I am a little over one week home since our Morocco adventures. Not too jet-laggy but a whole lot head cold-y and I blame the stranger on the plane who sneezed directly into my face while waiting to exit the very long plane ride home – thank you, kind Sir!
This 2019 tour was our fifth culinary overseas tour, and Morocco managed to knock the breath out of me on so many occasions. The joy I feel there is a combination of so many things. Morocco is majestic in every essence of the word.
I have had the pleasure of travelling to this beautiful country quite a few times before. Its food has had such a profound effect on me that it encompasses much of my food style and tastes today. I am grateful that my Moroccan classes are still one of our most popular and I feel very much in my ‘happy place’ teaching others about this beautiful cuisine as well as many of the traditions. Each year, for the past five years, I have had the pleasure of hosting overseas culinary and cultural tours. It’s been high on my list to take a group over to Morocco to experience the beating heart of Morocco. The dream was realised this year, and I want to thank all of the very special people who travelled with us and made it such an incredibly unique and memorable time for us all.
We were a group of 14 for the main part of the tour, and I feel that every single one of them has been a little blown away by what we have seen, heard and felt together.
Every day, we experienced something so unique and wonderful together. All experiences were a contrast to the one before. The adventures and how every member of the group opened their arms wide to Morocco meant for an exceptional group and a wonderful adventure.
In Marrakesh, we enjoyed our very own piece of paradise at Les Deux Tours. We visited the Medina several times together and explored the fabulous souks. We ate snails together, and some of us even bought rugs together – all in the name of shared bonding experiences.
We enjoyed a fabulous Berber cooking class outside of Marrakesh. A lasting memory for me is the warm Berber bread smothered in fresh goats cheese and sensational honey. OH-MY-WORD!
The gang in action
Onto the Atlas mountains and our time here was unforgettable. A fantastic first evening snuggled up together around low tables and seated on Moroccan poufs and sharing an exceptional Moroccan banquet. The following day, we were given the opportunity to hike the mountains. There were different walks to choose, depending on how you were feeling or a beautiful rooftop picnic if you simply felt like staying put and daydreaming surrounded by rugged beauty.
In the Agafay desert, there were camel rides and birthday celebrations. There was glamping and to be truthful, I am no longer sure if our little tent by the Murray River, that-we-have-to-pitch-ourselves!! (so rude) will ever make the grade after this experience. I had a flushing toilet in my tent and a King size bed with outrageously good cotton sheets! I hope you are reading this, Michael!
We enjoyed a breakfast cooking class preparing tea, fresh bread and pancakes for one another. In true Moroccan style, that was not to be our only breakfast, and we were welcomed into a large open tent where the generous feast continued.
Essaouira was magic. A stunning seaside city of whitewashed walls overlooking sea cliffs.
We spent a couple of nights in this beautiful place. We visited the seaport, which was a feast for the eyes. Fresh fish & seafood coming in off the large boats with giant albatross ready to pounce. We picked up some seafood and took part in a fantastic cooking class at Hotel de Charme. The class, the people, the fragrant meal are all so memorable. We enjoyed our lunch together on the rooftop, taking in the incredible view of the ocean. Some of us then meandered through the charming streets of Essaouira. I felt so very lucky to be enjoying this special time, at a slow pace that I don’t have the luxury of enjoying at home. Let me rephrase that – that I don’t allow myself the luxury of enjoying at home. This is the beauty and importance of travel. We can reset, reprioritise and look and both the world and ourselves with new eyes.
Essaouira will always be known to me as the place where I managed to buy my body weight in pottery!
On our second last day of the main tour and I could feel a slight sense of sadness as we all boarded the bus. The long travel day ahead to reach Casablanca early that evening meant that our tour was coming to an end. Such special moments we had shared and such wonderful friendships made. ‘Please don’t let this stop!’ The travel fairies rose to the cry (my travel fairies go by the name of William and Angelo btw) and in the middle of nowhere, we see an Oasis. An Oasis where we were to spend our afternoon. I had never been to this Oasis before, in my travels to Morocco. I do think that we may have been treated to, what may just have been, a once in a lifetime experience. We were in Oualidia – known as the Oyster capital of Morocco. We spent our afternoon at La Sultana, where we stepped on board traditional fishing boats & explored the Oyster farms. Later, when heavens doors opened once more, we sat out over the water and feasted on freshly shucked oysters & really excellent wine (yes….you can get some decent wine nowadays in Morocco). What an incredible day & experience. It was magnificent. We then moved to a long shared table under sails out by the water and shared delicious towers of Seafood.
Our night in Casablanca was spent at Rick’s cafe. Made famous from the movie ‘Casablanca’. The atmosphere, music and decor were all fabulous. Before we headed to bed, we gathered downstairs altogether.
Some guests were to head off in the morning for an independent extension together to Fes and the Sahara while some others slowly make their way home. As we headed to bed, Mal quoted this from Tennyson as we said our goodbyes and I felt it so right to use this here.
“I am a part of all that I have met.” ????
Thank you again to all who joined us. Thank you for putting your trust in myself, William & Angelo. Thank you to the warm and incredible welcome we received from all during our stay in Morocco. Your Country is a very beautiful one and you reflect its beauty in your hospitable, caring and gentle ways.
Lastly, but certainly not in the least, to my dear friend William Goodacre who approached me 5 years ago to run these very special tours. I was told then that he had been looking for someone with a business with heart and whose customers were like family. What an absolute honour it is to work with you & to share these wonderful adventures that we create with our customers, who certainly do become friends and even more so, become Family.
I am hopeful the photos here will tell just a little of the story. I hope you can feel a bit of what we felt. What we breathed in.
It is with great delight that I announce our 2020 tour will be to Tuscany, Italy. Our information night will be held at Relish Mama on November 15th 2019. You can book online here. Tour details for 2020 will be released very soon. Watch this space.
Thank you to you all.
So much love & gratitude,