Cellar Tours Blog

The best of Fez and Marrakech for Foodies

Posted by gen On April - 6 - 2011

Tara Stevens, author of  Clock Book: Recipes from a Modern Moroccan Kitchen, was kind enough to give us her favorite tips on the best places to stay and dine in Fez and Marrakech in Morocco for foodies who enjoy a bit of pampering:

Clock Book: recipes from a modern Moroccan kitchen

Alleyway - Photo Cred: Julius Honor

In Fez:

Obviously you’ve got to go and eat at the Café Clock and have a camel burger. They also do wonderful, traditional cooking classes with Souad (and sometimes me if I’m in town).

Fez Food is run by a friend of mine Gail and it’s a great way to get deeper into the culinary culture of Morocco. She does foodie tours of the medina, but also gastronomic adventures out into the hinterland. Couscous making in a remote Atlas village for example, and visits to the Meknes wineries.

The Jardin des Biehn is sensational. The ‘Caliph’s Suite’ is something else complete with private Turkish baths. And it’s keenly priced for a place of its caliber.

Dar Seffarine is the most beautifully restored traditional house I can think of anywhere in Morocco, and its owners Kate and Alla are gorgeous. Alla is an Iraqi architect, Kate’s a Norwegian photographer and their attention to detail and authenticity are second to none.

Fez Food

In Marrakech:

I always stay at Riad Tizwa because it feels like home to me. The owners Dan and Richard Bee make you feel like one of the family, its intimate, laid-back and brilliantly positioned on the edge of the medina so you can get in and out easily.

Riad Due is a great example of the sort of contemporary boutique that is starting to spring up around Morocco. It’s a light take on traditional Arabic design, a bit more irreverent and fun. Another of my favourite places to stay.

La Mamounia of course is the grande dame of Moroccan high-end hotels and since Jacque Garcia’s careful renovation is looking dazzling. Some great modern Moroccan cooking in one of the restaurants too.

If you want to get away from it all Dar JL is a handful of exclusive riads in La Palmaraie and is perfect for living out an Arabian Nights style fantasy. When I stayed I didn’t leave once.

Harem is an extraordinary getaway for women with a focus on food therapies, yoga, meditation and basically time for oneself away from the demands of work and family. It is located in the private residence of a well-known French artist, so the kind of place you don’t get to see very often.

You’ve got to spend an evening at the night market in Jemma al Fna to sample Moroccan street food.

For lunch I like Terrasse de Epices . Its nicely put together modern Moroccan fare on a contemporary designed Moroccan rooftop. They have a sister café nearby too.

Dar Cherifa is good for a traditional fare and cultural events. The owner Abdellatif owns a handful of pretty riads too.

Azar is good for a night out. The design is spectacular, by a young local designer, the food is Lebanese and there’s a great nightclub underneath for a bit of a boogie.

I also like the rooftop at Le Bab for drinks.

Gourmet Morocco

Café Clock: recipes from a modern Moroccan kitchen is available priced 15 pounds at amazon.co.uk

The southwest of France is a treasure trove of bijoux villages, spirit lifting landscapes and superb food and wine experience. The Dordogne and Perigord in particular are simply breathtaking and magical places which we cannot recommend highly enough. You can sleep in fairy tale Châteaux, meander through the region’s spectacular rivers, visit picturesque hamlets and taste some of the best traditional cuisine in France. Best of all, this is an exceptionally friendly area where you will receive a truly warm welcome.

Most beautiful villages Dordogne

Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should seriously start planning your next vacation in Dordogne/Perigord:

1. Sarlat

Most beautiful villages Dordogne

2. Perigord Truffles

Perigord Truffles

3. Domme

Perigord villages

4. Wines of Cahors

Cahors wine country

5. Brantome- Venice of Perigord

Brantome, Venice of Perigord

6. Rocamadour

Spiritual Dordogne

7. Monbazillac wine country

Monbazillac wine country

8. Monpazier

Beautiful Monpazier in Dordogne

9. Saint Cirq Lapopie

Beautiful Dordogne

10. Ancient man- Perigord is full of prehistoric sites and caves such as the Gouffre de Proumeyssac

Ancient caves in Perigord

Where to stay in Dordogne/Perigord.  We love the classic Vieux Logis in gorgeous Tremolat, the stylish and refreshingly contemporary Les Merles, the  Château de la Treyne for its Michelin starred dining and unbelievable position over the river, the Château Vigiers for golf lovers, Château les Baudry for cozy French hospitality and Le Moulin de l’ Abbaye for a romantic escapade.

What to do: Go river rafting on the Dordogne, truffle hunting, take a private cooking class, explore medieval villages, go wine tasting and vineyard hopping, enjoy long walks in the stunning countryside, take a river cruise on a traditional gabarre boat at Beynac, pop into the wine museum in Bergerac (home of the literary Cyrano de Bergerac) and riverside picnics with foie gras and local wines.

Private chauffeured tours of the Dordogne/Perigord- contact Cellar Tours for a custom designed luxurious gourmet itinerary including unique food and wine experiences.

Beautiful Dordogne