Honeymooning: Moroccan spice

Tantalise your tastebuds in Morocco, the home of a spicy surrender.

  • Story by Photo Sutherland Kovach & Words Trudie McConnochie

Tantalise your tastebuds in Morocco, the home of a spicy surrender. 

What a better way start to your marriage than by visiting Morocco, a country radiating with passion, heat and emotion? The captivating North African nation’s history, including chapters of French and Arab rule, has left a mark on its spice-laden cuisine. Marrakesh, dubbed the ‘Red City’ for its proliferation of dusty clay dwellings, is where your intoxicating Arabian Nights journey begins. Its labyrinthine central souk will blow your mind: dazzling jewellery, vibrant fabrics in all shapes and sizes and, of course, a staggering array of spices. Another enchanting experience awaits after sunset at Djemaa el Fna – one of the busiest city squares in the world. Snake charmers, fortune tellers, dancers, monkey handlers and spiritual healers are among the frenetic entertainment. Don’t leave Marrakesh without taking one of the many cooking classes on offer – mastering an aromatic tagine to recreate at home together will ensure your tastebuds never forget your honeymoon. 

Even more culture is there for the tasting at the UNESCO-listed city Fes, regarded by some as ‘the real Morocco’. The major drawcard is the spectacular 9th century Arab medina (a car-free walled city) and the many ancient monuments within. Gaze at the myriad richly-hued dye pits of tanners and sample delicacies from the markets. If you can, stay in a riad, a traditional Moroccan home where a courtyard of colourful mosaic tiles and soothing fountains will provide a welcome respite from the cacophony outside. When the hustle and bustle gnaws at your nerves, it’s time to visit Essaouira. This coastal city so beloved of visitors is just the place to take a deep breath and relax. Capitalise on those Atlantic Ocean breezes with a spot of windsurfing, or explore the desert by camel. And everywhere, there’s food. Try mechoui (intensely flavoured lamb on a spit), pastries stuffed with khlia (strips of mutton preserved in fat) and the universal goodness that is couscous – all a reminder that you’re very far from home indeed.
FOR MORE INFO: visitmorocco.com

Local Flavour: West Coast
So it’s not Morocco, but the West Coast has a touch of spice. The Deli in Hokitika is a hub of cheeses and meats – we love the cumin flavours! In March, the township hosts the famous Wildfoods Festival, where you’ll indulge in fare such as pukeko, pickled punga and duck giblets. For a sip of West Coast history, head north to Greymouth to the Monteith’s Brewery and then dine at The Bay House Restaurant in Tauranga Bay.

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