A country best known for the splendours of its royal palaces, coastal havens, lavish Riads, disorientating souk streets, and local artisanry is much deeper in experience than what initially meets the eye. Hearing your first early morning call to prayer hum above the waking city will let you know that you are not at home anymore. Seeing the mid-day vibrant contrast of the orange clay architecture against electric blue skies will draw you further into the lively yet ancient culture of this modern kingdom. Savouring local cuisines, both unexpected and familiar will tickle your taste buds. Smelling the fresh air during an evening venture through the Merzouga desert on camel back will cleanse your mind in anticipation of a unique night of traditional drums and crackling campfire under the Saharan stars. Awakening your senses is inevitable in this North African paradise.
Welcome to Morocco
Whether you are feeling upbeat or contemplative, our team has selected some of Morocco’s finest artistic exports – bookworms, melophiles and movie buffs, enjoy!
Morocco has long been the muse of many authors. Dive into a world of expatriates learning and adapting to the ins-and-outs of a unique culture; of struggles endured during political power plays; of ancient traditions carving their place in a new modern society with shifting views.
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca
Synopsis: Inspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, acclaimed English travel writer Tahir Shah shares a highly entertaining account of making an exotic dream come true. By turns hilarious and harrowing, here is the story of his family’s move from the gray skies of London to the sun-drenched city of Casablanca, where Islamic tradition and African folklore converge – and nothing is as easy as it seems.
Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
2005, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist
Synopsis: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco. The book begins as four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain. What has driven them to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger? Sensitively written with beauty and boldness, this is a gripping book about what propels people to risk their lives in search of a better future.
Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail
Malika Oufkir and Michèle Fitoussi
2001, International Best-Seller
Synopsis: Born in 1953, Malika is the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the closest aide of the king of Morocco. Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her childhood in the seclusion of the court harem. Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika and her family were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fifteen years, the last ten of which they spent in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to make a courageous escape. Stolen Lives is a heart-rending account of bravery in the face of extreme deprivation and an unforgettable story of a woman’s personal journey to freedom.
The Spider’s House
Synopsis: Set in Fez during that country’s 1954 nationalist uprising, The Spider’s House is perhaps Paul Bowles’ most beautifully subtle novel, richly descriptive of its setting, and uncompromising in its characterizations. Exploring once again the dilemma of the outsider in an alien society, and the gap in understanding between cultures, this book is dramatic, brutally honest, and shockingly relevant to today’s political situation in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The Last Storytellers
Synopsis: Marrakech is the heart and lifeblood of Morocco’s ancient storytelling tradition. For nearly a thousand years, storytellers have gathered in Jemaa el Fna, to recount ancient folktales and fables to rapt audiences. But this unique chain of oral tradition that has passed seamlessly from generation to generation is teetering on the brink of extinction. Richard Hamilton tracked down the last few remaining storytellers in the labyrinth of the Marrakech medina, and recorded their stories replete with the mysteries and beauty of the Maghreb.
Enjoy these selected albums featuring some of Morocco’s most iconic voices and sounds. Simply sign-up for a free Spotify account and click play. Spotify is an online service that brings millions of songs to your fingertips – all genres, all eras, all for free! Our team is racking up some major hours on this program. Yes, it’s that good.
Whether the cameras were rolling in Morocco or the plot involves a slew of Moroccan protagonists, these TV series and movies will carry you to another time in another place. Netflix and Amazon Prime are no-contract streaming services that bring you thousands of movies, TV series and documentaries – right to your living room (or tablet). If you don’t already have an account, they are absolutely worth considering! At less than $16/month (taxes included) each, they are a very affordable way to explore the silver screen from countries far away.
To truly understand a culture, you must taste their food. Moroccan culture is centered around hospitality and personal interactions – and their cuisine is a pure reflection of this. Simmer slowly. Infuse repeatedly. Let the flavours mix. Spend time with each other. Moroccans wouldn’t have it any other way.
Moroccan Lamb Tajine (without needing a tajine pot!)
It may be impossible to visit Morocco without falling for their quintessential culinary dish – the humble tajine. No matter your mood, there is a tajine for you. Feel like having savoury poultry? There is a tajine for that. Seafood? There is a tajine for that as well. Vegetarian? They have you covered. Breakfast? Our favourite! We’ve selected an amazing lamb tajine recipe to share with you. Not only is it delicious with minimal prep time, it can be made with a Dutch oven instead of the traditional clay tajine pot (as not many of us have one handy!). Simply set to simmer, sit back, relax, and enjoy the notes of North African spices dancing in the air. Dinner is almost ready!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Slow cook Time: 1½ hours
Traditional Moroccan Mint Tea
“The first glass is as bitter as life, the second glass is as strong as love, the third glass is as gentle as death”. A cornerstone of Moroccan hospitality and culture, mint tea is a real treat meant to be enjoyed with those around you. From simple family breakfasts to large formal receptions, you can count on freshly infused mint tea making an appearance. It is served to calm down. To slow down. To relax, to look at the world, to debate, to connect. It is offered as a gesture of kindness, to welcome a new guest or to renew friendships. Hospitality is everything in Morocco. Enjoy!
RECONNECT AS PEOPLE
This share has very little to do with Morocco, but it is something that will leave you feeling good. John Krasinski, best known for his role in the US version of The Office, highlights some good news from around the world. It’s literally called Some Good News.
Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.
– Leo Tolstoy