Often named for having one of the most original cuisines in the world, Morocco is placing increasing emphasis on its culinary assets to attract international travellers.
World-renowned traditional dishes, food festivals, Michelin star-rated restaurants, traditional dishes and agro-tourism put Morocco among the most desirable destinations for food lovers.
Morocco’s culinary heritage embraces the deep-rooted traditions and cultural variety of the country. Couscous, Tajine, Pastilla, Mrouzia, and R’fissa, are some of the emblematic dishes that have gained world-wide reputation.
Composed of a wide variety of striking flavours and scents, Moroccan cuisine draws its originality from a combination between Berber, Arab-Andalusian, and Jewish culinary traditions. Cuisines also vary from one region to another. Marrakech, Agadir, Rabat and increasingly Casablanca are among the most tempting culinary destinations. The religious city of Fez is meantime considered as the gastronomic capital of the country. Fez chefs appear to have the upper hand when it comes to blending the various influences of Morocco’s diverse cultures and religions.
No wonder that Morocco took the second prize in the 2017 ranking of the best foodie destinations according to the British blog Worldsim Travel. In a recent study called “Gastronomy as a Key factor of Tourism Attractiveness in Morocco,” which analysed answers from 409 respondents from a dozen countries, local gastronomy remains high on travellers’ expectations. 68.9% of the respondents said they were interested in a gastronomic holiday in Morocco
When asked how gastronomy in Morocco is perceived, the study reveals that 73.1% of respondents confirmed the importance of local gastronomy in their choice of destination. 60.4% of respondents prefer to eat local food during their travels in Morocco.
Fez emerging as Morocco’s culinary capital
The country’s gastronomy has an excellent image for international travellers. The survey indicates that 73% of respondents who have been to Morocco had a positive image of Moroccan gastronomy and only 1.3% had a negative image. Even 50.5% of respondents who had never visited Morocco had a positive image of the local food. After tasting the local food, 87.2% of respondents were “satisfied to very satisfied”. Two Moroccan dishes -couscous and tajine- were those most associated with the country.
Regarding gastronomy-centred holidays, 40.6% of respondents indicated they would look for a length of stay of 3 to 4 days; 28.4% one week; while only 17.8% would choose a weekend stay.
This gives food for thought to tourism authorities with many cities now capitalising on gastronomy tourism.
The revival of the Fez Medina – the old town – in recent years has brought changes in the food scene. Many new restaurants have emerged with the openinig of traditional riads in town. Many new chefs reinvent tradtional Morrocan dishes and blend them with flavours coming from Europe or Asia. Tours are organised in the souks to discover the rich fragrances of spices filling the narrow streets.
Fez now has its own cooking school. It is located in the biggest authentic riad in town, a century-old palace which has been restored and transformed into a luxury hotel. The Fez Cooking School at Palais Amani offers tailor made experiences in a unique setting with cooking courses, markets visits and tof course food tasting.