisher is published by ACC Editions. www.accpublishinggroup.com
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
We recently contributed to the website www.theculturetrip.com a well-known, and highly useful, web resource that showcases the best of art and culture for every country in the world. Morocco is covered well and the site includes essays and round-ups on everything from expat writers in Tangiers, to the top ten art galleries in Morocco.
The site also sells books and films about Morocco, including classics like ‘Casablanca’ and ‘Morocco’, a classic romantic drama starring Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich. Travel books include all the regular guidebooks along with specific books on culture and shopping, and there are also titles covering spirituality, art, architecture, fiction, history and food.
For our contribution, we chose to write about gardens in Marrakech in a piece called ‘An Oasis of Calm: The Historical Gardens of Marrakech.’ In the article we talk about how the gardens of Marrakech have inspired writers and artists over the years and which ones are really worth a visit. You can read the piece here:
We know how much discovering the food culture of Morocco means to our guests. Exploring Marrakech means getting to grips with the different flavours, spices and recipes and is all part of the fun. We run cooking classes at both of our riads, which are proving very popular indeed. Travelling foodies of course also want to learn how to cook Moroccan dishes back home, so as well as imparting some well-practiced culinary tricks and recipes we also like to recommend a cookbook or two.
There are a lot of Moroccan recipe books out there that explain how to cook everything from tagines to couscous dishes, but one that we really enjoy is by Mourad Lahlou, who, at his Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant, has developed a new, modern Moroccan cuisine. His cookbook ‘Mourad: New Moroccan’ includes the classics – basteeya, couscous, preserved lemons etc but he also adds exciting new twists to traditional recipes. The result is a book of 100-plus recipes and inspiring location photography – a must for all travelling gourmands.
The restaurant is in San Francisco – http://www.aziza-sf.com/
And you can find out more about the book, here – http://www.aziza-sf.com/mourad_book.html