The Fes Medina is divided into different sections and it would probably take a minimum of two days to make your way through them all. Those little blue/purple/pink/red signs pointed the direction through the maze to the different trades. The streets of weavers (we’d stop into a weaving exhibition), brass workshops, perfumes, chemists, coppersmiths, rugs, tanners, just to mention a few and Fes’ goods are considered to be some of the best in Morocco.
There were even shops that sell the traditional red felt Fez hat still being worn…View image. Would you believe that ex-Marine is a Shriner and has his own fez? I pondered why Shriners wear a fez, and found the answer on the Internet. “…the fez was chosen as part of the Shrine’s Arabic (Near East) theme, around which the color and pageantry of the Shrine are developed…” Now we both know “why.”
The walk began in a food section lined with fruit and vegetable carts. Delicious navel oranges run around 4 Dirhams (50 cents U.S.) for 1 kilo (2.2 lbs.) but don’t stock up on kilos of oranges. You wouldn’t believe how fast they rot in the Moroccan heat. Dates…View image, spices, herbs, heaps of green olives…View image, and even a container full of turtles that I think are used for medicine. Fish laid out in attractive rows, baskets of live snails..View image. And then, I stopped dead in my tracks, riveted by a display of cow, goat and sheep heads.
We gawked at these raw heads and passed by a stall where the cook was boiling a fresh head in a pot. Per Aziz: To prepare cow, goat and sheep heads in the traditional Berber fashion, you must singe or char the head over hot coals until all the hair and fur can be easily removed. Once down to clean skin, the entire head is boiled in water with salt for…I haven’t a clue how long. Aziz said the Berbers then roast or grill the entire head which is then served with a sauce. Sit down, tuck into the head and eat every part. Ears, eyes, brains and other “bits an bobs.” There are recipes where the meat is removed from the head in chunks and prepared in other fashions but I can’t motivate myself to try any of the cooking modes. Call me a wimp…
The group was led upstairs for the second “shopping tour exhibition” of the day. Weaving. Very beautiful silk tassels, scarves and bolts of silk being woven and all for sale.
However, I spotted a bakery with a wood burning oven making bread on the way up that looked more interesting than watching weaving…View image. Hesitant to intrude, I asked Rachid to come with us to ask if we could photograph and watch. A little negotiating and we paid 2 Dirhams (25 cents U.S.) to video and 1 Dirham (12 cents U.S.) to buy a piping hot and crisp circle of delicious bread right out of the oven. There is a bakery making bread in every quarter or section of towns throughout Morocco. Nobody bakes their own bread and people could always be spotted walking down the street and carrying a stack of bread home for use that day. (It gets stale quickly but we snarfed down our bread in a nanosecond.)