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Monday, 5 May 2014 12:00 AM

Unusual Things to do in Morocco on Holiday - Have a Cookery Lesson

During my numerous trips to Morocco on work and play I have been interested in experiences that I would be unlikely to get elsewhere and Moroccan cookery lessons have been a personal favourite and a very easy one to arrange.

Cookery Lessons in Morocco

I do like my food, and Moroccan food is no exception. My previous articles on Moroccan Cuisine, Ingredients in Moroccan Cuisine and History of Moroccan Cooking give the background to Moroccan cuisine and its flavours.

In my travels around Morocco I have been fortunate to be able to take part in some cookery lessons offered through Naturall Morocco – both formal, wholly ad hoc and somewhere in the middle – all of which I have found excellent, but all were very different.

Naturally the formal courses are designed to teach certain Moroccan recipes and techniques, whilst the ad hoc lessons are far more informal, shorter, less structured and designed for a bit of fun rather than building core skills.

Maison Arabe cookery school in the Marrakech Palmery was an example of a formal school, on offer although I was not staying in their accommodation. Set in a purpose built building at individual work stations, we created pastilla (a classic Moroccan pastry dish containing a main meat ingredient of pigeon or chicken). After a full morning of teaching and hand-on practice we ate the fruits of our endeavours over lunch before relaxing by the large pool in the beautiful gardens.

La Maison Anglaise in Taroudant offered an ad hoc lesson whilst we stayed there, and on offer to anyone partaking in the Real Morocco programme of cultural activities. After a guided wander around the local souk buying produce that we would use later, our small party (just 3 of us, numbers would be limited due to lack of space) went into their compact kitchen and created a variety of classic dishes including some excellent vegetarian courses. Again this was very hands on and we ate our creations that evening.

Besides these accommodations that formally offer lessons, many other places may be willing to show you their kitchens – when I was staying at Dar Ayniwen, whilst relaxing by the pool talking to the owner I mentioned liking Moroccan food and the next thing I was doing was standing in their kitchen one-on-one with their excellent chef being talked through the intricacies of making couscous. I don't believe that that example is unique if you are interested in something similar.

I’ve retained a little knowledge of the basics and understanding of some of the ingredients and, whilst I am unlikely to ever prepare most of the dishes I’ve seen, I will use that knowledge on occasions and every lesson has added to the enjoyment of the trip.