What to Bring Home when Traveling to Morocco?
Travelers to Morocco will find an astonishing array of delicacies to tempt their palate, with traditional Moroccan foods ranging from very simple fare like homemade Moroccan bread dipped in organic olive oil to a wonderful blend of ingredients and flavors, such as those found in couscous and tagine preparations.
While many business travelers and tourists are satisfied with sampling these foods, they know you can plan a food-focused culinary tour of Morocco or at least try to find traditional Moroccan cooking classes while there.
Of course, you can’t get on a plane using a hot tagine or preparing couscous, but what exactly can you bring from Morocco in the way of food products? It’s always a good idea to check the customs laws in your destination or home country, but in general, dried, preserved, and cooked foods are fine for storing checked baggage. The following slides show what many Moroccans themselves choose to take out of the country when traveling abroad.
Make sure all food products are well wrapped and labeled outside so that customs officials know what’s inside. Also, remember to declare all food products on any customs documents you are asked to fill out
1. Moroccan Cookies
Sweet things first! When you board a plane outside of Morocco, you will always see hand-carried travelers still wrapped in bakery boxes. It’s the perfect way to ensure that traditional sweets like kebab el ghazal, chebakia, and peanut slippers arrive together, but if you want to pack them in your luggage, many stores sell cheap plastic storage containers that help protect the fragile candy. from crushing or tossing around. Make sure the packages are well packed, stuffing them in parchment paper or other fillers to keep the cookies comfortably packed on the trip home.
Why bring cookies home? Well, many of us like to give them gifts, and the Morocco family abroad is grateful to receive sweets from their homeland.
2. Organic Oil
One of the most treasured Moroccan products is argan, which is the light nutty oil extracted from the kernels of the argan tree. This wonderful culinary oil is not only delicious on its own – just dip it in a piece of crusty bread but the cosmetic grade oil is celebrated as a beauty product. Argan oil outside of Morocco is quite expensive, so it makes sense to take some back with you for personal use or as a gift. You will need to secure the cap of any oil you pack in your luggage (you can do this with tape) and then wrap the bottle tightly with plastic.
3. Moroccan Amlou
While traveling in Morocco, you will likely have the opportunity to sample amlou, a delicious addictive spread made with argan oil, almonds, and honey. They add weight to your bag, and as a delicacy, they don’t come cheap, but you may find the splurge is worth it. Make sure the jar lid is closed, then wrap the entire container tightly with plastic wrap or a plastic bag.
Alternatively, use some argan oil that you will bring home and make your own amlou; Maybe a lot easier than you think!
This gourmet spice grows in the Taliouine region of Morocco, where it is grown for export and local use. Known as the most expensive spice in the world due to its labor-intensive harvesting process, saffron is considered a staple in Moroccan cuisine and used in many other cuisines as well. You are likely to find them at reasonable prices in Morocco compared to supermarket prices in your country, so be sure to take advantage of the stock.
5. Ras el Hanout
The name of this famous Moroccan mix translates to “head of the shop” in reference to the fact that it is the best product offered by the Moroccan spices seller. It’s a complex mixture of spices and will vary from store to store, so you may want to buy small amounts from several stores to compare.
The sky is the limit when it comes to uses, but searching for Moroccan recipes with ras el hanout will give you some ideas for how to add them to your cooking. If you are not traveling to Morocco and want to try it, consider buying Ras El Hanout online.
6. Other Moroccan Spices and Dried Herbs
Saffron and ras el hanout aren’t the only spices that are stocked, of course. Moroccan cuisine makes use of a number of other spices and herbs such as ginger, red pepper, cumin, turmeric, anise seeds, cinnamon, fenugreek, and others. All this will tempt you in the Moroccan spice market, and you will find them more affordable and in larger quantities than what they are used to in the western supermarket. Ziploc bags will help preserve flavor and freshness, but aromatic spices like anise and licorice should be in their own packaging. That’s because the strong flavors can leach into other foods, especially other ground spices.
7. Olives, Harissa and other preserved Spices
Sure, you can buy olives and harissa (a chili spice) outside of Morocco, but nothing beats the flavors and prices of these preserved foods in their home country. Olives are very popular throughout Morocco, both for eating and as a condiment in cooked dishes, bread, and salads. After tasting some of the many varieties available (olives in chermoula and olives in harissa are just two), you’ll need to bring them home to yourself and others.
Wrap the dyed olives tightly in several layers of plastic bags (ziplock bags also work well) and they will be nicely folded in a bag. Placing wrapped olive oil in a plastic storage container will add an extra layer of protection and help avoid food odors in your packed clothes. No need to worry about lack of cooling for several days or more; They’ve preserved food and are sold in open-air markets with no risk of spoiling. But refrigerate it as soon as you get home.
8 .Preserved lemon
Preserved lemons provide a key flavor to many Moroccan dishes. And while they are easy to make at home, they need to sit undisturbed for a month or more before they can be used. Nothing beats the convenience of picking up some really perfect cooking. For a particularly tart and tart flavor, look for soft lemons that keep their age like the ones pictured here. It will likely be delivered to you in a flimsy plastic bag. Simply secure inside another bag or two or stick them into a bowl or plastic container. Like olives, they’ll be fine without refrigeration until you get home.
Khlea is a seasoned Moroccan preserved meat that is packed in olive oil and fat. If you’re already a fan of jerky games, chances are you’ll overindulge in such home-made Moroccan fare as Khlea and Eggs or Khlea and Lentils. Look for beef khlea rather than lamb, as the latter can be very gummy or off-flavor. Vendors in the old city of Fez are famous for their cell, but you will find them in other cities as well. It will be packed in a plastic container for you, but be sure to add another layer of plastic bag or wrap around it for extra protection.
Salted ghee preserved butter. You’ll see it’s unpleasantly labeled as rancid, stinky, and more, but in truth, this very pungent concoction adds a unique flavor to many traditional dishes. (No, the end result isn’t bothersome or expensive in the least!) You have to give it a try and you’ll probably enjoy the buttery couscous, harira, and riffsa. Know that a little goes a long way, so a teaspoon is often enough to do the trick. However, some Moroccans eat it as a spread, but such die-hard traditionalists are now few and far between.