Fez medina, Morocco: a food tour with Gail Leonard
Complete Morocco have recently hosted a press trip to Fes for The Guardian website, sending Richard Sprenger to stay at the gorgeous Riad Maison Bleue whilst touring the Medina and souks with Gail Leonard – a British guide who has worked in the Medina of Fes for 4 years.
In this fascinating film, Gail takes Richard on an insightful tour of the Medina visiting the local bread oven, honey souks, produce sellers, street-food vendors and local tea den, sampling their wares along the way including chickpea quiche (Chalouan), mountain honey and even stuffed camel spleen!
Fes is an amazing city; a rabbit warren with over 9,000 narrow streets and alleyways thought to be the largest car-free urban area in the world! It justifiably claims to be the most complete medieval city in existence; its beehive of busy streets a working model of the way life was lived when the world was still young. Although no longer the capital, Fès is decidedly one of humanity’s heirlooms, and it remains the very heart and pulse of Morocco.
One of the great cities of Islam, Fes is packed with magnificent architecture, steeped in culture and is undoubtedly Morocco’s culinary capital. Food is central to Moroccan culture, with meal times playing a pivotal part in family life. Over the centuries the cooks in the royal kitchens have refined Moroccan cooking methods and created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today.
Besides offering fascinating food tours of Fes Medina and Souks, Gail and her business partner Michelle Reeves also offer trips to the Middle Atlas Mountains, visiting the Berber women’s co-operative to learn to hand-roll couscous, help with olive harvesting and learn to press your own oil; wine tours and tastings in the vineyards of Meknes; traditional drum making with a specialist artisan, and even creating your own beauty products with Moroccan experts using ancient recipes and techniques.
A Fashion tour of the local markets of the Atlas focuses on textiles; teaching you about the traditional techniques of weaving to help you understand the designs and what they mean. Henna parties for Women and children give you the chance to try on celebratory kaftans, have an intricately designed temporary henna tatoo and a private oriental dance lesson.