Food holds a special place in the heart of most Moroccans. Forming an integral part of their culture and history, local dishes are famed for their strong flavours, extravagant spices and colourful presentation, which is why they're such a treat to eat. Despite the deliciousness of Moroccan cuisine, however, it's actually quite simple, in the sense that menus revolve around a handful of trademark dishes and long-held traditions. If you'd like to learn more about the significance of these middle eastern masterpieces and how they're made, read on - we've got the goods in four sumptuous facts!
1. Bread-making is an art
If you want to step inside Morocco's food culture, then the first port of call on any whistle-stop tour is to explore the art of bread-making. No Moroccan home is complete without some white stuff on the table - it's an absolute staple of the national diet. Children are taught how to make it, family recipes are passed down through the generations as a rite of passage. Most bread is made from locally grown grains, which are used to create a type of circular flatbread that's just perfect for dipping in hummus. If you want to try it and see for yourself, then the Hummus and Falafel Bowl from Moroccan Feast makes a great dinner party starter.
2. Tea is a mainstay of the Moroccan diet
Bread may be a staple of the Moroccan diet, but so too is the national drink: tea. It's not what you first think when you hear the word – rather, it's brewed in a very particular way that gives it a flavour like no tea you've tasted before. A commingling of gunpowder-style green tea, heaps of sugar and fresh sprigs of mint are all added to a steeping brew. This is a syrupy-sweet concoction that will leave you licking your lips for hours. Served as either a breakfast accompaniment or an after-dinner dessert, it's a real treat for those with a sweet tooth. Order it iced from Mezbah if you'd like to see for yourself.
3. Eating tagine is a social occasion
One of the most marvellous things about Moroccan food culture is that meals are considered a communal affair, especially when tagine is on the menu. Taking its name from the conical clay pot that it's cooked in, tagine is served piping hot and is presented in a single dish that feeds everyone around the table. Each diner is expected to stick to their own triangle, scooping up their broth with some homemade bread. It's then piled high with meat and vegetables before being eaten. To recreate such a scene at a social gathering of your own, order the Lamb Shank Tagine from Kazbah and enjoy!
4. Couscous is considered Morocco's national dish
Couscous is the de-facto national dish of Morocco and the country's citizens are very particular about its preparation. Steamed above a pot of boiling vegetables, the dish is fluffed by hand for an hour or more to make sure the end result is up to scratch. Served with eggplants, onion and any other vegetable that takes your fancy, it not only tastes great but is super healthy too. Want an example? Order up the delicious Roasted Pumpkin and Cous Cous Salad from Chicken Confidential.
Which of these delicious dishes will you choose to try first? If you can't decide, throw a Moroccan-themed dinner party for one and order the lot from Deliveroo!