A Travellerspoint blog

Back Down the Mountain...

...and out to the Ocean

sunny 23 °C

When we got up in the mountain village, a lovely breakfast was waiting in the dining area. Mint tea was again featured - such a lovely drink. Moroccans like it sweet! It’s a green tea base, often ‘gunpowder’ tea with fresh mint. The tea can become bitter, so sugar is usually added. Most places have been great in serving unsweetened tea with sugar on the side but we know this isn’t really the way it’s made.
Through the apple trees: Papa_-_apple_orchard.jpgPapa_mountain_view.jpg
We could have gone on a 3-hour walk out to a shrine but everyone decided we’d been so busy that we didn’t want to - our trek back down the 3km to Imlil would be enough.
GOATS!! We saw a goatherd right along the rocky edge, herding his goats up the mountain - I wasn't expecting that!
Coming into Imlil, a little cafe had tajines set up to cook lunches Lunchtime_Tajines.jpg
We got on our little bus with a picnic lunch for along the way and started the drive to our next town. Our picnic was at a sweet little rest stop and a simple lunch of bread (of course), tuna, egg, tomato & fruit.
Meggie & Peter are a lovely couple in our group from Australia. Meggie works part time at a winery in Brisbane, Peter has a level 3 WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) designation - he knows a LOT about wines of the world. We three were quite excited as today’s itinerary included a visit to a Moroccan winery!
But first, we stopped at an Argan oil cooperative. Many people have seen Argan oil used in hair and beauty products. The oil comes from the nut of a tree that only grows near Essaouira! Not only for beauty products however - if the nuts are roasted, the oil is a fantastic, nutty-tasting edible oil. It can’t be heated but it’s lovely on salads and mixed with ground almonds & honey for a bread dip. Argan_ladies.jpg After a quick demo of the traditional methods of cracking the nuts and grinding to extract the oils, we were given samples of some of their products and then a chance to buy if we wanted. (Tricia and Peter) Argan_sampling.jpgLovely and the co-op helps women in the country to earn a living.
On to the winery!! Domaine Val D’Argan is owned by a Frenchman whose family owns a winery in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region of France. He’s been working on his 40 hectare property for a number of years now and produces some lovely wines. We first had a tour of the production facility (concrete instead of stainless fermentation tanks), Winery_-_concrete_tanks.jpg
saw some of the vineyard and then went to the tasting centre. Meggie in the vineyard, barrel markers line the driveWinery_Meggie.jpgWinery_driveway_liner.jpg

We were treated to some smoked salmon, goat cheese and little crackers to accompany the 4 wines - white, a rose then 2 reds. All were very enjoyable blended wines. The winery is obviously in a very hot, dry region - they actually harvested the grapes in July - our harvest in Ontario is underway now!

We asked our guide if we could stop at a supermarket - just to see where some of the local and imported food products were sold so he obliged with a visit to a CarreFour (French chain). They also had a liquor store corner so we got a little extra wine and stuff. In the grocery section they had lots of lovely produce, imported cheeses (Comte from France) and other lovely foods. I even found a Moroccan foie gras!! Not expecting that.
Riad_-_courtyard.jpg Courtyard of our Riad (guesthouse/hotel)
The seaside town of Essaouira was literally a breath of fresh air. It’s right on the Atlantic coast and is known for winds and fresh seafood. And a cool laid-back crunchy kinda vibe. IMG_1301.jpgApparently Jimi Hendrix and Orson Welles spent time here in times past (Jimi spent summer of 1969 there; Orson Welles filmed Othello). Seafood dinner with Berber musicians got a bunch of our group up dancing with Hamid. This was the first town in awhile we visited that we could actually buy wine or spirits to have with our dinner. Afterward, some of our group went to a rooftop patio bar for drinks - lovely and cool evening.
Fancy bedroom - Maxine Riad_room.jpg

Posted by otisandma 09:07 Archived in Morocco Tagged mountain bar wine seaside winery tasting oil grocery argan

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