Culinary tours usually involve some hands on cooking, dining at fine restaurants, wine tasting and shopping for ingredients at local markets.
Culinary Tours to MoroccoThe cuisine of Morocco has been influenced by native Berber cuisine, Arabic Andalusian cuisine, Turkish cuisine, and Middle Eastern cuisine brought by the Arabs. French influence came later and the fusion between traditional Moroccan and French cuisine is at the heart of many of the fine-dining experiences in Morocco today.
Couscous is probably the most famous Moroccan dish originating with the Berbers. One of the main methods of cooking in Morocco is using the tagine, an earthenware dish with a conical shaped lid. The dishes described as tagines (because they are cooked in one) are Moroccan slow-cooked meat, fruit and vegetable dishes which are almost invariably made with mutton or chicken. My personal favorite is Djaj Mqalli a chicken tagine cooked with olives and preserved lemons.
Cooking in Marrakech
La Maison Arabe in Marrakech is a luxurious Riad with 17 rooms. It's a bit larger than some traditional Riads and I found this to mean the service was a little less personal. However the food is fantastic, breakfast is cooked right in front of you in the traditional manner. The cooking workshops offered take place in their other property just outside the medina of Marrakech. The workshops generally get excellent reviews, click here for one of them.
There are several more cooking schools you can go to for just a day or two in Marrakech as well. There's the Dar Liqama where the Rhode School of Cuisine and Epiculinary offer week long Moroccan cooking classes in combination with a stay at the Riad.
Souk Cuisine is a Moroccan cooking school started by a Dutch chef, in Marrakech. You can enjoy week long courses here in combination with a stay at the elegant Chambres d'Amis, or just come for the day and learn how to make your favorite Moroccan dishes.
Culinary Tours in the rest of Morocco
In Fes, Morocco's cultural capital, Moroccan chef Lahcen Beqqi offers several culinary tours in and around his home city. Most of the cooking classes take place in the kitchen of Riad Tafilalet where you are welcome to stay as well.
Outside Rabat - Gourmet safari offers a week long stay at Villa Bourdoud. Situated along the coast, the villa is very comfortable, cooking classes take place in the well-appointed kitchen. Excursions include local bazaars, wineries (around Meknes) and a little sightseeing.
For a comprehensive list of cooking vacations in Morocco check out Infohub, or contact the above Riad's via e-mail and book your own culinary tour.
More Culinary Tours in North Africa
It's almost impossible to find a culinary tour in Egypt so you'll have to ask a local chef for lessons, or just enjoy the food while you're there. But Tunisia is catching on, and there's a good culinary vacation run by chef Salim Ben Mami who runs Cafe Collage in California.