Marrakech to Essaouira

MARRAKECH

 NOMAD, Marrakech

NOMAD, Marrakech

Just above the hustle and bustle of the heart of the Medina and it's vibrant souks, you'll find Nomad, a modern Moroccan restaurant with stunning views. You can even see the majestic Atlas Mountains on a clear day. It serves up local and international dishes using fresh local produce and fragrant spices, the Moroccan way. The menu changes regularly but never fails to whet your appetite. 

From left to right; Courgette Fritters with a herb and lemon yoghurt dip; Spiced Lamb Shank Tagine with Prunes and Almonds served with a buttery Barley, and to finish; a deliciously fragrant Saffron Icecream. Prices average out at about £7 - £17.  I definitely recommend paying this place a visit for lunch if you ever find yourself in Marrakech.

 El Fenn (Photo from website)

El Fenn (Photo from website)

After eating what felt like every single type of tagine, I needed a break and craved something else, aka PASTA! So we headed to a place that was recommended to us by many, El Fenn, a restaurant / Riad / Spa / the most beautiful place everrrr! It serves up modern Meditteranean-Moroccan inspired dishes, using seasonal produce. I was instantly seduced by the decor of cascading plants that grace all THREE courtyards so effortlessly. We're led upstairs through what felt like a maze, taking in the beauty of this place with every turn and level until we got to the roof terrace.

My friend had the Braised Lemon Cockerel with a 'millefeuille' of Aubergine and jus de Moutarde, which was good but didn't blow his mind. I went for the simple but tasty Roast Tomato and Garlic Spaghetti. It's exactly what I was after and it didn't disappoint. The prices are similar to what you'd pay in London, averaging at about £12 - £18 for a main.

OK so this place is gorgeous and does great food, but I do have to mention that it's pretty much just tourists here. Saying that, it was nice to celebrate being on holiday here with the new friends we made on the plane over.

I highly recommend booking an excursion to the High Atlas Mountains for one day. I booked our day excursion in advance with Desert Majesty. We stopped off for lunch at a beautiful restaurant in Ait Ben Haddou. There are so many little Berber villages en route and in the area so when it came to ordering, I went straight for the Berber Tagine. A flavour bomb of spices and tender, melt-in-the-mouth lamb with potatoes, vegetables, olives and sweet, soft prune. YUM! It looked so humble when it arrived but the flavours were just amazing. The dish on the right is a vegetable couscous, so fluffy and light, paired with tender vegetables spiced just perfectly. Moroccans are universally acclaimed for making the best couscous and I see why. They steam granules of semolina and use their hands to rub the granules so they fluff up perfectly. Watch out for my recipe for Moroccan couscous.

ESSAOUIRA

 Essaouira pronounced 'essa-weera' is a beautiful port city on the Atlantic Ocean. It's a much cooler and calmer sister of Marrakech. The vibe here is completely different! The people are more relaxed, it feels spacious and the days seem to last forever (in a good way).  We stayed in a charming Riad in the Medina (old town) that was right by the main square with great views over the port and sea. Having breakfast every morning with this view was amazing, something I could definitely get used to.  The Medina of Essaouira is lively with locals as well as tourists. I loved exploring the narrow streets filled with aromas of spices, leather and wood. As soon as you hit the open market, you can smell the fresh local produce. That's the best part of Essaouira for me, the bustling market where locals go to buy everything from herbs and meat to tea glasses and their veils.

Essaouira pronounced 'essa-weera' is a beautiful port city on the Atlantic Ocean. It's a much cooler and calmer sister of Marrakech. The vibe here is completely different! The people are more relaxed, it feels spacious and the days seem to last forever (in a good way).

We stayed in a charming Riad in the Medina (old town) that was right by the main square with great views over the port and sea. Having breakfast every morning with this view was amazing, something I could definitely get used to.

The Medina of Essaouira is lively with locals as well as tourists. I loved exploring the narrow streets filled with aromas of spices, leather and wood. As soon as you hit the open market, you can smell the fresh local produce. That's the best part of Essaouira for me, the bustling market where locals go to buy everything from herbs and meat to tea glasses and their veils.

 So many different varieties of olives

So many different varieties of olives

 Olives and preserved lemons

Olives and preserved lemons

 One of many herb carts throughout the Medina 

One of many herb carts throughout the Medina 

 A cart full of traditional Moroccan Bread called 'Khobz', which you can find anywhere and everywhere in Morocco. Bread is a Moroccan staple eaten with almost every meal.

A cart full of traditional Moroccan Bread called 'Khobz', which you can find anywhere and everywhere in Morocco. Bread is a Moroccan staple eaten with almost every meal.

 Local butchers

Local butchers

 Hidden away in one of the narrow alleys just off the main market is a little restaurant that serves up grilled sardines fresh from the port. A must try if you ever find yourself in Essaouira.

Hidden away in one of the narrow alleys just off the main market is a little restaurant that serves up grilled sardines fresh from the port. A must try if you ever find yourself in Essaouira.

 Fragrant spices

Fragrant spices

I fell in love with Morocco, from Marrakech to Essaouira and can't recommend it enough to anyone who's ever thought of going. I'm looking forward to going back there and exploring the other cities this beautiful country has to offer.