Mahlabas, an icon of Moroccan street food on a low budget

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. 




My Trip to Fez & re-bounding with past!

I have been away from blogging for a little while. I went back home for a cause: Visiting Fez and hence family.

Fez is more the city of my parents than mine, but is it ok to say so?

I was born and raised in Casablanca but Fez has been present in my life since I have spent literally all my school vacations and holidays in my grandparents houses in it, I have grown up eating Fassi food for most of it and my family is mostly living in Fez since I have ever existed (and since they have ever existed)..So I felt so guilty for not visiting it recently for few years.

Besides, there is not a single day that goes by where I do not think about my father (Allah yrahmou).. So going on that trip was a bouquet of memories of the places and the things he liked and the corners we used to go to when there, especially in the Old Medina or Fes el Bali or Rcif and the “Marché central(Central Market) where my grandfather used to cater high end fish and seafood to Hotels and Restaurants of the city.

So here are some photos of my trip, or rather of my favorite spots..Recipes will follow as soon as I get time to type them.

Views of the Old Medina

 

 

View from le Meridien Hotel, Les Merinides
Another spectacular view from Le Meridien Hotel

 

Serghina, a sort of blend to burn as ensens, It will be mixed with “chebba”, “al oud” and some drops of Orange blossom essence.

 

Table clothes, although my aunties used to produce better results, I guess this one is Machine-made!

 

Al Karaouiine

 

An angle of Moulay Driss Mosque

 

Esseffarine, the “copper” quarters where you can see workers crafting on copper

 

Essaffarine

 

Some belts and chrabel (Cherbil is a sort of sleeper)

 

A venue in Rcif

 

Remainings of a wall

 

Remainings of a wall

 

 

The Old medina from another angle

 

One of the walls protecting the city, on the way to bab boujloud

 

The Old medina from another angle

 

The Old medina from another angle

 

The Old medina from another angle

 

The newly-built BAB EL BATHA (la porte d’el Batha)

 

One of the main streets of Fez

 

Madrasset El Cherratine (Old school)

 

Madrasset El Cherratine, the door (Old school)

 

Nougat and Jabane maker (it’s a sacred thing to buy nougat in Fez)

 

 

My ultimate favorite cheese: Jben Saiss. This one belongs to Mr. Benjelloun

Stay tuned for more photos and some of our family recipes!