Friday, January 13, 2017

Faim d'Epices - Marrakech, Morocco

Morocco is all about the tagine, at least for tourists. I believe we had a tagine cooked meal each day we were there, and sometimes two in a day, one for lunch and one for dinner. We signed up for a cooking class in Marrakech at a highly rated cooking school called "Faim d'Epices." We were picked up in the Jewish Quarter, about two blocks from our riad, and it was about a 20 minute drive to get there. 

Our first activity was to try and identify various Moroccan spices with our eyes covered. We only had the senses of taste and smell to help us. It was surprisingly fun and interesting. 
The spice tray and opaque glasses we wore when testing our knowledge of the spices. It was particularly interesting to learn about saffron, why it is so expensive and to see how it colors things yellow. 
We were then introduced to our own cooking station where we had all that we would need to cook a tagine of lamb and artichokes.
Note a tagine in the center, heated by a fuel cannister underneath, a round bowl with the beginnings of bread and spices in colored bowls lining the back. 
The tagine and spice bowls. 
Judy at her station. 
We each got two artichokes and learned how to cut them, pull off the leaves and obtain the hearts. 
The hearts cut-up into a bowl. I must admit I was wishing we had butter so that we could dip the leaves in it. 
Lamb and onion. A lamb bone with some fat on it would have been more flavorful. 
The beginnings of the tagine. We diced up the onion and I don't recall what the base of the sauce was. 
After cooking awhile, we added peas and the artichoke hearts to the mix. 
The final product, ready to eat. 
While we were doing that, we also went over to an observation area where the two teachers showed us how to make bread and three salads. 
Tomato, cucumber and pepper
Shredded cucumber
Then we had the chance to knead our own bread and then bake it. 
Here is my bread dough ready to cook. I was all thumbs and needed help several times. 
Our own bread was some of the best bread we had in Morocco, just sayin'. 
Overall, it was very educational and quite fun. The ultimate bummer, however, was that the lamb and artichoke lunch was a "D" grade. Mine was far too lemony and the lamb was tough, tough, tough. The salads were better, but still far from matching some of the salads we had during our trip. The final product put a damper on what had been a fun day. 
Tagines R' Us
We purchased a tagine after getting home and have yet to break it out and try it. When we do, it is not going to have lemon in it and it is going to have a nice fatty, bone-in, piece of lamb. 


  1. The two people who led the cooking class had great personalities, and the exposure to other ways of cooking was educational. I did think our hot bread was better than any of the bread we had eaten anywhere else, perhaps because it was fresh. But yes, the tagine was pretty awful. We need to try this at home.

  2. P.S. I forgot to mention that I LOVE the colorful prep bowls I bought there--the same ones that are in your first photo.