Fes The spiritual

One of the great cuisines of the world, Moroccan cooking abounds with subtle spices and intriguing flavour combinations.

Admired by foodies across the globe, Moroccan cuisine is one of the most sought-out in the world. With Jewish, Berber and Spanish influences, the dishes are often a pleasant blend of sweet and savoury, while the street food, though considered freaky by some, is mouth-watering. Yet the secret to achieving success in the kitchen is often ensuring a perfect spice blend and, with spice markets in abundance, this is no surprise.

“The best cooks in Morocco are in Fes,” is a line I’ve heard over and over even in other cities!

Morocco‘s third-largest city tends to go overlooked, and it certainly isn’t shouted about as a culinary hotspot. Even getting here – with limited flight connections and rail services – requires some effort. And once you’re inside the largest medina in Africa, a colossal walled labyrinth of around ten thousand lanes, things get even trickier.

Get hungry in Marrakesh and there’s a whole host of restaurants that crowd the Jemaa el Fna, many dishing up the same tick-box menu of tagine or pizza. Not so in Fez, where finding a good place to eat is both the challenge and the charm; book a restaurant here and someone will have to pick you up to guide you there.

In the medina street food oscillates between the bizarre and the delicious. Snails prodded with safety pins sit alongside mysterious vats of meat wedged in what resembles a yellowish, greasy lard. Tempting bowls of glistening fat olives accompany piles of sticky dates.

With a local little knowledge, or some luck, you can stumble upon candlelit riad courtyards, quirky cafés tucked down nameless alleyways and creative restaurants that are cleverly blending traditional and new styles.