Adventure and History
Come experience the food, people, and culture of Morocco. Zingerman’s has teamed up with Peggy Markel, long-time fellow culinary adventurer and food guide extraordinaire, to create an unforgettable tour. From a private guest house in the Palmeraie, surrounded by lush gardens of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, to the bustling, lively markets of Marrakech with their towers of fresh spices, to the wonderful traditional cooking of the mountain villages and sunny seaside towns of the region, Peggy has created deep relationships as a beloved insider. This tour is a Feast for the Senses.
The trip is designed for experienced travelers with adventurous spirit and a passion for great food that is still made the way it was done hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago – food that is deeply connected to the people and culture of the place. Our guests are adults of all ages, and share a spirit of openness and desire to experience a cuisine and culture that may be very new to us. And, our guests need to enjoy walking. One area is only accessible by short hike or mule ride.
We keep the group small. Up to 12 guests traveling with one experienced host from Zingerman’s, plus Peggy Markel as our bon vivant!
What About Accommodations?
Hand-picked housing to reflect the local sense of place.
We will spend six of our nine nights at a truly wonderful private guest house outside of Marrakech, an oasis of beauty, comfort, and warm hospitality. We will spend two nights in a charming, comfortable kasbah perched high on a mountaintop in a Berber village. And we will spend one night in a clean, whitewashed little inn on the seashore, where we will experience the romance of candlelight and the incredibly bright starry night, since the inn itself does not have electricity. This inn also features shared bathrooms. Together these three accommodations will enable us to experience the welcoming atmosphere and rich melding of cultures that make Morocco a Feast for the Senses.
Wonderful food – nearly all meals. We will enjoy traditional regional specialties made from local, fresh ingredients, some of which we’ve made ourselves, as well as local wines.
Cooking lessons with Moroccans whose families have been making these dishes for generations. We will learn how to make khobz, the traditional Moroccan bread, with our own hands and watch it bake in traditional clay ovens; become familiar with the tagine (the distinctive Moroccan terracotta cooking pot) and the numerous styles of dishes that are made in them, plus other traditional Moroccan dishes including the Pastilla (chicken pie with spiced eggs, almonds, and cinnamon) and kefta (Moroccan meatballs).
You will have a rich experience connecting with the Moroccan people and culture, from lively Marrakech and its world famous market, to a calm Berber mountain village with a fabulous bird’s eye view of stunning Mt. Toubkal at nearly 14,000 ft, to a breezy seaside port town, with a camel ride on the beach, no less! We will explore this fascinating region and experience the warmth of its people and come home smiling and with our bags smelling of cumin and spiced coffee.
A Zingerman’s tour host and our guide will be at your disposal at all times.
A folder with information about the food and locations that we will visit during the tour
Transfer from the Marrakech airport
Transportation by air-conditioned private vans during the tour
What’s Not Included?
Alcoholic beverages (other than beverages with dinner or when they are specifically included in the itinerary)
Personal spending money
Transportation to the Marrakech airport on the day of departure; this can be easily arranged with the guest house.
Day 1 Marrakech Jnane Tamsna
Welcome aperitif and dinner in the enchanting private guesthouse gardens of Jnane Tamsna.
Day 2 Marrakech Jnane Tamsna
After breakfast, tour ethnobotanist Gary Martin’s organic vegetable garden at Jnane Tamsna. Our first cooking lesson with chef Baija will be on Chicken and Pear Tagine and Caviar d’Aubergine. The tagine is the classic conical-shaped terracotta cooking pot of Morocco, and we will each have our own tagine to work with. We will taste these dishes for lunch served in the garden.
After lunch, relax in the quietness of Tamsna. Clay court tennis is available, as is time by the pool. Optional overview tour of the Marrakech medina and walking through the souks.
Dinner at Jnane Tamsna.
After breakfast, a hands-on lesson on couscous made in the traditional couscoussier. Lunch in the garden. Afterwards, we’ll forage through the spice market in the Medina. Learn to identify true saffron, and the various ingredients of ras-el-hanout, the traditional mixture of herbs and spices used in many Moroccan dishes, especially tagine.
Afternoon options: Medina shopping, Yves Saint Laurent Museum, Hammam (traditional steam bath and scrub), massage. Dinner at Jnane Tamsna.
Day 3 Marrakech Jnane Tamsna
After breakfast, a fusion cooking class will be given on Spanish Moorish cooking. Almond soup, almond cake and tortilla. Lunch in the garden.
Afternoon and evening free, and dinner on your own. Private guides available for personal excursions; expenses are the responsibility of the guest. Recommendations will be given.
Tonight, pack for the mountains.
(Large luggage will stay at Tamsna. A small duffel bag should be used for our three days away.)
Day 4 Marrakech Jnane Tamsna
After breakfast, drive across the Haouz plain to the market town of Tnine Ourika to discover the Jardin de Senteurs et Cultures, a picturesque organic garden of aromatic herbs, planted by Jalil Belkamel. Here we’ll learn about essential oils used in Moroccan aromatherapy, cuisine and massage.
Before our picnic lunch under a tented shade, there will be a demonstration on baking bread in traditional Tachelhit (Berber) clay ovens.
In the afternoon, we will travel up into the Imlil Valley to learn about the region's flora, including wild thyme, carob trees, Atlas figs, and capers, en route to the Kasbah di Toubkal - Morocco's highest mountain retreat.
A short but winded walk up will take us through the walnut grove to the Kasbah on foot, or via a stylish mule ride. Dinner and overnight at the Kasbah du Toubkal.
Kasbah du Toubkal
After breakfast, we'll hike along mountain slopes to visit the walnut groves, home gardens, and terraces of the Tachelhit Berber mountain agriculture. Tea on top of the world. Lunch or picnic at the Kasbah. Afternoon free for rest, relaxation, hammam, visiting Imlil, or additional hiking.
Evening will bring a cooking demonstration of lamb and fig tagine, which we will then enjoy for dinner. Overnight at the Kasbah du Toubkal.
Prepare to leave for the coast after early breakfast.
Kasbah du Toubkal
After breakfast, travel about 4-1/2 hours to the Atlantic coast to visit the Portuguese port of old Mogador, now known as Essaouira. We’ll enjoy a lunch of the freshest grilled fish at the port. Peruse the carpets and weavings to perfect one's appreciation and eye for Berber design. Visit the music stores for the best selection of Gnawa and Andalous tunes or the woodcarvers who produce artifacts of fragrant thuya wood. Or if time permits, sit in one of Essaouira French-style café’s for journal writing and people watching. Afterwards, it’s off to Sidi Kaouki and Sidi Kaouki Inn for an overnight stay in a village setting. No electricity - just candlelight, stars and the sound of the waves. We will taste the coastal flavors of Sidi Kaouki. Dinner to follow and perhaps some dancing Kaouki-style. Overnight at Sidi Kaouki Inn, under a blanket of stars like you've never seen.
Day 7 Essaouira
Sidi Kaouki Inn
Breakfast on the terrace. Afterwards, a stroll along one of the west coast’s most enchanted beaches. Take a camel ride, or take in the sea while writing in your journal. Pop in the kitchen to see the preparation of Shakshuka, or Berber omelette as it’s known. Hearty and delicious, it will hold us over for the journey back to Marrakech.
We’ll stop at one of the Argan Oil Cooperatives to visit with the local women proudly cracking and pressing the nuts that they have gathered, and learn about this unique and indigenous oil. Argan products will be available for purchase. A ride back through the open plains to Marrakech will take us back to Jnane Tamsna, our home away from home, in time to settle back in, relax, and have an aperitif. Dinner by fireside.
Day 8 Marrakech Jnane Tamsna
After breakfast, we’ll have our last cooking class with Baija on Pastilla and Kefta. Lunch under the carob tree with poetry reading and sharing of the week's impressions.
Option: Last minute shopping in the medina . Or Hammam, perhaps?
Evening presents our Gala dinner complete with Andalusian music. Au revoir.
Day 9 Marrakech Jnane Tamsna
Departure after breakfast. Please arrange transport with the reception of Jnane Tamsna. You will be billed for any extra charges that you might accrue outside of the program.
Day 10 Marrakech Jnane Tamsna
*One thing to note: this itinerary is the current plan, and, things may change. We will make every effort to provide the tours and experiences that are described above. However, the nature of the places we’ll be visiting — not typical tourist destinations — means that plans may change at the last minute. Also, you always have the option of skipping a particular excursion, but please note that we will be unable to make refunds for any missed meals or other events.