Over the mountains we go – eating our way through the High Atlas in Morocco

Ha, I bet you thought I forgot about these posts. Never fear, I’m not stopping. I’m just slow!

We left Marrakech for a long trip through Morocco’s High Atlas mountains. After several hours driving on narrow, windy roads we stopped at a little town that I think was called Toufrine (I could be mistaken) for lunch.

Leaving Marrakech, Mark piled us into a car and we headed into the High Atlas Mountains. After windy roads and a long morning drive, we reached the small mountain town of Toufrine where we met our local guide, Mohamed.

Our gracious host and local guide was Mohamed, who started us off with a refreshing (and super sweet) cup of mint tea.

Mohamed pours mint tea

Mohamed pours mint tea

These almonds and pecans were from nearby trees. Don’t you wish we had this kind of local food in our backyards?

tea and snacks

tea and snacks

The main meal was a lamb tagine, with tender olives, tomatoes and potatoes piled high.

lamb tagine

lamb tagine

my plate

my plate

loaves of fresh khobz (bread)

loaves of fresh khobz (bread)

After stuffing ourselves, Mohamed took us to a nearby mountain town for some sightseeing. We were supposed to go to a town renowned for their waterfall, but the abnormal amount of rain in the area washed out the road and so instead we went to a totally different town called Tighfiste.

On our way there, after talking to someone on an old cell phone, he suddenly asked Mark, our regular guide, to stop the car and he climbed out. And then up. Straight up, in the pouring rain. Wearing only sandals. Trying to find him in the photo is like playing Where’s Waldo. Mohamed is the striped blur somewhere in the middle of the photo. I took this picture while sitting in the car and looking straight up.

Part mountain goat?

Part mountain goat?

He came back with reused water bottles and giant jugs of honey from someone who lives at the top of this cliff. And yes, he carried all of it down that same cliff.

Tighfiste sign

Tighfiste sign

A short trip up an even narrower and more windy road brought us to the village of Tighfiste. The rain was starting to let up, and through the mists it appeared, just like a scene out of a movie.

The village of Tighfiste

The village of Tighfiste

steep pathways

steep pathways

terrace farming

terrace farming

Chickens!

Chickens!

The chickens weren’t the only beings following us around. We felt like the Pied Piper at one point. A group of giggling boys started following behind us as we walked briefly around the town. The girls were shy and hid behind doorways and windows, but would wave back at me when I caught them peeking at us. This town doesn’t normally get many tourists and we attracted a lot of attention.

The kids

The kids

One man invited us into his home for tea. We climbed a very narrow and awkward staircase to his family’s home. His son motioned me into a room and pointed out their oven. He must have instinctively known that I was a food blogger. (That, or a little birdie told them I wanted food photos.)

The kitchen

The kitchen

Oven

Imagine baking your bread in this oven

We were then shown into another room and served mint tea.

The man of the house and Mohamed

The man of the house and Mohamed

The items in the case pictured below is rock sugar. Mohamed put 2-3 fist sized chunks of sugar into that tiny metal pot pictured above.

rock sugar

rock sugar

Moroccan hospitality meant that along with the tea they fed us as well. We were brought fresh khobz bread, almonds, and creamy butter mixed with saffron.

khobz, saffron butter and almonds

khobz, saffron butter and almonds

The visit to this village was an unexpected experience, which made it even more special.

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