Mahlaba literally means”dairy shop” but actually it goes beyond that. Mahlabas are our “Mcdonald’s” only with healthier options. They’re our saviours in hungry moments. If you have a working mother, you can grab a breakfast formula (juice or yoghurt and sandwich), or a snack for snack time.
|A modern Mahlaba with seats and tables|
There is a sacred relationship between Moroccans and their Mahlabas. And these shops keep us addicted to them that they even get designed according to new trends, to accommodate more people. They extended their menus in the last 20 years..Some of them even make tagines and soups.
|A Mahlaba with a funny name found in Larache|
But how did it all start?
Mahlabas were famous with their dairy products such as milk (sometimes farm milk), traditional Moroccan yoghurt (Raib), Moroccan cottage cheese Jben and farm butter.
They moved on to make sweet and savoury snacks such as Moroccan flabreads and Msemmens, harcha and sweet galettes and cakes but also cheap croissants and slices of cakes with cream.
|Some products founds in Mahlabas, ask for a fresh juice
and a sandwich and they’ll make it for you right there
We always loved and still love Mahlabas because that’s where you will always have a fresh
panaché (a mixed fruit juice) or juice. On the less healthy option you could get cold sodas. Nowadays, you can even get hot drinks such as Moroccan tea, coffee and a few other hot drinks.
|Moroccan yoghurt, sold with or without fruit topping|
The traditional humble Moroccan sandwiches found in a Mahlaba would be: bread with cheese, Barley bread with cheese and boiled eggs. bread with tuna, olives and harissa or bread with cheese and cold cuts (casher).
|Mahlabas got creative in presenting many basic products, this is yoghurt with a coulis|
Again, the list of sandwiches has gone bigger and there are more options especially in Mahlabas located close to schools or offices.
|More Moroccan yoghurt (Raib)|
Mahlabas are found in all Moroccan cities and they cater for all ages and all spheres of the society. On their own, the Mahlabas represent a version of Moroccan street food.
|Some sweet pastries usually found in Mahlabas|
So, do you know where to look for the Moroccan avocado juice or just a standard fruit juice? Head to a Mahlabas..You will always be well fed on a ridiculously low budget. Do not forget to grab a cold
panaché for a multivitamins punch..It’s always tasty because it will be made with fresh fruits.