Day 7 - from Tagoudiche to the fishing port of Essaouira

A note on the food, by Carolyn Greer-Walker .

Think spices, think charcoal! Also France..

North African cooking is colourful and full of contrasts, hot and spicy and also sweet with honey and sugar. Morroccan cooking vies with Turkish for third place after French and Chinese cuisine. The French have left a legacy of superb croissants and pains chocolat, tho the round flat Arab or Berber bread is also delicious and freshly baked daily. Breakfasts normally have an egg of some sort involved as well, either pancaked or hard boiled or scrambled. The staple foods of modest Morroccan hotels and restaurants are Tagines, Couscous, and barbecued meats..

A Tagine is basically a stew of any sort of meat and vegetables or just vegetables cooked in a particular vessel, made of pottery with a tall conical lid. This is cooked on a charcoal brazier or conventional hob. The tagine must never be placed on the fire without liquid in. Couscous is a semolina type of grain served with softly cooked vegetables or meat..

Bstilla is a speciality. When the Moors were driven out of Southern Spain in the C15 they are said to have taken back with them a pigeon pie. This is served on special occasions in Morrocco. It can also be made with chicken. The cooked meat is mixed with cinnamon, garlic, ginger, mixed spice and mint, beaten eggs, and saffron. This is shaped into individual round pies with phyllo pastry, and served with sugar and cinnamon on top..

Starters are normally a salad type with chopped onions, tomatoes, olives in varying combinations, sometimes cooked sometimes raw. Bread is normally brought first with a little dish of olives. Desserts are normally fresh fruit or possibly a selection of small petits fours type almond pastries, almonds being a staple crop of South Morrocco, or sliced oranges with dates and sprinkled with cinnamon. The spice and herb shops are well worth a visit, for rose petals, pot- pourri, musk, Moroccan meat and fish spice mixtures, remedies for migraine, snoring, arthritis, diarrhoea, constipation, and colds, to name but a few..

The markets and souks are piled high with fruit, dates, almonds, raisins, figs, oranges, clementines, pomegranites, and a wide selection of vegetables. We never saw a supermarket as such. We were not offered fish until the coast, and at Essouira the grilled fish on the quay which should be about 30d.(2.00) with salad and bread, is well worth bargaining for, sitting beside the sea after all the journeying is very restoring..

The tinned sardines are delicious, very plump and juicy. The occasional times we bought picnic food it did not seem at all expensive..

Alcohol was not generally available, vinegar is used in the place of wine in cooking. Wine is made in Morrocco .

All in all some intriguing tastes and smells added to a most interesting week. .

Mist on the mountains at dawn

We walked down through the village

past the church

and several ornamented houses

looking back at the village

and looked down at the hairpins

The leading jeep just after a hairpin

Back on the open road

A more fertile landscape


A mountain fortress

...and another

...and another

Photostop for the lanscape looking back on the mountain we climbed

We are expected by local traders!

A young girl with a huge herd of goats

Goats in the trees

eating the argan nuts which are prized for their oil

The nuts lose their tough outer skin

on their passage through the goat

and can then be gathered in

to extract the oil

Skirting the port of Agadir

Outskirts of Essouaria

Unloading in the carpark outside the walled city. (They fortunately do not allow cars inside it)

So the main square is very imposing

with an ancient gateway

Our luggage arrives ath the hotel

which has all the bedrooms opening onto a small atrium

Comfortable beds

and good plumbing

Essouairea is full of fish

so we decided to have alate lunch

before starting to look round the post

and the fish market

The striped one at the back is a Moray eel

Building fishing boats is a major local industry

and makes some fascinating patterns

The Restauarant du Port was highly recommended for our evening meal

but with lots of time, I read a history of Morocco sitting up on the battlements with some antique cannon

and then went to have a look

at the amazing variety

of beautiful things in the shops

- many too big to carry!

Slippers are local speciality

Spices galore

The main square at night

We all met up for a pre-dinner drink overlooking the square

and then went to Chez Sam, right at the end of the port, where the food was delicious.

The shoes were the cleanest they had ever been after this

Sunset after a really lovely day

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