Monday, 13 November 2017

MOROCCO - WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN CASABLANCA

Hello everyone,

It has been over two weeks since we came back from our five weeks of travelling around the world, eating, drinking and having a good time.  If you followed my Instagram posts, you would know that we literally did a round the world trip, starting in Morocco, then Italy, Cuba, South America and then back across the ocean to New Zealand and finally home to Australia.

Anyhow, I am over it now and ready to tell you all about our holidays, starting with Morocco.

Our first stop was in Casablanca.  We took the advice of our friends who have been to this city before not to spend more then two days and that is what we planned.  We landed at the airport in the middle of the night and went straight to our small boutique hotel, Hotel and Spa Le Doge, situated within walking distance of the Old Medina.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
It was furnished and styled in a true Art-Deco fashion with plush sofas and curtains, beautiful stained glass windows, a spiral staircase covered in red velvet and brightly painted rooms, each was decorated in its own distinctive style and was given a name.  Ours was painted emerald green and called La Tempica.

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
Breakfast was served on a terrace on the top of the building which provided a sweeping view over Casablanca.  After breakfast, we set out on foot to visit the Old Medina (traditionally the old walled part of a North African town), one of the "must see" places in Casablanca.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
As we entered the main square of the Medina through one of the multiple entrances, it felt that as if we had stepped into the  world of 1001 Arabian nights. We were deafened by the noises coming from the donkeys tied up to the posts everywhere, shop-keepers selling their wares, loud sounds of motorbike horns coming from the riders dashing up and down along the narrow and winding paths on full throttle and above all these noises, the overpowering voice calling believers to prayers coming from the mosque's loudspeakers which can be heard all over the city.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
The next few hours we spent zigzagging up and down narrow streets looking at the historical and monumental buildings, watching women choosing their fruit and vegetables spread in abundance on the tables of the market holders, smelling the exotic spices and sampling the dried figs  and apricots, marinated olives and locally baked bread.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
" 
IF YOU ASK ME WHAT WAS THE MAIN REASON 
WE CAME TO MOROCCO, I WOULD SAY ITS FOOD
"
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
By lunch time our senses went into complete overload and we decided to leave the Medina and have lunch at the famous Rick's Cafe,  designed to recreate the bar where Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman met in the movie classic, Casablanca.  
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
The lunch gave us much needed energy to continue our explorations so we set our feet to the other landmark that is a "must see" while in Casablanca, Hassan II Mosque.  It is the largest mosque in Morocco and 13th largest in the world, its beautifully ornate minaret stands tall to 210 meters and the tallest in the world.  Its other distinctive feature, though totally unrelated to the religion, is that it is one of not many mosques in the world that opens its doors for non-Muslim visitors, however you are not allowed to wander inside on your own so we joined the English speaking guided tour that which takes place few times a day.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
The following day we took a cab to the Quartie Habous, a small village lined with shops and eateries, where French influence is blended with the traditional Moroccan way of life projected in the architecture and design of this area.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

After strolling through the artisan markets of the Quartie, we stopped at lunch in one of the well known restaurants called Resto Zayna for a delectable Moroccan lunch.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
followed by the sublime pastries that we bought at Pattiserie Bennis Habous.  I really have a sweet tooth for good pastry and when I first walked in into this sweet heaven, I was mesmerised by the aromas coming from the shelves covered with trays and trays of pastries that literally had just come out of the oven in front of our eyes.  I wanted them all, luckily for me I just had my lunch and wasn't feeling very hungry, so instead I settled for a small box of samples.  Needless to say, they were divine.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
As we were leaving Casablanca the next day, we decided to have an early night and had dinner at the La Jasmine restaurant at out hotel.  We started with a mezze, a collection of small dishes that tantalise your taste buds and enhance your appetite, followed by traditionally cooked meat dish and a trio of refreshing ice-cream to share.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
If you ask me what was the main reason to come to Morocco, I would say my love for Middle Eastern food.  I love the smell of spices, the vibrancy of colours and most importantly, the spices and the taste of the dishes of this region and quite often cook them myself to the delight of my family and friends.


On this note, I would like to share with you a recipe Moroccan Lamb Stew.  This dish is full of the exotic flavours of the Moroccan souks that will fill your kitchen with wonderful aromas and put happy smiles on the faces of your fellow diners. 
MOROCCAN LAMB STEW
You can find this recipe and many more in MY COSMOPOLITAN KITCHEN, a collection of dishes from all over the world, inspired by my travels, experiences and the multicultural diversity of Australian food and which, with great delight, I would love to share with you.

Enjoy!!!

Anna


Linking up withe Shelbee on the Edge