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Eating a full course meal in Morocco on your gap year

In many countries across the world, it is important for those visiting to sample the native cuisine. However, rather than heading to the swankiest restaurant in town like you might in a place like Italy or France, it is best to enjoy the food of Morocco by visiting street vendors or buying the ingredients to make the meal yourself.

'But what constitutes a 'classic' Moroccan meal?' you may be wondering. Well, here's a guide to what to expect culinary-wise when visiting the country.

The food that is popular and commonly eaten in the North African country today is a complementary mixture of Berber and Mediterranean staples, and was merged in the Royal Kitchens of cities like Marrakech and Fez.

Starter - Salad

The biggest meal that native eat is in the middle of the day, rather than at night like in Western time zones, which explains why a nice big salad usually kicks off the proceedings. One of which is Zaalouk, made from fresh tomatoes, garlic, aubergines,olive oil and, of course, spices.

After boiling the aubergines in salt water, generally the ingredients are cooked in a pan and then mashed up with the back of a spoon to create a puree, and then ideally served with some flatbread. 

Main - Tagine or Couscous

The first thing most people reel off when asked to name a Moroccan dish will be a tagine, and whilst it may seem obvious, it's well-known for a reason - because it's a delicious dish, bursting with character and distinct flavours of the nation.

Cooked in a clay pot, a tagine is traditionally cooked over hot charcoal and involves the slow cooking of chicken or lamb, apricots, olives, fresh spices, tomatoes.

Couscous is now commonplace across the world now, but many believe that to truly enjoy it, it should be eaten where it was conceived. Served with vegetables and sometimes meat and cooked or steamed in a broth, it is a healthy dish that has a very unique flavour. 

To finish off - Green tea with mint

Green tea and mint is pretty much the country's drink and is known as 'Maghrebi'. Whilst many won't think twice about making a normal cup of tea, there is a very stringent method to making this delicacy.

The general way to make it involves: mixing two teaspoons of tea-leaf with half a litre of water, which is left for 15 minutes. A teaspoon is then added and then brought to a boil. Finally, it is poured with fresh mint into a cup.

Remember: if you are offered a cup, be sure to drink it, as it is considered rude not to accept the beverage.

Now you know the basics, get out and see the sights!