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BREAD BAKING IN THE RUINED GARDEN - FEZ

workshops, fez, breadbaking, coco-morocco, ruinedgarden

Before we have our selection of fantastic hotels in FEZ revealed,we're going to make some changes to the website. So let's start already getting you in a Fassi cuisine mood!
 
I am a self confessed bread addict and here in Morocco the bread is so good, so delicious and on the table at every meal. I rarely ate bread in Australia as it did not always agree with me but here it's quite a different story. It is fresh baked every single day  and no preservatives are used.
So due to this love of mine, I went off to the class at The Ruined Garden in Fes to learn how to make five different kinds of Moroccan bread. The ladies were so patient with me as stirred, rolled and kneaded. They have been making bread since they were old enough to toddle around a kitchen and they work the dough so quickly and efficiently.
My kneading skills left a lot to be desired but they sweetly overlooked my clumsy attempts and stepped in to ensure the final results were up to scratch.
Some of the breads are cooked in a lightly oiled pan over the heat and others are lined up on a tray to take down to the community baker. I carried the towel covered loaves down the alley and dropped them off in a tiny shop holding a monster wood burning oven.  This is what all the families do and the baker cooks all the bread for the neighbourhood.
I returned a while later to collect my bread, warm and yeasty and then got to taste it dipped in local olive oil.
Yum, don't miss this class !
workshops, fez, breadbaking, coco-morocco, ruinedgarden

More workshops from Essaouira and Marrakech soon online here!
  
                    
article by Kate Woods more articles by Kate HERE
Nederlands hieronder


Voordat we onwe selectie fantastische hotels in Fez bekend maken gaan we de website aanpaasen. Maar we willen u alvast in een Fassi kook stemming brengen!

Ik ben een brood verslaafde en hier in Marokko is het brood zo goed, zo lekker en op tafel bij elke maaltijd. In Australië at ik zelden brood, omdat het me niet altijd goed beviel, maar hier is het een heel ander verhaal. Het is elke dag vers vers gebakken en er worden geen conserverings middelen in gebruikt.  
En dus, was ik dadelijk kandidaat om  naar een 'masterclass' broodbakken te gaan in The Ruined Garden in Fes om vijf verschillende soorten marokkaans brood te leren bereiden. De dames hadden een engelen geduld met me wat het roeren, rollen en kneden betrof. Zelf hielpen ze met brood te bereiden vanaf dat ze oud genoeg waren om rond te dribbelen in de keuken en ze zijn meesters geworden in het bewerken van het deeg.  
Mijn kneedvaardigheden daarentegen lieten veel te wensen over, maar ze hielden mijn onbeholpen pogingen met argusogen in de gaten en grepen net op tijd in om ervoor te zorgen dat de eindresultaten op top niveau waren :)   
Sommige broden worden op het vuur gebakken in een licht geoliede pan en andere worden op een groot dienblad geplaatst om naar de buurt bakker te gaan. Ik droeg de met een handdoek afgedekte broodjes door de steeg en liet ze achter in een kleine winkel met een gigantische houtoven. Dit is wat alle gezinnen doen en de bakker bakt al het brood voor de buurt.  
Na een tijdje ging ik terug om mijn brood, warm en geurend op te halen en daarna te proeven stukje bij stukje, gedompeld in lokale olijfolie.  Hemels.
Mis deze workshop niet!
workshops, fez, breadbaking, coco-morocco, ruinedgarden

Meer workshops in Essaouira en Marrakech weldra hier online! 

workshops, fez, breadbaking, coco-morocco, ruinedgarden

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ARTISTIC SPOTS IN MOROCCO - Diabat

Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco

Vanaf de eerste keer dat ik dit kleine artistieke heuvel dorpje zag van op afstand,  fluisterde iets mijn naam. Diabat, tegen de flank met zicht op Essaouira. Die aantrekking komt zeker niet van de plaatsen die verwijzen naar het bezoek, het verblijf of ... van rock ster Jimi Hendrix, maar als hij hier echt ooit gepasseerd is, verbleven heeft, of volgens de verhalen, inspiratie opdeed voor een song, dan werd hij wellicht verliefd op het dorp om dezelfde redenen als ik.

Bijna ongerepte architectuur. Prachtig vormenspel van de kleine kleurrijke huizen die aan elkaar vastklampen, aanleunen, allen met dak terrassen en uitzicht in alle richtingen. De straten die parallel lopen met de oceaan hebben allemaal een schitterend panorama over de baai van Essaouira.  Tot op heden kan ik alleen maar raden hoe prachtig dit moet zijn bij valavond, wanneer de zon onder gaat  en vervolgens de lichten in de medina en langs de boulevard een heerlijk schouwspel moeten geven vanop je dak.  De achterkant van het dorp heeft een prachtig uitzicht over de rivier die je diep meeneemt in het Berberse landschap en verder tot in Hererta.

  
                    
article by Marlène Pauly more articles by Marlène HERE
English down


From the first time I saw it from a distance, something whispered my name in the little artistic village of Diabat. For sure it are NOT the places that refer to the visit , the stay or...of the all famous Jimi Hendrix. But if he truly did pass there then he must have loved it for exactly the same reasons as I do.
Almost unspoiled architecture. Beautiful silhouettes of small colourful houses that cling together, all with rooftop terraces and views in all directions. The streets that run parallel with the ocean all have stunning views on the bay of Essaouira. This far, I can only guess how stunning this must look in the evening with all the lights in the Medina and along the boulevard. The backside of the village has another stunning view over the river that takes you deep into the Berber countryside and all the way to Hererta.

Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
Diabat - Essaouira - Morocco
 And then, modernisation came.... Please, don't let this take over the heart and soul of this charming town...
Ugly architecture Diabat

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ESSAOUIRA with a touch of Orange et Canelle

streetview

Down a little cobbled lane and luckily not too hard to find is Riad Orange Canelle in Essaouira. It is a small guesthouse, quite perfectly formed .The interior is whitewashed with pops of colour in warm oranges and browns, reflecting the name of a lovely Moroccan dessert. I took a small room, more than adequate for a solo traveller with a comfy bed and a great little ensuite bathroom. A rooftop breakfast is included and you can sit over your coffee under the blue skies, seeing and hearing the seagulls wheeling overhead, as you come to grips with the start of your day. The fishing village of Essaouira is right on the doorstep, a good hamam is a couple of doors down and fresh fish is on every menu…..
Looking for alternatives to stay in Essaouira? Have a look at our selection. 
Not sure what to do? Here is the cultural agenda for April

                    
article by Kate Woods more articles by Kate HERE
Nederlands hieronder


teapot

In een klein charmant zijstraatje in Essaouira, als je de medina vanaf Bab Marrakech binnen gaat, vind je Riad Orange Canelle.  Het is een klein en eenvoudig gastenverblijf waarvan de naam het kleurgebruik verraad.  Van ver wordt je begroet door het sierlijke uithangbord in een warm oranje tint. Orange et Canelle is meteen ook een van de meest populaire en eenvoudige nagerechten in Marokko.  Schijfjes sinaasappel besprenkeld met oranjebloesemwater en kaneel.  Heerlijk!  Ik nam een kleine kamer die helemaal perfect was voor een solo reiziger.  Een comfortabel bed en een aansluitende badkamer, meer heb ik niet nodig voor een nachtje.  Het dakterras doet zijn naam alle eer aan en je kan er uren zitten onder de fel blauwe lucht.  Het contrast van de spierwitte overvliegende zeemeeuwen is een schouwspel dat je toelaat om op je eigen tempo te ontwaken.  Met het stadje aan de voordeur, een goede hamam een paar huizen verder en vis menu's op iedere straathoek...
Op zoek naar alternatieven? Kijk even naar onze selectie, er zit vast iets tussen naar jouw smaak! 
Hier alvast het cultuur programma voor de maand april!
down view in the patio

cat on the roof terrace

entry room


  
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THE HIDDEN GEMS OF MARRAKECH - part 1

riad for sale, Marrakech

Ik heb het al eerder gezegd, Chic Marrakech is een van mijn favoriete adresjes om binnen te 'gluren bij mijn buren' :). OOO al deze magische plekjes in de Medina. Dus ging ik weer eens op zoek tussen het vastgoed en toen ik dit pareltje ontdekte moest ik het gewoon delen.

Er is gewoon niets wat ik niet mooi vind aan deze mysterieuze riad uit 1001 nachten in de Medina van Marrakech. De sensationele tuin, het magische zwembad, de prachtige perspectieven in elke richting.

Gewoon verbluffend mooi en zo dicht bij waar ik woon. Ergens, achter 1 van de duizenden deuren, in 1 van de honderden steegjes...

                    
article by Marlène Pauly more articles by Marlène HERE
English down
photo credit - Chic Marrakech



I told you before that Chic Marrakech is one of my favourite sites to go and look behind the doors my neighbours in the Medina in Marrakech. So...I did again and I just have to share this one with you.

There simply is nothing I don't like about this magical place. The sensational garden, the magical pool, the perspectives you get in either angle.

It is amazing and I know it is somewhere very close to where a live. Somewhere behind one of the thousands of closed doors in one of the hundreds of alleys...

riad for sale, ChicMarrakech
riad for sale, ChicMarrakech
riad for sale, ChicMarrakech
riad for sale, ChicMarrakech
riad for sale, ChicMarrakech
riad for sale, ChicMarrakech
riad for sale, ChicMarrakech
riad for sale, ChicMarrakech


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TRAVELS TO FEZ - Filigree, pottery and textiles

TRAVELS TO FEZ - Filigree, pottery,textiles

Fes in Morocco is famous for pottery and ceramics.  I have visited some speciality ceramic factories there on more than one occasion now and it's always fun.

The workers are skilled professionals who work hard and in difficult conditions, often sitting cross legged for many hours painting intricate designs on unglazed pots, plates and bowls.  In a country where there is little recycling, I find it wonderful to see that the ovens that 'bake' or fire the pottery burn olive residue, skins and pits, instead of firewood.

If I am in a Fes I especially like to see and maybe buy one special artisan crafted showpiece and the silvery filagree adorned tagine dishes call my name.  They are so beautiful, often with creamy inserts of camel bone. The choice is so endless, I dither for ages trying to make a decision.

I am always happy to accompany anyone on ( or simply arrange) a speciality ceramics or textile tour in Fes or anywhere in Morocco, so please don't hesitate to contact me via Moroccobespoke
TRAVELS TO FEZ - Filigree, pottery,textiles
  
                    
article by Kate Woods more articles by Kate HERE
Nederlands onder


TRAVELS TO FEZ - Filigree, pottery,textiles

Fez in Marokko is beroemd om aardewerk en keramiek.  Ik heb al meerdere keren, tijdens mijn bezoeken aan de stad, keramiek fabrieken bezocht en het blijft gewoonweg fascinerend.   

De arbeiders zijn ervaren professionals die hard en in moeilijke omstandigheden werken.  Vaak zitten ze uren achter elkaar in dezelfde houding, met gekruiste benen ingewikkelde motieven op ongeglazuurde potten, borden en kommen te schilderen.  In een land waar er weinig wordt gerecycleerd, vind ik het geweldig om te zien dat de ovens die het aardewerk bakken werken op afval van olijven, huiden en pitten, in plaats van brandhout.

Telkens ik in Fes ben moet ik gewoon één speciaal ambachtelijk vervaardigde stuk mee hebben en de zilveren met filigree (als kantwerk behandelt zilver) versierde tajines lijken mijn naam wel heel luid en duidelijk te roepen!  Ze zijn ongelooflijk mooi, vaak met kunstig inlegwerk van kameel bot.  De keuze is zo eindeloos, en het duurt altijd een eeuwigheid voor ik een beslissing kan nemen.

Ik ben altijd blij om iemand te begeleiden op (of gewoon regelen) een keramiek of textiel tour in Fes of waar dan ook in Marokko, dus aarzel niet om contact met 
me op te nemen via Moroccobespoke

TRAVELS TO FEZ - Filigree, pottery,textiles


  
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TRENDSETTERS: LATIFA AZZOUZI - an interview

A series about young Moroccans, born and raised outside Morocco, connecting back to their roots! Setting a trend.  
We are curious about them, about their life choices and about the role model they are.   
                    

An interview with:
Latifa Azzouzi - Entrepreneur and HR manager raised in the Netherlands, living in Casablanca - Morocco

                    
article by Marlène Pauly more articles by Marlène HERE
English only

 

- Tell us a bit about yourself 


Both my parents are from Nador. They chose to leave Morocco 37 years ago and moved to the Netherlands to provide a better future for their children. I was just 2 years old when we started our new life in Holland. Being the eldest of 5 children I always felt responsible for my younger siblings.

In my extended family I also was the first who took her education seriously. My nieces and nephews left school early to start work or marry. My parents at that time did not know the school system very well so they couldn't advise me on this.
These days, it was common to get started at a low school level where a lot of immigrant kids were sent to, especially girls.  Girls from immigrant background at that time where thought to not accomplish a lot in education and would most likely drop out and marry at a young age.

This was not the case for me...
I proved them wrong. I was a curious girl and wanted to achieve better. So I continued studying until I reached university with my parents supporting me in every step.

I passed on this drive for accomplishing to my younger brothers and sister. For them it was easier to go through the school system, all because of my experiences and knowledge of it.

After my educations (Human Resources Management and Sociology) I worked in both social and business environment. Over the last 8 years in the Netherlands I worked in sales for big Pharmaceutical companies.
 
I only knew Morocco from holidays and mostly visiting family in Nador.
Our holidays were really not holidays....we always went to Nador and spent time with family.
I didn't know the rest of the country because we didn't travel.
For me Morocco was what I was seeing in Nador and nothing more.  In that area life stood still for a long time. So you can imagine that I had a negative association about my other homeland at that time. I couldn't have imagined that there would be a time that I actually would live and work here.

For 4 years now I am happily living in Morocco, Casablanca and running a successful company called INO-resources  that helps other Moroccan disapora come to Morocco to live and work and also connect Dutch/Belgian projects to Moroccan business.
Morocco also feel like home now and that's an amazing feeling!


- What was it that made you decide to connect back to your roots?


My life in Holland was a successful one. I had good education, had great jobs and loving family and friends around me. Holland still is my home and where I feel comfortable.
However, sometimes I wondered how it would feel to go back to my roots. 

Almost as if it was meant to be, I came across a job opportunity in Casablanca. I didn't think twice and immediately went for it.
Wow this was a kick and it felt as if I had wings. My family was not happy when they heard the news, but after some talking they supported me in my choice to go to Casablanca for this amazing opportunity.
I remember my mother saying to me that I probably wouldn't stay longer than 2 weeks because of my ever-present criticism on how things go in Morocco.
Like the horrible traffic, the bureaucracy, different mentality etc...

After all I was more Dutch then Moroccan 😄.


- What did you learn by moving and living in Morocco.  Something that you would love to see or experience more of in the country of your childhood.


Flexibility!
Wow!! For a control freak, like I used to be, THAT was a big challenge!
In Morocco, even in big cities like Casablanca,  nothing is fixed...information is not transparent, when you ask the same question to 4 different people working at the same bank, you will get 3 different answers.
Time is not fixed, a meeting at 1 pm will likely not start at 1 pm.
Traffic rules are flexible, meaning there are rules but people interpret them differently.
Moroccans live in a mode of 'insha Allah. We will fix this today and otherwise tomorrow'. Very ´go with the flow´ mentality.

All these things made be loosen up.
I was stressing too much when I moved here, about things I did NOT have any control over.  This is the most valuable what I have experienced by living in Morocco. Getting rid of this control freak inside me.
As a result I have become a much more chill person.
Don't understand me wrong... I don't want that level of flexibility in Holland but I think it would be good to sometimes reflect on the deeper meaning and results of all this stressing.
It makes people less flexible (I was one of them) and they get easily disappointed if something does not go as planned or expected.

I have learned to value the flexibility of people in Morocco.

- What is the most important life experience from the country you grew up that you wished you could share in Morocco.


In Holland we have the drive of developing and evolving to do better. This is an aspect that never stops. It reflects in every aspect of life. People give and accept constructive feedback for personal growth and development. 
Businesses are continuously looking for ways to improve. They always analyse their procedures to be more efficient and offer a better service. This drive to keep growing and developing is something that I would want to share here in Morocco. 

In Morocco if something works it works. No need to search for ways to do better. On the other hand it also can be liberating to not always want to do better 😂. 
But somewhere in the middle would be great.


- How and where do you see your future, both professional and private.


I started this adventure without knowing where it would lead me.
Now that I run my own company in Morocco and have my own employees it has become a serious thing.  It's no longer a project that will end soon.   
I hope to continue and grow business relationships between Morocco and Holland/Belgium and be a bridge between these beautiful countries.
Being both Dutch and Moroccan is an enrichment that makes me so proud. I am where I 'm supposed to be in life. Having Morocco in one hand and Holland in the other. Beautiful things can happen when we bring this together!
On a personal level it's a little harder at this moment because my family lives in Holland and I am experiencing this amazing journey on my own.  Living and working and having success far from your family is a lonely road.  I would love to add someone in my life to be a partner in this adventure and start my own family.  I don't know yet if that would be in Morocco or Holland...I would prefer having my family and friends close, so more likely I would choose Holland.

This part needs some work and figuring out 😀

Homestyling retreat in Marrakech Homestyling retreat in Marrakech

If you want to read about our other Trendsetter? HERE
Are you a trendsetter too? Get in Contact

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ADOPT A DONKEY - part 2


Refuge Gco Essaouira

                    
article by Marlène Pauly more articles by Marlène HERE
English down


Refuge Gco Essaouira

Net voordat we gisteren naar huis gingen na ons bezoek aan de Gco Refuge, stonden er twee ezeltjes die onlangs waren binnen gebracht. Ééntje met een zwaar vervormde hoef die zo scheef was gegroeid dat zijn poot de grond niet meer raakte.
Een ander zonder hoef, helemaal ingezwachteld en het bloed sijpelde erdoor...

De beide dieren stonden er rustig bij en lieten ons, een beetje argwanend, dichterbij komen.
Het leek alsof ze er steevast van overtuigd waren dat het allemaal een groter doel diende.
De spreuk van de nobele Rumi kwam plots bij me naar boven.

' De wonde is de plaats waar het Licht in je binnendringt '

Als hier iemand het Licht binnenbrengt in deze prachtige schuilplaats voor gewonde en gehandicapte dieren dan zijn dit zonder enige twijfel Valérie en Gérard Adam.  Beiden Belgen en al 10 jaar is de Refuge Gco hun passie en hun zorgenkindje.

Want meer bekendheid voor hun initiatief betekent niet meteen meer geld dat er binnenkomt, nee.. steeds vaker wordt er beroep op hen gedaan voor het herbergen van gewonde dieren, soms zelfs vanuit Casablanca.

Net als Jarjeer Mules in Marrakech zijn deze schuilplaatsen zeldzaam, en veel enthousiaste start-ups eindigen door gebrek aan doorzetting, financiële middelen of een combinatie van allerlei factoren.
Refuge Gco Essaouira

Na 10 jaar is het voor refuge Gco echter tijd voor een jubileum! Ze zijn het waard en ook wij hopen hierin onze steun te mogen bijdragen.
  • Het domein is ondertussen versterkt met lokale vrijwilligers.
  • Er is een  table d hôte concept voor kleine groepen, en...
  • Helemaal te gek, zeker met kids, er zijn nu 2 prachtige gastenkamers beschikbaar om enkele dagen in de prachtige heuvels rond Essaouira te verblijven en met de dieren om te gaan.

Want behalve ezeltjes loopt er ook een grote groep katten en honden rond waarvan een groot aantal een poot mist, blind is of 'gewoon' gedumpt.

We realiseren ons de problematiek van de situatie wat de ezeltjes betreft heel goed. Ezels zijn werkdieren, het is het dier waar het inkomen van het gezin vanaf hangt en dat inkomen is vaak gewoon niet genoeg om een veearts te raadplegen als er wat fout gaat.


Hoe kan jij helpen?

  • Adopteer een dier - Betaal een maandelijks bedrag om mee de kosten van de voeding te dekken.
  • Doneer - Een dierenartsen praktijk voor de wijde omgeving op poten zetten waar er gratis hulp kan geboden worden is de droom van Valérie en Gérard. Wat een geweldig begin van de volgende 10 jaar zou dit worden!
  • Become a volunteer! The Refuge needs helping hands and is happy with people to help out on Saturdays. ( people from Essaouira and surroundings)


Just before returning home yesterday, after our visit to the Gco Refuge, we spotted two donkeys which were recently brought in.   
One with a heavily distorted hoof that had grown so bad that his leg did not touch the ground anymore.The other had no hoof left, with blood seeping through the bandage ...

The two animals stood quietly and while being a little suspicious in us coming closer,it seemed like they were somehow convinced that it all served a greater purpose.The quote of the noble Rumi came suddenly to my mind.


"The wound is the place where the Light enters"


 If anyone here brings in the light in this wonderful shelter for injured and disabled animals then this clearly are Valérie and Gérard Adam. Both Belgians and for 10 years the Refuge Gco is their passion and their subject of many concerns.  

More awareness for their initiative does not necessarily mean more money coming in, no .. it's more a matter of increasingly being called upon to shelter injured animals, sometimes all the way from Casablanca.

Like Jarjeer Mules in Marrakech, these shelters are rare, and many enthusiastic startups end by lack of determination, funds or a combination of factors.

Refuge Gco Essaouira

After 10 years, however, it is time for an anniversary for refuge Gco! They are worth it and we hope to be able to contribute.
  • The daily work at the domain is now supported by some local volunteers. 
  • There is a 'Guest table' concept for small groups, and ... 
  • Totally cool, especially with kids, there are now two beautiful guestrooms available giving you a chance to stay a few days in the beautiful hills around Essaouira enjoying the animals.
Besides donkeys there is also a large population of cats and dogs around of which a large number is missing a leg, is blind or 'just' dumped.

We do realize the problem of the situation regarding the donkeys very well. Donkeys are work animals.  The income of the family depends upon them and that income is often simply not
sufficient to consult a veterinarian if something goes wrong. 
 
Refuge Gco Essaouira

How can you help?

  • Adopt A Pet - Pay a monthly fee to support the cost of food.
  • Donate - Build a New Veterinary Surgery that can offer free help is Valérie and Gérard's dream. WoW would this be a great start for the next 10 years!
  • Become a volunteer! The Refuge needs helping hands and is happy with people to help out on Saturdays. (People from Essaouira and surroundings)

Refuge Gco Essaouira

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