Moroccan cuisine is extremely varied, combining Arab, Berber and Mediterranean influences. The country's most famous dish - excluding the ubiquitous couscous (steamed semolina) - istagine, a traditional Berber stew named after the conical earthenware pot in which it is cooked. Tagines typically comprise slow-cooked meat (beef, chicken, or lamb), vegetables, and fruit flavoured with paprika, cinnamon, and coriander. Vegetarian and fish versions are also served in many places.
Other common Berber dishes include pastilla (meat pie), harira (chickpea, lamb, and tomato soup), and brochettes (kebabs). Herbs and spices are used extensively in Moroccan cooking; among the most common are cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, and coriander. The most popular drink in Morocco is green tea with mint, which is drunk at the end of every meal, as well as throughout the day with colleagues and friends.
In addition to these Berber specialities, Moroccan cuisine makes ample use of Mediterranean staples such as olives and olive oil, citrus fruits, tomato-based salads, and focaccia-like breads. In the main cities, one also finds restaurants catering specifically to European tastes.
Moroccan sweets are not to be missed. Delicacies such askaab el ghzal (pastry stuffed with sweet almonds) and halwa shebakia(doughnuts dipped in hot honey and covered with sesame seeds) are available from shops and stalls in every town and make an ideal accompaniment to a refreshing glass of mint tea.
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