What to bring from Morocco
Morocco is a country that is a mix of Arab and African exotics. Tourists come here to admire the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, to see the vast Sahara and get acquainted with local life. And in order to preserve the experience of the trip, they often bring home original souvenirs, traditional clothing and other items clearly reflect the nature of this wonderful country.
Every year, tourists leave in Morocco about $ 8,000,000,000
What to bring back from Morocco
Visitors to the country are often dizzyed by the abundance of a wide variety of souvenirs. It would be a big mistake to bring from Morocco a standard set of postcards and magnets. Let us take a look at the list of the things you should pay attention to in the first place, how not to overpay, and where it is better to choose certain goods for yourself or your loved ones.
Contents of the article:
Where to buy souvenirs and how to do it
Cosmetics from Morocco (argan oil, soaps, perfume)
Gastronomy (spices, sweets, tea and coffee)
Interior decorations (lamps, rugs, mirrors)
Kitchen items (pottery, tagine, teapots)
Where and How to Buy in Morocco
It is better to come to the country with dollars or euros. At the airport exchange the required minimum for the local currency – Dirham (Dh, for 1 dollar you get about 3.5 Dirham) – and the rest exchange in town in small amounts.
Don’t change all your money at once
Morocco’s national currency may not be taken out of the country. Keep receipts from ATMs or exchange offices so you can exchange money back.
Going in search of souvenirs is better in the local markets (Moroccans call them souks). Tourists have the impression that every town in the country is one big market, because shops, shopping carts and simply laying out carpets of goods on the road found almost every corner. But there are places with the highest concentration of traders. For souvenirs it is better to come to such areas.
In the markets of the country there is a division, which is clearly visible to the naked eye. The more decent streets are for tourists and the more rundown ones are for locals. The touristy parts of the Moroccan markets are worth a look and the souvenirs are better to buy in the local shopping areas. This simple rule will save you a lot of money. Spoiled tourists sellers often try to deceive customers or extort money for all sorts of trifles. Be as careful and vigilant as possible.
Knowing the origin of the goods will also help save money. Souvenirs brought from another city are always more expensive than local ones. Vendors often do handicrafts right in the shops – everything they make with their hands is cheaper than in another city and even on the next street. But so you don’t have to travel around the markets of all the major Moroccan cities to save money, remember the following list:
Marrakech. A very rich city for the products of local craftsmen. You can buy wool products in the Rabia market, goat and lambskin handicrafts in El Btana, the Hadadin market offers to buy the products of local blacksmiths and potters.
Fez. The list of goods produced by locals is also quite extensive. From leather goods it is better to pay attention to bags, suitcases, belts and national shoes – babushi. You should also think about buying tea sets and other ceramics.
Rabat. Here you can buy interior items, among which are oriental poufs, bedspreads, wool carpets and lace.
Essaouira. In the markets of this city it is better to buy items made of leather – interiors, clothes and other things. A lot cheaper than in the markets of other cities, you can buy here jewelry made of gold and silver (but the best way to buy silver will be the city of Tinsit, which is described below), made in the Spanish-Moorish style.
Tinsit. The most diverse assortment of silverware. However, the market is only open on Saturday. At which time you have to find out on the spot.
Agadir. It is worth to come here for spices, coffee and national costumes. If you come here, you should visit one of the local fish restaurants.
Casablanca. Fragrances, perfumes and glycerin soaps.
Be sure to haggle. Even when you think you’ve discounted enough from the original price, you can discount more. Usually, the first price quoted by the seller is five times higher.
A category of products worth bringing back from Morocco suitable for girls and women. Moroccan markets and stores are full of cosmetics. There are rare and even exclusive types of cosmetics that can be purchased only in this country.
Argan tree grows only here. Argan oil is also produced only by local residents. And let the purchase of this unique product pretty hard on the tourist budget, argan oil should be brought home from Morocco.
Argan oil comes in two varieties: edible and cosmetic. Each is very useful for humans (this is a scientifically proven fact, not a story to entice tourists), even in small amounts:
edible argan oil lowers blood cholesterol levels, helps with rheumatism and skin diseases;
argan oil, used for cosmetic purposes, helps to smooth wrinkles and strengthen hair follicles, promotes the growth of healthy hair.
Argan oil is very expensive. To bring it from Morocco is worth expanding the budget in advance, because for one liter will have to pay about 600 Dh, which is about 4000 rubles.
Never buy argan oil at markets, in stalls or even in supermarkets
For this, there are specialized stores that sell a line of cosmetic products with the addition of argan oil along with the pure product. The ideal option is an excursion to a production factory, where you will be allowed to buy a fresh and 100% natural product. In all other places the oil will at best be of very poor quality, at worst it will be vegetable oil with the addition of argan oil to the appearance of a specific nutty smell. There are no exceptions. Don’t let yourself be fooled.
Natural glycerin soap
One of the most common souvenirs brought back from Morocco is glycerin soap. Fragrant essential oils, a natural product formed in plants, are added to its composition. Glycerin soap moisturizes and rejuvenates the skin, eliminates scaling and has other beneficial properties. But be careful in its use, as this natural product does not combine with some types of makeup and can be harmful if abused.
Because of its relatively low cost and the variety of essential oils, glycerin soap is a good souvenir for colleagues. Because of its cost, you can buy a lot of it, and each will be different from the other with a special smell and appearance. One piece will cost you about 30 Dh (200 rubles).
Set for Moroccan hammam
Hammam is not a place, but the ritual of ablution. It is quite possible to have it at home after taking a hot bath. Suffice it to have the necessary tools.
For the classic Moroccan hammam you will need:
Black soap – a completely natural product, which cleanses, moisturizes and softens the skin;
KISS – a special mitten, which removes old skin particles;
henna – used as a face mask;
Hassul – healing volcanic clay for the body.
The whole set will cost you about 40 Dh (260 rubles). Henna and clay are not sold by portions, but by weight.
Imported from Morocco hammam set is used quite simply:
black soap is applied to the steamed body;
After some time the soap should be rinsed off and the whole skin should be rubbed several times with kisse and washed with hot water;
Then apply the ghassul to the body and the henna to the face;
After ten minutes the masks should be rinsed off under hot water.
Small cubes with a strong scent of plants are a great souvenir. What else can you bring back from Morocco if not this amazing product? They are great for scenting rooms, linen closets, bags, car interiors. But most often, they are lightly rubbed on the skin of the wrists or neck to give it a light but persistent scent of flowers.
When shipping, pack the fragrant cubes tightly in several plastic bags so they don’t stink up the whole suitcase.
Most often buy hard perfume with the scent of roses, sandalwood, jasmine, musk and ambergris. But there are more exotic options, as well as their combinations.
Moroccan cuisine restaurants over the years have not lost their popularity. They are in almost every major city in the world. But the real national dishes (and not European adaptations of them) can be tasted only here in Morocco. And, if you wish, bring the recipes and necessary ingredients back home.
Most of the spices commonly used in Moroccan cuisine can be bought in any supermarket in Russia. But bought in Morocco, they are incredibly flavorful because of their freshness. If you are cooking at home with paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom or cumin, be sure to stock up on them at local specialty shops (there is a perception that the quality of spices in the markets is somewhat lower).
One of the hallmarks of Moroccan cuisine is a dish called tagine. If it was to your liking and you want to replicate it at home, buy a ready-made spice mix of ras el hanout. Homemade tagine will evoke fond memories of a wonderful vacation.
They sell saffron here as well. Cheaper variant is yellow powder, almost tasteless, but very fragrant. Whole saffron stamens are very expensive and are sold by the gram. It is worth buying only for those who know exactly how to use it.
Tea and Coffee
If you or someone you love tea or coffee, be sure to bring them from Morocco. It is better to buy tea and coffee at the markets by weight – it is cheaper, and the quality is not worse (if not better) than that of the packaged product.
Moroccan coffee is very rich and strong. It has a very special taste, different from coffee beans from other countries. It is prepared in a mortar with the addition of spices: black pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and others. The presence and amount of spices depend on the tastes of the drink’s author. But the strength is a necessary attribute of Moroccan coffee, for which most tourists may not be ready. Decrease the tartness of the drink helps a lot of hot milk.
Tea in Morocco is an essential attribute of any meal, so you can buy it almost on every corner. But you have to agree that a bag of tea brought as a souvenir does not look too presentable. But together with national tea set, consisting of teapot and small cups, it will be a great gift.
Nuts and dried fruits
There is no way to save money here. Prices for nuts and dried fruits in the country are almost the same as in the CIS countries. But there is a significant difference – they are not treated with substances that increase their shelf life. In addition to easily available dried fruits one can bring from Morocco dates and other dried exotic fruits that haven’t been imported to Russia on a large scale for a long time.
For a kilogram of dried apricots you have to pay about 80 Dh (about 600 rubles), and for the same measure of walnuts – 120 Dh (850 rubles). It is better to buy dried fruits in specialized stores.
The first sweet that you want to offer as an edible souvenir is Amlu. It consists of grated nuts and edible argan oil. The full list of ingredients is kept a top secret by Moroccans.
If you want to bring Amla from Morocco for yourself, buy it at the market. They store it in large containers (and they say it never spoils, although it is unlikely to stay on the shelves) and sell it by weight. For friends, it is better to buy Amla in tourist shops. It is the same product, but in a nice souvenir bottle. The sweetness in a presentable form is a great present for your loved ones. The price of Amlu on the market is about 80 Dh per kilo (600 rubles). Packaged Amlu will cost you the same amount, but for a hundred grams.
Another good thing to bring back from Morocco is the local handmade cookies. They come in two varieties:
The usual shortbread. Despite the lack of filling, the cookies have different tastes. Ask the vendor to try one if you buy cookies by weight. The price starts at 70 Dh (500 rubles).
Filled cookies. The filling is a mixture of nut paste and essence of different colors. The paste itself is filled with ground almonds, so the price per kilo starts at 120 Dh (850 RUR).
The cookies can be purchased by weight or in beautifully packaged gift boxes.
National clothes perfectly capture the spirit and traditions of any country. In Morocco, they tell the story of craftsmanship (leather goods) and cultural development (fabric clothes). Let’s take a look at the ones you can bring back from the country as a souvenir:
Traditional Moroccan babushi are backless leather shoes with a pointed toe, bent inward or arched upward (like the ones worn by the cartoon character Aladdin, if you remember). In the ranking of popular tourist souvenirs of clothes babushi occupy the first place. They are worn by everyone: yellow or white colors are preferred for men, for women and children – multicolored embroidery. There are also fabric babushi with leather soles, but this is a more modern version, made for tourists. The cheapest can be bought for 40 Dh (300 rubles), but it is not recommended to wear them, as they will quickly fall into disrepair.
The hooded fabric dress worn by Moroccans to protect them from sandstorms and direct sunlight is the djellaba. Thanks to its wide cut djellaba perfectly cools the body during the heat. Both men and women wear this dress. The average price on the market is 200 Dh (1,500 rubles), but it is possible to tailor-made for 2,000 to 5,000 Dh (15,000 to 43,000 rubles). Exclusive djellab will be decorated with hand embroidery. It is better to order in the Medina.
Leather belts, bags, wallets and shoes are made quite well by the locals. Moroccan leather is very soft, high quality, with a beautiful texture. Another reason to bring leather from Morocco is its cheapness. The cost of belts starts at 50 Dh (350 rubles), sandals – from 80 Dh (600 rubles), handbags (knockoffs known brands are available in very large quantities) – from 400 Dh (3500 rubles). If you came across a brightly colored thing, then be careful: there is a possibility that in contact with water paint will leak or go stains. This is especially common with cheap items.
Traditional Moroccan Babushi shoes
Traditional Moroccan baboushi shoes. Photo source: www.flickr.com
Shawls, scarves, men’s ties and other products made of chiffon, silk and cotton sold in markets are imported to Morocco from other countries. As a souvenir that reminds you of the country, they are not suitable. But the prices of such goods are incredibly low – the cost of a shawl starts at 20 Dh (150 rubles) – so you can think about buying it if you wear such things.
The situation with gold and silver jewelry is very peculiar. On the one hand, there is a low cost. On the other hand the style of decoration is unusual. Moroccan women are fond of larger, more massive pieces of jewelry with big precious or semi-precious stones. Bracelets, earrings, pendants and rings are made in this style.
Another caveat is the almost universal absence of hallmarks. Buying gold and silver jewelry in Morocco you run a great risk of coming across a fake. If you really want to buy Moroccan-style jewelry, look out for gilding with semi-precious stones. The chance of inexpensive jewelry being a fake is much less.
Here the choices are endless. Interior items that can be brought from Morocco will not gather dust in a dark closet or in boxes under the bed. But it is difficult to choose such a souvenir for acquaintances or colleagues, relying on your own taste. But in your house, the work of local craftsmen will be a lasting reminder of a splendidly spent vacation.
Kinds of design and types of materials from which Moroccan lamps are made, there are a lot. Of the lighting fixtures you can buy sconces and floor lamps; ceiling chandeliers will also decorate the room. You can choose a light fixture from:
Ochre colored leather. Thin painted camel leather covering the lamp creates a cozy atmosphere and sets an oriental mood. The base for such lamps is often made of metal, less often – of wood. A version with a metal base will cost 30 Dh (200 rubles). Sometimes the leather is dyed with pomegranate juice.
Colored glass. The most common design option for home fixtures. The most common are green, red and yellow glass. The price depends on the size, availability of engraving and the number of metal elements. The price of a small souvenir to bring from Morocco, starting at 100 Dh (700 rubles).
Carved bronze. They have the most spectacular glow. Holes are cut into the hollow bronze form, making a beautiful pattern. The light from within casts delicate shadows on the interior objects and walls in the room. The price starts at 800 Dh (6000 rubles) for a functional product. Expensive, but very colorful.
Moroccan carved bronze lampshades
The cheapest option – a lamp made of leather – is suitable as a souvenir that can be installed on a bedside table. And a lamp shade made of carved bronze will be a real decoration of the interior. And it will serve you for a long and long time.
Carpets of different colors and sizes are sold everywhere. The weaving art of the locals was handed down from generation to generation, in the absence of the Kingdom of Morocco. But today in the markets you run the risk of being cheated by buying a low-quality or even imported carpet. Here are a few nuances to consider when choosing:
Do not believe if you are told that the rug has any historical value. All the carpets that are sold in the markets are woven by local residents, and then immediately sent for sale. Merchants only inflate the price by calling the product an antique, even if the rug looks shabby, and the seller tells you its amazing and long history.
A natural wool rug will not cost less than Dh 3,000 (21,000 rubles). And this cost is quite justified, because every step of production is done by hand. One rug takes a lot of time, materials and effort. If you see a price lower than this, it is not real wool and not handmade.
Locally made rugs are decorated with geometric patterns. If you see rounded patterns, then the rug is imported from neighboring countries. It is the same production method and real wool, but no longer Moroccan work.
You will definitely be happy with your purchase. Moroccan carpets are very high quality, pleasant to the touch. In addition, the rug you buy will be one of a kind. The second that you will not find. If you can afford to buy, then do not miss the chance to bring from Morocco, this carpet.
Moroccan style mirrors (not the reflective surface itself, but the frame) are more like windows with shutters. Small mirrors look more modest, but they still have inlaid, painted or figured carvings.
Frames for mirrors are made by hand. The material is leather, wood, metal. The leather is dyed, the metal frame is inlaid with precious metals, stones, bone and other materials of value to Moroccans.
Moroccan mirrors. Photo source: www.flickr.com
It is worth bearing in mind that a Moroccan mirror will not suit every interior. As a souvenir from Morocco can be a small pocket mirror. It will look no less beautiful than the full-size mirror, but it is much easier to transport and it will cost you only 50 Dh (350 rubles).
Virtually every country has dishes that are unique to the locals. Morocco is famous for its tagine. But taste is one part of the national cuisine. The environment in which the cooking takes place is also important. The dishes become not so much functional elements, but rather objects of art. Such pieces are ideal as a souvenir brought back from Morocco for those who spend time in the kitchen with pleasure and love to experiment.
Moroccan metal teapots come in two versions: miniature souvenirs and full-size teapots. The former are suitable as a gift for friends or to put on the shelf at home as a decoration (30 Dh – 200 rubles). The latter can be used for making tea (200 Dh – 1500 rubles). Teapots with feet are intended for brewing over an open fire; to use them at home, get teapots without feet.
They are made in a very elegant local style. Each teapot is decorated with original embossing. There are often partially painted teapots, and less often they are inlaid with bone, precious and semi-precious stones, and precious metals.
Moroccan utensils for cooking the dish with the same name. It makes sense to buy a real tajine only if you are going to cook it (then you need to stock up on the spice mixture, which we wrote about above). Moroccan tagine is prepared from meat and vegetables (onions, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and others), stewed in their own juice for several hours. Sometimes honey, berries and fruit are added to the dish. The perfect recipe for yourself is best spotted on the streets of Morocco.
Tajine. Photo source: www.flickr.com
As an alternative to the real tagine, you can choose numerous products made in the form of national dishes. You can bring home ashtrays, sugar bowls, caskets, saucepans, and more from Morocco. These small and inexpensive items are suitable as a gift to acquaintances and colleagues.
Thuja wood is an accessible material for Moroccans, which is used to make many household items. The kitchen is no exception. Although you won’t find anything fantastic from this wood on the market, you can bring home as a souvenir:
coasters for hot dishes;
small statuettes as decorations.
The cost of products made of thuja starts at 5 Dh (35 rubles). For caskets have to pay 20-25 Dh (150-200 rubles).
It is better to buy pottery in Fez. Bring from Morocco can be deep bowls, pitchers, wide dishes, vases, large containers for spices, pots. The variety of ceramic tableware in the markets is very large. Inexpensive saucers can be bought in large quantities if you are sure that it will not break during the flight. The dishes are painted with geometric patterns of unusual shapes. The traditional colors are white, blue and yellow. But today, counters are filled with much brighter colors. You can buy a small bowl for 20 Dh (150 rubles)