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“If you want to cook Moroccan like a local - this is the class to take”

Plan-It Fez - Day Tours
Ranked #53 of 267 Tours in Fes
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Plan-it Fez creates inspirational experiences and unique culturally immersive adventures in Fez and throughout Morocco. Book activities or full itineraries tailor-made especially for you.
Level Contributor
65 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“If you want to cook Moroccan like a local - this is the class to take”
Reviewed 30 April 2014

I've just updated this review, as we are coming to the end of our trip in Morocco. My husband and I totally enjoyed this amazing cultural experience, not only the food, but interacting with a family who lives in the old Fez medina. We booked the cooking with the Local Family tour at the beginning of our trip, to really immerse ourselves in Morocco and Fez and it was the right thing to do. We didn't really know what to expect, and this totally exceeded our expectations in every way.

We were picked up by Siham and Zineb (our local cook), we decided on the menu - a lamb tagine with beans and artichoke hearts which are in season now, and then off to the market. We also making a few classic side dishes - eggplant and tomatoes, and green chili peppers and tomatoes. Zineb guided us in selecting the veggies and fruits ( don't pick the really round big eggplant). We also shopped at the butcher, and herbs, and spice shop for yeast as well as the traditional spices. Siham translated. Loaded down with sacks of fresh food, back to the dar where we met up Zineb's sister and mom. We all assisted in the preparation, making and escorting the loaves to the local oven. Then preparing the tagine and sides and dessert, and later pickup up the bread after baking. We had a lot of fun watching my husband make the bread- it was a bit of a sorry mess, but Zineb saved it. More experience needed!

I have often tried to create tasty Moroccan food -- but it never had the deep and complex flavors that I read about in cookbooks. Now I know why -- We prepared everything in the "old fashioned" way, chopping the herbs and spices and rubbing in, layering in the flavors into the tagine. Smoking the pepper over a flame prior to skinning ( I always had trouble with that but it seems because I didn't let them sweat enough in the bag). It's now clear to me the deep flavors have to do with amounts of herbs ( parsley, cilantro, garlic), and spices (cumin, hot red pepper, paprika) to use. Fresh herbs are difficult to measure, and learning by doing, I expect I have a better understanding the quantities and proportions needed. The same goes for the side dishes and preserved lemon. I've always way over-salted my lemons (and wondered how in gods name anyone could eat it, even after a lot of rinsing). Zineb's preserved lemon were just perfect - you could eat the peel straight from the jar and it had a nice lip- smacking slightly fermented flavor, not too salty. Zineb showed us the spices used and quantities ( a pinch is a four finger pinch). My husband went a little heavy on the hot pepper for the pepper and tomato dish but it turned out great. I can't wait to try these techniques at home. While we chopped and peeled, Siham translated, made sure we were "doing it right", and entertained us with discussing about Islamic /Moroccan traditions, and the background of the very special Fez medina-only dessert.

We ate a little earlier than the locals would eat ( after 9 pm!). The final dinner we all ate together around the table in one of their living rooms. I personally believe home cooked meals are often better than eating out -- at least when I'm doing things like a Thanksgiving meal, it's always been true. Well, after taking a few more restaurant meals during our trip, I can say honestly this meal was not only the highlight of our trip, but the best Moroccan meal I've ever had. Zineb was so humble saying that it was because we were making it. My only regret is I didn't take the opportunity to learn how to make B'stilla (Pastilla), another classic dish, which I've tried to do at home before. That and the couscous rolling tour. That will have to be next time!

Beyond learning to cook like a local, we really enjoyed getting to talk with and share dinner with the generations - Zineb's mom (dressed in a traditional Moroccan ladies caftan), her sisters, including the youngest sister, (very much the modern university student dressed in tshirt and bermuda shorts, studying accounting). and as well as one of her nephews ( only 8 years old he had been waiting for dessert all day long). It was such a sweet and cute family, we were so grateful they shared their home and tradition with us. It's a one-of-a kind memory and experience!

Visited April 2014
1 Thank fzachary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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119 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Den Bosch, The Netherlands
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 29 April 2014

We, a group of 6 women, had 2 tours. The Hidden medina and cooking with a family. Both gides were great and told us a lot off the maroccan way of live. The family that teached us cooking was very kind and made us feel like we were really family to them

Visited April 2014
1 Thank corinne3010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
455 reviews
140 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 194 helpful votes
“Something Different”
Reviewed 15 April 2014

I'm late writing this review as I could not find my notes. We did the market tour (with tastings) in the morning and then had the cooking class with a family in the evening. It was very interesting to see a family home in the centre of the medina. Overall a good experience and a different way to spend the evening. Plan it Fez also booked a driver/tour to Volubilis which was also good. We had lunch at the farm right next to the ruins and it was amazing.

Visited January 2014
Thank travelfun001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Well Done! Architectural Tour and Cooking Class”
Reviewed 6 April 2014

My partner and I booked two tours with Plan-it Fez while we spent a week in Fez. We booked the Architectural Tour and the Go Local Cooking Class (cooking with a local family). Both events exceeded our expectations.

We booked the half-day Architectural Tour for our first morning in Fez. Malek was our knowledgeable and charming guide who spoke fluent English. The tour included a number of outstanding riad interior sites that were closed to the general public, including a palace that is currently undergoing a long-term restoration for conversion to quite a grand hotel. The tour price included all of the various entry fees (paid by Malek for public sites) and tips (paid by Malek for sites closed to the general public). A few of the architectural attractions that are so prevalent in the guidebooks (Fondouk el-Nejjarine, for example) were not included in this tour, although Malek pointed out these sites for us to return later. This was a much appreciated strategic use our limited time; you simply can’t see all of the architectural treasures of Fez in a single half-day. The architectural wonders of Fez led us to spend more time here than anywhere else in Morocco. I already want to renturn.

The Go Local Cooking Class was one of the true highlights of our 2 weeks in Morocco. The dinner that my partner and I cooked with the local family was, in fact, my 50th birthday celebration dinner. Our guide and translator, Siham, is a remarkable and brilliant young woman who escorted us the entire evening from our guesthouse, to the dar of the local family, to the market for shopping for our ingredients, to the communal ovens for baking the bread we made, and back to our guesthouse after the evening was over. Her narrative during the cooking class also included interesting stories about Fez her experiences teaching language classes to Peace Corps volunteers. Our hostess and cooking instructor was Zineb, assisted by her lovely mother. They went out of their way to make us feel welcome in their home. Zineb coached us in baking bread and preparing a delicious lamb tagine, which the five of us enjoyed for dinner. (You have a choice of meats or vegetarian, and they accommodate food allergies etc.) Then came my surprise birthday event – planned by Zineb! I was truly overwhelmed by Zineb’s thoughtfulness and hospitality. I recommend this cooking and dining experience for foodies and non-foodies alike.

Visited March 2014
2 Thank Hubert_Chicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
northern NJ
Level Contributor
166 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
“Unforgettable street food tasting tour through the Fezs Souks”
Reviewed 24 March 2014

We did the Souk tasting trail with Gail of Plan-it-Fez and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our Moroccan family vacation. Not only does the tour serve as a good orientation to the often confusing jumble of the Fes souks, but Gail’s knowledge, insights and clear love for Moroccan street food is virtually impossible to replicate by yourself. Not only does she show you the nooks and cranny’s of the food stalls within the medina, but gives you clear guidance and peace-of-mind on what you can eat (safely) and whom you can photograph, after she always politely obtains permission, something not to be underestimated in Morocco in general and the Fes souks in particular.

From steamed lambs head, to camel mince- meat, and lamb livers, the adventurous carnivore will be able to partake of Fes’ street food safely interspersed with lots of witty humor and glances into Moroccan lives. There are lots of vegetarian stalls as well and a particular highlight is Gail’s demonstration of Moroccan honey, some of the best in the world. We got to taste around a dozen honeys and it was not unlike a serious wine tasting, I kid you not. There were notes of chocolate, tobacco and leather.

Another highlight was buying a bunch of little tidbits from various stalls and going into a hole-in-the-wall eating place that specializes in Fava bean soup, sitting around a communal table with locals and eating the soup and other stuff we had picked up, truly an unforgettable experience and one we would never have dreamed of doing on our own. The local bread baking establishment, where households that live in the vicinity send their own bread to be baked, was yet another highlight as was the man in a secret location that sits for 17 hours a day feeding wood into a stove that supplies heat for a hammam, and also moonlights by baking/roasting anything for you perfectly including a whole lamb.

Strongly recommended. An expensive outing but you really do get what you pay for.

Visited March 2014
4 Thank AKR1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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