Different people populated Morocco throughout its history. The resulting mix of custom and cuisine created the cosmopolitan culture that we know and love today.
In ancient times, the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Romans all exchanged control of this beautiful jewel of northwest Africa. Later on the Arabs, Ottomans, and French all made their mark on Moroccan ways.
The Berbers have inhabited Morocco the longest, originating in tribes dating from the Bronze Age. There were several tribes that practiced divergent ways of living, from stationary mountain farmers to nomadic shepherds. The traditional cuisine of the Berbers, particularly the world-renowned couscous and tagine, has had a defining effect on modern-day Moroccan fare.
The Arabs arrived in Morocco during the 7th century. They brought access to spices from halfway around the world and popularized the use of ras el hanout, a blended spice mixture boasting a melange of pleasing flavors that can be added to meats, couscous, rice or any other dishes one chooses. They also introduced mezze, small plates served at the beginning of a meal. These include the famous dishes of hummus, baba ganoush, and falafel, and one can also expect to find smoked and roasted meats and fishes of all kinds in a typical mezze.
Nowadays many Moroccans identify as being of both Berber and Arabic descent. Some Moroccans are of partial French or Spanish descent owing to the French and Spanish occupations in the first half of the 20th century. There are others that identify as part Andalusian, dating from the time when the areas of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco were all under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate in the 7th and 8th centuries. This European influence added a love of fine wines and sugared or honeyed pastry to the Moroccan palate.
Moroccan cuisine is a marvelous reflection of the rich history of this unique little corner of the African continent.
Stop by Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro today for a taste of what makes Moroccan cuisine so magical.