On the afternoon that we arrived in Fez, we knew that our evening would be spent with a dinner with a local family. We arrived at the hotel around 3 pm and after dropping our bags inside our hotel room and freshening up a bit, we thought it would be neat to check out the mall scene. The hotel is a block and a half away from the mall. Later that evening, I learned that many of my tour mates also made their way to the mall to stock up on supplies, like snacks.
Inside the mall, we dashed towards the supermarket first. Our goal was to check out tagine, a casserole dish with a flat bottom and a conical top used in Moroccan cooking. Like in any other trips, a stop at the grocery store always give me such pleasure. I want to know what locals eat and buy.
We wasted so much time going from one aisle to another looking for wine. Later we learned that the supermarket has a separate store for wines and alcoholic drinks, which is located in another floor, more like a basement. We forgot that this is a Muslim country and why alcohol is kept in a separate store.
If you are inside the mall, you would forget where you actually are. You'd think you're in North America and not Africa. As a treat we both went to get some fro-yo and window shopped before we realized that we needed to go back soon, because call time for dinner was nearing.
We arrived at the hotel to see that my tour mates have congregated in the reception area. The front desk area was actually getting too packed. There are people leaving a pool party and also congregated in the same area as we were in.
Soon our tour bus parked in front of the hotel and one by one we boarded. After a quick count made by tour manager we were on our merry way. It was exciting to know that a dinner with a local family is included in the price of the trip, not as an optional tour most common in guided tours.
The only drive by shot I could muster on the way to dinner.
We arrived at our destination after the big tour bus we were in had to masterfully maneuver through narrow city streets just to get to our destination. The family that hosted us we found out hosts one dinner a week according to the 14-ywear old daughter Rita who enjoys mingling with the tourists. She spoke English so well, a skill she attributed from mingling with English speaking tourists that come to her home for dinner every week.
The father and the daughter Rita were the ones who entertained us, hopping from one large round table to another, while the mother and a few helpers were in the kitchen making sure the dishes come out on time. The mother was the cook and oh boy could she cook.
It was a multi-course meal and we were treated to traditional Moroccan dinner and dishes.
Soup with different sweets and biscuits as they called it.
Then, the tagine was served.
And when it was uncovered, a sound of pleasure spontaneously broke out from around the table. It was the prettiest dish I had been served so far. It was a vegetable tagine that included potatoes, artichoke, carrots, some root vegetable, dried fruits and some other vegetables I cannot remember anymore.
And much like in my household, dessert was a variety of fruits. The strawberry was particularly sweet.
We chased all these wonderful food down with a never ending supply of hot mint tea. It was easily a three-hour dinner that was filled with good food, wonderful conversation, plenty of laughter and appreciation for other culture.
Needless to say we went to bed fully satisfied that night despite the long long day that began in Rabat, lunch in Meknes and dinner in Fes.
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