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Lucire: Volante
Morocco


Where variety is always the spice of life

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Dusk A scene from Mirleft
 

If it is the Riviera you seek, however, Agadir fits that bill, with its mid-twentieth-century spread and expanse of luxury hotels and reputation as a place of escape for young Casablanca professionals. One of the newest properties in the area is the ultra-modern Sofitel Agadir Thalassa Sea & Spa, designed with trend-setting couples in mind, down to the expansive spa and enticing Medicine Bar’s flirty ocktails (see Lucire Home). Families, meanwhile, can enjoy a tranquil Moroccan beach holiday at the neighbouring Sofitel Royal Bay Resort.

Essaouria is best described as a big little city, merging the charms of Marrakech with a breezy, laid-back, beach-town feel. The souk, though smaller, has dozens of lovely pottery and leather shoe stalls to keep your attention. If you are seeking the freshest fish for a made-to-order meal, meanwhile, it is a good thing to have somebody like Youniss to steer you the right way as the only thing setting apart different eateries are a few tents, tables and reputation. He has us making a beeline for Calvados 14, which looks promising as it has the largest number of local and foreign diners.

Near the entrance, a fishmonger presents us with our choice of shrimp, prawns and fish. Our selections are grilled and attired only with a dusting of Ras el Harout spice mix and fresh lemon. We are serenaded by local musicians and surrounded by cool sea breezes and the area’s famed maritime architecture. Though we may not totally be able to recreate this boardwalk dining experience at home, Youniss noted we could at least endeavour to recreate the tea-time setting and beautifully attired bedrooms of our luxurious boutique hotel, les Heures Bleues, at Mogador. This large, but unassuming shop off the beaten track stocks exquisite carved and inlaid wood furnishings accessories and souvenirs for every room in the house.

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Essaouria


Essaouria fruit stand


Pool at les Trois Chameaux, Mirleft

 

The surf-and-beach town of Mirleft is at this stage a diamond in the rough, finding a niche with adventurous Marrakech and Casablanca locals. Overlooking the emerging destination is les Trois Chameaux, which at once reflects Morocco’s storied twentieth-century history as well as the destination Mirleft can transform into in the future. This property is forged from the home of a former military family and sits in the shadow of the remains of a World War II fortification.

The private rooms and public areas are peppered with fascinating twentieth-century memorabilia and local handcrafts. That authenticity, lovingly cultivated by the management, continues into the kitchen and dining room with historic posters, documents and family photos lining the walls.

The aromas that waft from the kitchen are just as colourful and fascinating. It turns out that they were generated by the painstaking preparation of the main course, a fresh local fish seasoned with Ras el Harout and other secret ingredients, and baked with a mix of vegetables inside a similar kind of bread dough used to make the addictive bread sold along the streets of El Jadida.

The unusual fish recipe serves as the perfect metaphor not just for Moroccan cuisine but the lifestyle as well. To get to the best and most interesting stuff, you have to dig a little deeper and cut below the surface to get to the heart and soul of the dish. •

 

 

 

 

 

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