Saturday, April 16, 2011

Top Six Souvenirs From Morocco

Leather shop at Fes Tanneries
I am very careful about shopping in Morocco. There are too much haggling in the souks and streets and you really have to bargain to get the best price. Some people say, begin slashing to half the original price and the negotiation between two parties continues until the equilibrium price is achieved. I some how lack that skill! You have to be careful with some street vendors, if you bargain too much and decided not to buy their goods, they can be aggressive. 

These suggested souvenirs are unique to the country and here is my pick for Morocco: 
Leather Goods in Fes

Leather goods are cheap in Morocco but you have to be meticulous on the quality. One of us bought a leather handbag in Fes and it smells awful….like you’re carrying a cow with you everywhere! You really have to check the leather because some may have gone through poor tanning process. Other leather stuff we bought were fine, especially the pouffe. Flatten it and fill it up when you arrive home. They are really nice souvenirs and comfortable to sit on. The famous Bobouche (Moroccan slippers) are nice gifts; colorful, comfortable and light to carry. Leather belts, wallets, book covers and jackets are among the popular items but be ready to bargain. 

It is a nice souvenir to take home especially if you are a serious cook at home. You can do lots of experimentation with this cooking tool which is unique to Morocco. They are made from heavy clay and great for slow cooking. They come in various sizes, designs and colors but you have to check with the vendor if they are fit for cooking. Some tagines are just for decorative purposes. The disadvantage of this item is that it is heavy, bulky and fragile unless you want to hand carry them.

Found in South East Morocco, the Argan trees survive in chronic drought and poor soil. Argan oil or famously known as Green Gold of Morocco is unique, expensive and rarest oil in the world. It is rich in vitamin E, antioxidant and Omega which gives it a regenerative effect on dry skin, acne, eczema and wrinkles. It claims to have anti cancer properties, stabilizes the cholesterol and reduces hypertension. The Argan products come in the form of edible oil, soap and body cream. I like the Argan spread; a mix of Argan, honey and almond which give a nutty flavor and extremely yummy. These products make excellent gifts and it is not difficult to pack the cream and spread in your baggage but carrying the oil is not practical. By the way you can buy pure Argan oil in Malaysia at RM 75 for 15ml….that is expensive! 

Moroccan jewelleries are produced by Moroccan artisans to reflect their native arts and culture. Each community in Morocco has their own styles, designs and colors that are blended together to produce these distinct personal adornments. Colorful beads, elaborate necklaces and dangling ear rings are common items…it is just a matter of personal taste and preference. They are simple gifts that do not take much space.

The Moroccan artisans also produce beautiful decorative items made from silver, copper and camel bones. Truly, it demonstrates the skillful artisan artwork which has been passed from one generation to another. They come in the form of vases, decorative plates and bowls, lamp shades and other ornaments. Depending on the size of the items, some can be bulky but the smaller ones (like the plate) is a perfect gift. We actually bought one for a friend’s wedding.

We visited the fossil factory in Rissani not too far from the mountain area where the rock quarry is situated. In my simplest understanding of the fossils is that million years ago the animals died and they are buried in some kind of sediments and overtime it changes into rocks. If you pour water on the rock some of these fossils are exposed. The rocks are then cut to make wash basins, marbles tables and several small objects such as pendants, bracelets, amulets, ash trays, plates and cups. The visible fossils could be shark’s teeth, squids, snails, sea lilies and desert rose. They are magnificent and unique souvenirs and the small items should not be a burden to carry

1 comment:

  1. You forgot the tea cup set for mint tea! And the lovely salted almonds and other nuts and dried fruits.