Saturday, January 07, 2012

Grocery shopping in Marrakech

Meat can not get more fresh than this
In Europe we are used to go to our local supermarket to pick what food to stock in our kitchen cabinets or refrigerators. Grocery shopping in Marrakech couldn't be more different. You buy your fresh vegetables from carts or small stalls, and you go to your local butcher to get fresh meat, really fresh meat.
Vegetables sold on Djemaa el Fnaa
Local produce is sold everywhere in Marrakech. Farmers on the famous Djemaa el Fna square offer potatoes, carrots and beets in brightly coloured plastic containers.

These root vegetables are truly small scale and they are probably as organic as any similar labeled vegetable marketed in Europe.

These relatively familiar vegetables are often found side by side with other, more exotic products. Many offer the famous and highly priced argan oil, but these bottles probably just contain a fraction of the real stuff.

Green and pink olives
Oranges with fresh leaves offered on the street
In the souq you find an endless list of condiments, spices, herbs and other ingredients. These green and pink olives were found at the entrance of the souq by the Djemaa el Fnaa square.

Another famous Moroccan ingredient is the preserved lemon. The fruits are halved, placed in large glass containers with salt and water. They are used in many dishes, i.e. the famous tagine with olives, chicken and preserved lemon served in many restaurants.

In the souq there is one alley where you can buy fresh poultry. It is located not far from the Djema, and is easily found when you approach due to the terrible stench. We found the odor so strong that we hesitated to go closer.

The souq is certainly the place for herbs and spices, as well as dates, figs, nuts, oranges, and different kind of exceptionally sweet pastries, not unlike the Turkish Baklavas made with filo pastry, almond shavings and honey - much, much, much honey. 

There are supermarkets in Marrakech, but most people buy groceries the same way my mother and grandmother did fifty years ago. Back then there were small specialized shops, and you had to go to several of them in order to get what you needed for your dinner.

That is, if you are in the Medina. In Guëliz you find shops more in tune with what we in Europe are used to. So there are hope the traditional continental shopoholics in Marrakech too!!

More shopping stories from Marrakech

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