The One Food You Must Try in...Morocco!
If you've been following my adventures in Morocco on Instagram or Twitter, what I'll say is the "must try" of Morocco will not surprise you in the slightest. It's the thing that I believe ties everything together in this country, and it's certainly what I've had the most of by a long shot. I was actually going through photos I'd taken of this particular delicacy and it occurred to me that I already had this covered on photos I'd taken on Instagram, so I decided that instead of including the professional entourage of photos like I usually do, I'd merely embed an Instagram photo and video that are emblematic of my love for this. I haven't yet done a post with embedded Instagram photos anyhow, and since I'm always looking to do different things, this seems as good a time as any.
As far as my choice of "food," I switched things up a bit on this one for a few reasons. Firstly, I want this series to be eclectic and diverse. Secondly, some of my vegetarian and vegan readers have let me know in the comments that they'd like me, for once, to perhaps choose something other than meat (See my posts on Bosnia and Herzegovina and Romania for more details on that. Whoops!).
This really isn't even a food per se, but since it's my blog and my series, I'm going to consult myself on this one and make the tough decision that it fits within the parameters. The fourth addition to the One Food Series, and the one food you must try in Morocco is...Moroccan Mint Tea!
You might be thinking, "but Chris, I've had mint tea before, and it's just not that exciting." And my response would be, "Oh, I see you've never been to Morocco." Before coming to Morocco, I've probably had give or take a thousand cups of mint tea in my life, and it's actually my tea of preference (other than Turkish tea, which is essentially the gasoline for my life in Turkey). But I swear, when I first had this tea with a mint flavour strong enough to hospitalize you, politely balanced out by a heavenly portion of sugar, it's like I was trying mint tea for the first time in my life.
I should note that the way in which this tea is made is actually quite typical of North Africa, and variations can most certainly be found in Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and Mauritania (it's also known as Maghrebi Mint Tea in reference to its presence across this region.) In fact, when I posted the picture above on Facebook, one of my good friends in Istanbul with, an American with Tunisian roots noted, "This is my favorite from Tunisia too. We usually roast some pine nuts and throw them in the tea. Delicious!" Generally speaking though, it's most closely associated with Morocco, for one reason or another.
Mint Tea is central to life in Morocco from preparation to reception, and everything in between. Like Turkey, tea in Morocco serves as an effective social lubricant of sorts - it's a common ground upon which all interactions can take place. As Alcohol isn't prevalent in Morocco, I would argue that tea houses serve the function of bars in a sense, which underlies the importance this tea has.
All the history aside, it's just a joy to drink. I have been having mint tea with "just a little sugar" with most meals at this point because I know I'll miss it that much. It's one of those things I'm just sure I won't be able to recreate at home. I've tried to be a willing participant in tea culture here, as the video below might indicate.
I'll likely do another post later just on the food in Morocco as I've been that enamoured (tajine, for example, is incredible), but to me this is something that you cannot come to this country and not take part in. It's not just something to "try," but something to actively participate in and engage with. In short, Drink Moroccan mint tea every change you get, my friends!
Have you been to Morocco before or is it on your bucket-list? What did you think of the food there? Did you try the mint tea? Was it as good for you as it was for me (no pun intended)? Any and all thoughts and commentary are welcome, as per usual!