• "Thank you for making our time in this city so memorable." - Rebecca & William
  • "Dar Les Cigognes captures the genius of Moorish civilization" - Asiana Wedding
  • "A masterpiece in Marrakech - Dar Les Cigognes" - Food and Travel
  • "Oriental Pearl- Dar Les Cigognes" - freundin.de
  • "Most romantic weekend we've ever had!" - Suzanne & Jason
  • "If we are ever in Marrakech again we will certainly be staying here." - Equals & Sod ia, UK
  • "Highlight of Marrakech -Dar Les Cigognes"" - In Style
  • "We will definitely have to return again." - Amanda & Kristen
  • "Dar Les Cigognes shortlisted for Best Boutique Hotel in Africa by the World Travel Market One of the 49 Coolest Hotels in the world" - Cool Hotels
  • "Oasis of calm-Dar Les Cigognes" - new metropolis
  • "A charming place in a beautiful city." - Jorge, Madrid
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a haven removed from the chaos, noise, and hustle of the city" - 50 Unforgettable Things to do Before you Die
  • "Your Riad fulfilled our wildest expectations regarding luxury and hospitality." - Imgrid & Christer
  • "Moving from room to room is traveling, it's going from Black Africa to the desert of Mauritania. " - Couleurs Marrakech
  • "What an astonishing oasis of tranquility in the chaos of surrounding Marrakech!" - Nui Midonald
  • "Thank you very much for looking after us so well." - Richard
  • "Marrakech is a treasure trove of boutique hotels and romantic riads, but one of the best by far is Dar Les Cigognes" - You and Your Wedding
  • "Dar Les Cigognes has been designed so as to make guests feel at home" - Bales Worldwide
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a stunning example of what the riads have to offer" - Prestige Lifestyle
  • "Your riad fulfilled our wildest expectations regarding luxury and hospitality!" - Imgrid & Christer, Sweden
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a rare treasure!" - Christopher
  • "Excellent stay at this wonderful and quiet place." - Sophie
  • "A wonderful idea- Dar Les Cigognes" - Only the best, Baden-Baden
  • "Dar Les Cigognes - perfectly to feel like a princess from 1001 nights." - In
  • "A modern day 1,001 nights" - Hello!
  • "Beautiful place!" - Rene
  • "Dar Les Cigognes a heaven for romance." - the Australien
  • "Enjoy the fantastic food" - Privat Dining
  • "Today this small oasis is considered as one of the most beautiful hotels in the world." - In
  • "Dar Les Cigognes provides a very high level of comfort." - Chic Retreats
  • "A riad full of charm that totally breathes the atmosphere of Marrakech" - Jean-Philippe & Nicole
  • "Spend a magical weekend in Marrakech at Dar Les Cigognes" - Living etc
  • "Renovated by legendary French architect Charles Boccara." - BAZAAR
  • "A riad to be recommended." - Sue & Keitti
  • "Who would believe that behind that door in such a hectic street lies such a wonderfully calm and beautiful place." - Helen & Neil, UK
  • "Multilingual staff are meticulous and attend quickly to guests every request." - maroccochic
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is known for the best personal service." - Tourbillon
  • "The attention to detail throughout is excellent." - Société perrier
  • "We will recommend Marrakech and Dar Les Cigognes to everyone we know." - Joanne & Victoria
  • "One of the best riads in Marrakech designed by one of Morocco's best architects." - Chic Retreats
  • "... the entrance to paradise at Dar Les Cigognes." - Gaby
  • "What stands out most about Dar Les Cigognes is the way it feels like an exclusive pleasure." - maroccochic
  • "Privacy is queen here apart from the stories of long journeys of the storks from the terraces" - AM Architecture du maroc
  • "Beneficial coolness and tranquility surround the guest upon entry into the world of Dar Les Cigognes" - Elle
  • "A wellness temple" - In
  • "I will miss this place and I hope I will come back." - Jasmin
  • "An elegant and luxurious refuge" - Elle Decor
  • "What an amazing place the riad is." - Anne
  • "Georgeous refuge from the medina" - Red
  • "Dar Les Cigognes- authentic flavour of Morocco" - Guide de Charme
  • "We found the true wonder - Dar Les Cigognes" - Carrie & Johnson, USA
  • "Anyone interested in Morocco will find it difficult to drag themselves away" - The Sunday Telegraph
  • "Stay at Dar Les Cigognes for a boutique-style rest in the exhilarating city of Marrakech." - greenprophet.com
  • "A fabulously stylish hotel" - The Daily Telegraph
  • "Thank you for such a wonderful and relaxing time." - Richard & Sue, UK
  • "We will return ""Inch Allah"" soon." - Francine, LA
  • "This is a beautiful and wonderful place to stay." - Andi, UK
  • "An inspirational hotel" - The Sunday Telegraph
  • "After traveling throughout the country, it was absolutely fantastic to end up our trip staying at Dar Les Cigognes." - Jesus, Mexico
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a masterpiece of luxury in the heart of the city." - Moroccochic
  • "Beautiful boutique hotel smack in the middle of the medina" - Daily Express
  • "The hammam treatment made us feel like royalty!" - Lena & Ezak, Florida
  • "Dar Les Cigognes oozes history, but has been sensitively updated by cult architect Charles Boccara" - In Style
  • "romantic Moroccan nights at Dar Les Cigognes" - Daily Mirror
  • "The Riad is beautiful and the staff were friendly and helpful, they couldn't do enough!" - Joanne & Vicoria, UK
  • "Perfectly placed in the medina." - Kuoni
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is truly a - Dar es Salaam - haven of peace." - Mary & John, UK
  • "The most spectacular roof terraces of the city" - Elle
  • "The design is so chic and cozy at the same time" - Elle
  • "Dar Les Cigognes kitchen is one of the best in the city" - The Times
  • "Thank you for a wonderful, memorable trip." - Joulyn Wong
  • "Stylish design of the Riad Dar Les Cigognes, a great luxury in a private intimate ambience." - Der Tagesspiegel
  • "Morocco is a world of interiors. Marrakech has some of the most beautiful in the world, and Dar Les Cigognes is one of them" - The Mail on Sunday
  • "Chic as chips" - medlife
  • "Nid des Cigognes is a hidden gem" - Hg2
  • "Visitors to Marrakech are spoilt for choice. Dar Les Cigognes is one of the best" - The Sunday Telegraph
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is offering everything for the senses." - Schweizer Illustrierte
  • "The architect has put all his talent to preserve the authenticity of the place of Dar Les Cigognes." - the Best of Marrakech
  • "Such attention to detail and so peaceful" - Sally & Philipe, France
  • "Real Moroccan, classy and stylish, this is the way it goes at Dar Les Cigognes in the Medina of Marrakech." - escapio
  • "Once being a princess" - Schweizer Illustrierte
  • "The dark wood and creamy stone of Dar Les Cigognes illuminated with scores of candles are a picture of romance." - The Sunday Times
  • "A boutique hotel boasting individually decorated rooms and excellent service" - Eyewitness Guide
  • "A perfect escape from the European winter." - John & Sue, UK
  • "It's hard to beat the exotic appeal of Dar Les Cigognes" - The Daily Mail
  • "A true oasis of luxury and calm" - VIP International Traveler
  • "An oasis of Moroccan chic" - You and Your Wedding
  • "A wonderful honeymoon, made perfect by a beautiful and shining place, and the most fantastic staff." - Mr. & Mrs Balcer
  • "Greets from the world of 1001 nights." - honeymoontip
  • "This is probably the most calm and relaxing guest house in the city" - Amanda, UK
  • "Furnished with locally sourced carpets, tapestries, furniture and decorative items, it's an oasis of calm." - Harper's Bazaar
  • "The riad has such a relaxing and serene ambiance." - Yolanda, Australia
  • "Escape on a magic carpet to Marrakech and escape to Marrakech's finest new hotel" - Western Daily Press
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a small luxury hotel in the heart of the famous medina" - Western Daily Press
  • "We have magical memories to take home." - Richmond & Sue, UK
  • "Part careful restoration, part Saharan fantasy is wonderfully well-located" - Cadogan Guide
  • "The Dar Les Cigognes pampers its guests with plenty of rest." - Chili
  • "A great team of friendly staff make you feel welcome from the first moment you step into the hotel." - Irish Daily Mail
  • "Sublimely chic" - Time Out
  • "Dar Les Cigognes in the heart of the ancient medina is where to stay in Marrakech." - Red
  • "The luxury hotel Dar Les Cigognes" - Reise aktuell
  • "Friendly staff and a warm welcome. Thank you for a wonderful time." - Mr & Mrs Knight
  • "A super riad in the heart of bustling city" - Simon & Heidi
  • "A gem in Marrakech with all the ingredients to appeal to those in search of pampering and privacy" - Portfolio
  • "This is the best place to be." - Jan & Jolanda, NL
  • "I hope I'll come back soon. Thanks for the unforgettable holiday" - Sanne
  • "Everyone and everything here were amazing." - Marcella & Stefano
  • "Here in the stork house time remains to has stood still in the pre-industrial world." - Chili
  • "Dar Les Cigognes has been truly amazing!" - Mr. & Mrs. Rompson
  • "Thank you for a most wonderful stay in your beautiful riad." - David & Helen, UK
  • "The plant filled rooftop of this designer riad is the perfect spot to catch a few, last fleeting rays of sunshine of the year." - Red
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a stunning example of what the riads have to offer." - icsouthlondon.co.uk
  • "A design temple with sumptuously comfortable interiors" - Condé Nast Traveler
  • "A little jewel of a hotel in the heart of historic Marrakech" - Gulliver
  • "We have traveled to many parts of the world and this is one of the friendliest hotels ever!" - Dave & Mary, UK
  • "Dar Les Cigognes stands out with its particularly well-conceived design." - Tablet talk
  • "a fabulous haven" - Area
  • "With an excellent chef, this is the place to try Moroccan specialties" - The Daily Mail
  • "The food was amazing and the hamman a real experience!" - Caroline & Jan, UK
  • "Wonderful, peaceful experience, loved every minute of it." - Julia & Rob
  • "Intoxicate your senses at Dar Les Cigognes" - abenteuer und reisen
  • "This was the best place to be." - Jan & Jolanda
  • "Everything breathes luxury and good taste" - Geo Guide
  • "Experience of the world of 1001 nights in Dar Les Cigognes!"
  • "Paradise for aficionados" - Smokers Club
  • "Welcome to paradise" - Marc
  • "It's a beautiful person's natural habitat" - medlife
  • "A bon ton riad and veritable hotel du charme" - Maisons du Maroc
  • "The exclusive clientele make this the perfect haven after a busy day in the souks." - B International
  • "Peace and quiet amongst the chaos of this great city" - The Best of Marrakech
  • "The intimate atmosphere of the hammam should not be missed" - Gulliver
  • "A charming superior first class riad with the intimacy, service and comfort of a boutique hotel." - Kuoni
  • "Dar Les Cigognes has rooms full of charm and character" - Guide de Charme
  • "Dar Les Cigognes gets our vote every time." - The Sunday Times
  • "Perfectly placed in the medina- Dar Les Cigognes" - Kuoni
  • "An oasis of calm and elegance in the heart of the medina." - Franz, London
  • "A charming riad that is a convenient and quiet oasis from which to explore the city" - House and Garden.
  • "We felt safe, comfortable and very happy in your wonderful hotel." - Charles & Christine, UK
  • "It's beautiful!" - Philip & Hannah
  • "The wonderful hotel and staff made our stay in Marrakech complete." - Milay
  • "What a charming hood in the best part of town" - Sam, UK
  • "Sophisticated elegance and style are the traits of this charming hotel." - Wand0travel.com
  • "Thank you for a very restful stay in your beautiful, peaceful Riad." - Wquas & Sodia
  • "We will come here over and over again to the riad of dreams" - Pam, UK
  • "A wonderful calm oasis in the middle of busy marrakech" - Rachael & Malt
  • "At night, the illuminated marble fountain brings life to the patio" - Couleurs 35 Marrakech
  • "You will find the beauty of a riad's private world." - Time Out
  • "Dar Les Cigognes - it's one of Marrakech best-loved hotel." - Simpson travel
  • "Will allow you to feel like a Pasha on your vacation." - Escapio
  • "The decor is amazing, truly magical, especially in the evening, by candlelight." - Clara, Prenatal & Rudy
  • "On the rooftop is a view across to the Atlas" - Daily Express
  • "An oasis of luxury and calm" - Red
  • "One can only be blown away by the sumptuous tadelakt and ornate carved plaster" - Luxury Morocco
  • "One of the best boutique hotels of the Mediterranean" - Mediterranean Life
  • "In the heart of the medina of Marrakech, Dar Les Cigognes." - Elle
  • "Hidden behind a heavy wooden door with a knocker, there is the hotel-jewel Dar Les Cigognes." - ICON
  • "A charming riad that is a convenient and quiet oasis from which to explore the city" - House and Garden
  • "Moorish through and through, Dar Les Cigognes is the perfect wind-down spot following a hard day's bargaining in the souk." - medlife
  • "One of the oldest and most elegant Riad hotels in Marrakech." - reisemagazin.com
  • "A true idyll amongst the chaos" - Richard & Louise
  • "The storks create the perfect harmony at rooftop level" - Chantal
  • "The Sanssouci Collection attracts discerning gourmets and globetrotters into the enchanting city." - BOARDING.DK
  • "But the real luxury of Dar Les Cigognes is the hospitality and friendliness of staff." - Maroc, la Tradition du Luxe
  • "A delightful and well-run medina riad hotel" - Privat Dining
  • "Very kind and helpful staff." - Lesley & John
  • "We would recommend this riad to anyone visiting Marrakech." - Society
  • "The true beauty and many distinct facets of Moorish art come to life in this intimate boutique hotel" - Elle Decor
  • "Anyone interested in Moroccan design will find it difficult to drag themselves away" - The Sunday Telegraph
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a small jewel highlighting the multiple facets of Moorish art" - Michelin Guide
  • "We have visited many hotels but Dar Les Cigognes was a miracle." - Chris & Willy
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a small jewel." - Hébergement
  • "A luxurious and relaxing refuge" - Elle Spain
  • "The heart of the ancient medina is where to stay in Marrakech and Dar Les Cigognes is a gorgeous refuge" - Red
  • "Wins our vote every time" - The Sunday Times
  • "Secret Celebrity Hideaways" - Travel + Leisure
  • "At Dar Les Cigognes you don't need a superstars bank balance to live the life of the blessed" - Mediterranean Life
  • "A stylish sanctuary of peace and calm." - Red
  • "Skillfully and sensitively restored." - architecture+
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a 17th-century merchant's townhouse that has been converted into a bijou 11-room hotel in Marrakesh-trés chic" - The Times of London
  • "Magic lies above the courtyard with bubbling fountains and golden lanterns, tranquility and beauty embrace the guest." - Icon
  • "This elegant boutique hotel is an oasis of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle." - UrlaubTipp
  • "Dar Les Cigognes- unforgettable" - Luxueux Maroc
  • "Exquisite mother-of-pearl inlay furnishings contrast crisp white sheets and lush green walls" - Home Journal
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is beautifully modern whilst staying true to a traditional cultural aesthetic." - AREA
  • "Dar Les Cigognes with great traditional home cooking." - Waitrose kitchen
  • "The way how the stars like it" - In
  • "We will tell all our friends about the excellent service and quaint oasis that we felt inside there walls." - Ken, USA
  • "A fantastically beautiful hotel" - More Than Classic
  • "A lovely, laid-back place." - Richard
  • "We loved our experience in Marrakech, especially our time at Dar Les Cigognes." - Lera & Ezak
  • "One of the oldest and most elegant riad hotels in Marrakech" - reisemagazin.com
  • "A warm welcome with great service" - Hotels of Charm-Morocco
  • "Moorish magic- Dar Les Cigognes." - In
  • "The jewel from 1001 nights" - Reise aktuell
  • "Beautiful Riad, helpful and friendly staff" - Charlotte & Sean
  • "We will come back with all our friends to show them this special place." - Diana
  • "The style oasis of Dar Les Cigognes is located in the Medina" - Seitenblicke
  • "A chic boutique hotel with a quaint Moorish charm" - B International
  • "Silence and beauty surrounds the guest." - Der Tagesspiegel
  • "1001 nights deluxe - The Sanssouci Collection" - tic.travel
  • "Dar Lees Chiggers is like paradise on earth." - Martin, Germany
  • "Close to the sky" - Schweizer Illustrierte
  • "Dar Les Cigognes still oozes history, but has been sensitively updated by cult Morocco architect Charles Boccara." - In Style
  • "The jewel of 1001 nights" - Elle
  • "We pushed the door and it was magical!" - Monique & Peric
  • "The intricate attention to detail is stunning" - The Evening Standard
  • "An eye catching interior" - Fodor's
  • "This award-winning true boutique Hotel ensuring private and individual experiences in Marrakech." - International Inns, Resort&Spas
  • "A mustn't miss! " - Abenteuer und reisen
  • "The 17th century merchant's house still echoes with the gentle and beautiful atmosphere of the past." - Simpson Travel, Morocco
  • "The luxury hotel is the ideal starting point for exploring Marrakech." - escapio, Einzigartige Hotels
  • "11 rooms that take you on a ostentatious journey through Morocco." - Guide Evasion
  • "The staff made our trip like a dream." - Annemarie
  • "A perfect stay in a perfect riad." - John & Anna, UK
  • "Relaxing holidays in style should all start from a place like this." - moroccochic
  • "Excellent service, wonderful staff, made us feel at home." - M. To ulan
  • "Simply fantastic!" - Chris, Spain
  • "The dream of 1001 nights - Dar Les Cigognes"
  • "Out in the Medina rages haggle-madness, in the elegant designed riad there is magical peace." - In Style
  • "A truly wonderful place to stay on our first visit to Morocco." - Kate & Mark, UK
  • "The real luxury of Dar Les Cigognes is the welcome and gentleness of the staff, always ready to cater to your every need" - Luxury Morocco
  • "Our visit could not has been better." - Kiersten & Alexandria
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a Jewel!" - guests from NY
  • "Luxurious atmosphere, unique charm and local authenticity." - BOARDING.DK
  • "Fab place - throughly enjoyed it!" - Kellie, Ana & Max
  • "A luxury riad done in a traditional but modern style" - The Rough Guide
  • "Dar Les Cigognes in the heart of the historic medina." - International Inns, Resorts & Spas
  • "is characterized by luxurious but unostentatious accommodations" - New Hotels
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is one of the best hotel by far." - youandyourwe
  • "A roof terrace with magnificent views of the Atlas Mountains." - House & Garden
  • "This place is like a dream." - Marlene & Carl
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a unique and extraordinary destination." - Simon, Australia
  • "The Riad Dar Les Cigognes is a small city palace." - sierramar.ch
  • "Unusually stunning -. Business Traveler
  • "Dar Les Cigognes an oasis of luxury and calm." - Time out Marocco
  • "Dar Les Cigognes in the heart of the old town of Marrakech."" - Guide de Charme
  • "Too good to be true: Dar Les Cigognes' plush interiors belie the hotel's friendly room rates" - Mediterranean Life
  • "Many thanks for making our first visit to marrakech a wonderful memory…" - Mark & Kylie, Luxemburg & Australia
  • "The sunshine was wonderful, but your smiles outdid the sun by far." - Steve & Lynne, UK
  • "Behind the blank walls lies a world of tranquility" - The Sunday Telegraph
  • "Here you can pamper yourself in a relaxed atmosphere and in traditional Moroccan ambience." - BOARDING.DK
  • "After climbing up the tiled stairs, is there the paradise waiting." - Schweizer Illustrierte
  • "Architecture that awakens the soul" - Architecture +
  • "Talk about an other world - to step the excitement city into the calm of the riad." - Lynn & Dave, UK
  • "Enjoy a luxurious treatment by Dar Les Cigognes." - Red
  • "Thank you for the impeccable service." - Jennifer & Particio
  • "What a wonderful haven" - Lynn
  • "Master craftsmanship steered by the incomparable Charles Boccara. A true Oasis of Calm in Marrakech" - Architecture +
  • "The architecture is amazing" - Tatler
  • "Anything that was good enough for the sultans, are bound to be good enough for us." - B International
  • "After a minute I'd forgotten my cares." - Catherine
  • "A beautiful retreat in the heart of wonderful Marrakech." - Elli, Naomi & Nix, UK
  • "A truly 6 Star experience!" - Penny, UK
  • "It`s a peaceful respite from the hectic, chaotic life which is just a step away" - John & Co. UK
  • "Dar Les Cigognes- the perfect apres-shopping retreat." - Red
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is something special" - Gabriele & Oliver
  • "…such attention to detail and so peaceful!" - Sally, Phillippe & Franc
  • "Fairytale Wedding in boutique hotel Dar Les Cigognes" - honeymoontip
  • "This bijou hotel is convenient for all the sites" - the chiccollection
  • "We have loved every minute of our time in Marrakech." - Danielle & David
  • "Exceptional attention to detail and professional staff" - Sean
  • "We loved Dar Les Cigognes and Marrakech." - Annabel, UK
  • "One of the most stylish and comfortable riads in Morocco" - Madame
  • "You have a lovely place and your staff is the best!" - Keirsten & Alexandria
  • "…the city's hotshot riad converter." - The Sunday Times
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a luxurious little jewel" - Maroc, la tradition du luxe
  • "Dar Les Cigognes quaint old-town palace in Marrakech." - Escapio
  • "Small luxury hotel that bears the stamp of star architect Charles Boccara." - guide evasion
  • "We couldn't have chosen a better spot to spend the nights." - Annette & Marianne, NL
  • "A magical place to stay." - Carel & Steve, UK
  • "An enchanting beautiful, intimate boutique hotel." - Icon
  • "An oasis of 1001 nights" - Domizil
  • "The whole team is always at your service, making a stay at Dar Les Cigognes forever memorable" - Traditions of Luxury
  • "A sanctuary from the vibrant bustle of Marrakech's streets." - AREA
  • "A peaceful ambience that is immediately apparent" - Hedonist's Guide
  • "In Dar Les Cigognes you relax royally." - SPA inside
  • "This is like a dream come true, it is the most wonderful place I have stayed in and I have traveled the world" - Yvonne and Chris
  • "The entry never indicates to the richness of the interior of Dar Les Cigognes." - Marrakech Express
  • "Service is just the start. Every detail counts" - The Independent
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is very relaxing and calm after the hectic, vibrant city outside it's walls." - Karl
  • "Unique mix of traditions and modernity" - Elle
  • "Marrakech- so full of life and colour. A perfect moment in time at Dar Les Cigognes." - John & Caroline, UK
  • "In Dar Les Cigognes in Marrakech time seems to have stopped." - Chili
  • "with its design it reflects the traditional Morocco" - Urlaub Tipp
  • "An ideal starting point for discoveries through Marrakech." - reisemagazin.com
  • "Should be a place to see, feel and to enjoy." - Sabine
  • "Stylish living- Dar Les Cigognes." - URLAUB TIPP
  • "We have had the most wonderful time" - Simon & Edward, Australia
  • "Each room tells a different story full of oriental charm and romance." - Elle
  • "Voluptuously orientalist" - Couleurs Marrakech
  • "A very lovely and enchanting Riad." - Clare & Michael
  • "Dar Les Cigognes is a gorgeous refuge." - Red
  • "Beautiful Riad in the Medina of Marrakech with gorgeous rooms and a stunning roof terrace." - abenteuer und reisen
  • "This has been an unforgettable and beautiful experience for all the senses!" - Katja, Finnland
  • "Each guest's request is satisfied before you have expressed it." - Tourbillon
  • "A luxury refuge" - Reise Aktuell
  • "A hotel that hardly could be more intimate and stylish." - freundin.de
  • "Excellent taste and florid imagination have brought this beautiful hotel to life" - Architecture du Maroc
  • "There is a fabulous tranquility" - In Style

Salt-Marrakech Restaurant Opens

We are very, very excited to announce that after many years of planning and thinking, we are finally opening our restaurant SALT-Marrakech.  From Tuesday the 9th of February.  Tables are limited.

Moroccan gourmet restaurant

Salt-Marrakech a journey of Moroccan Flavours

Please check out our site www.salt-marrakech.com and like our Facebook page Salt-Marrakech to stay abreast of new menus.

We chose the name salt for our proximity to the Mellah, the ancient Jewish quarter of the medina, and also the arabic word for salt.

For 15 years we have been holding daily cooking classes to teach traditional Moroccan cooking. Our love of Moroccan culture, as expressed through its food, is limitless. Through the school we have had the extraordinary good fortune to welcome some very well known chefs and foodies, thousands of passionate amateurs, amused participants, and children. It has been wonderful and will continue to be so.

We have also wanted to explore Moroccan ingredients, techniques, and methods in new ways. Thus the genesis of Salt. We will be looking to serve the very best of traditional Moroccan cooking with a different approach. For the past year, we have been experimenting with formats, inviting talented chefs to come and cook with us, to help us to explore together Moroccan food.

Have a look at our Valentine’s and February Menu.

Salt Marrakech Valentine’s Menu

Our house team will be preparing a seasonal menu 6 nights each week. Additionally, we will be welcoming guest chefs who will bring their own vision and approach, and their own menus.

For the next two weeks we will be doing a soft launch and welcoming diners at an introductory rate. From Mid-March, we will be hosting our first guest chef Najat Kaanache.  Table reservations are required.  Reserve by dropping us a line at tables@salt-marrakech.com.

 

Inspiration and Moroccan Food with Celeste Pianezzola

Trio of Moroccan Salads by Celeste Pianezzola

Talented chef Celeste Pianezzola recently joined the Sanssouci Cooking School in Marrakech to create an extraordinary meal. Inspired by her background as the uncrowned “Queen of the Grill” and the amazing array of ingredients on display in the local markets, she created a unique menu for guests of Sanssouci Collection in Marrakech.

We had the great pleasure of hosting her for a pop-up dinner with the Sanssouci Supper Club in Marrakech. This is part of our ongoing programme to explore the possible future of Moroccan cuisine by inviting a series of international chefs to come to Marrakech, find inspiration from the local sites and sounds, ingredients, and food culture, and to come up with new and interesting dishes.  Part Morocco, and part the inspiration based on past experiences, Celeste rose to the challenge in great form, creating a series of dishes as part of an extravagant evening of grilled specialties.

There aren’t many people who would just agree to cook up a storm in a strange country, strange kitchen, and for people never met before based on an email exchange. Celeste is one of the few: a true adventurer. She’s an extremely talented and creative chef, great fun, and a fantastic photographer. Her talent and professionalism were in ample evidence as she not only cooked up a storm, but also entertained and demonstrated her skills with the grill. Her curiosity and passion about Moroccan food, spices, techniques and dishes was inspiring. Her sense of adventure and obvious love of Morocco helped to produce some extraordinary, and fresh dishes.

The evenings menu:

The storks seen from the roof garden of Sanssouci Hotel Dar Les Cigognes. Photo by Celeste

Roasted Vegetable Soup
Courgette and Aubergine Salad with Fatna’s Berber Chermoula
Broad Bean Salad
Grilled Radish Salad with Cucumbers and Orange Blossom
Quail Stuffed with Beef, Onions, Almonds and Dates with Fresh Yoghurt cheese
Accompanied with Grilled Carrots and Grilled Artichoke Hearts with Wheat Berries
Strawberry “Harcha” Shortcake with Candied Pistachios and Rose-Scented Whipped Cream

Over the coming weeks and months we will be posting many of the recipes that she created here.  One diner commented that she had never before enjoyed broad beans. Given that she ate them all, we had to include this delightful preparation.

Broad Bean Salad
1 kg in the pod broad beans
4 tbsps olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 tsps cumin
3 tbsps freshly chopped coriander
Juice of 1/2 a lemon or to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Shell the beans, blanch, and peel.  Sauté garlic in oil over medium high heat until lightly browned.  Toss in cumin seeds to toast 20 seconds.  Add broad beans and toss to coat.  Add half of chopped coriander.  Add enough cold water to just cover, reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Pour through fine mesh sieve and transfer to bowl.  Dress with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and remaining coriander.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Serves 6-8 as part of a salad course (or 4 if served as an individual salad starter).

If you would like to join our supper club in the future or join us for a cooking class, please drop us a line at info at sanssoucicollection.com. If you are a chef, we would love to hear from you.

Marrakech Cooking Class Morocco Presents the Future of Moroccan Food at Sanssioucci Collection with Jane Campbell Howard

Chef Jane Campbell Howard cooks at Dar Les Cigognes on February 27th and 28th, 2015. Contact us for reservations at info@sanssoucicollection.com

The Sanssouci Cooking Class, Marrakech, Morocco – Presents a Pop-Up Supper Club with chef Jane Campbell Howard, 27th and 28th February, 2015, at boutique hotel Dar Les Cigognes in Marrakech.

The Sanssouci Marrakech Cooking School in Morocco is hosting a Supper Club at Dar Les Cigognes featuring chef Jane Campbell Howard.  This is part of our ongoing exploration of Moroccan Cuisine and Culture.

Jane knows Morocco and Moroccan cuisine and ingredients, having worked and lived here for several years.  The combination of her classical training, adventurous spirit, and knowledge of Marrakech’s markets and produce, should make for interesting culinary alchemy!

We are heading into a season with beautiful produce, which opens up some very exciting possibilities.  In keeping with our desire to give the chef maximum freedom and room for last minute inspiration, we are not pre-announcing the menu.

Booking a Table
This is an intimate event, and places are limited to just 24 guests, with priority to resident guests, so please drop us a line at info@sanssoucicollection.com or call +212 524 38 27 40 or 47 67. Jane will be cooking on two nights only.  Dinner is 600 dhs per person including drinks.

Jane’s Background

Jane studied at the outstanding Prue Leith’s School of Food and Wine in London before working at the world famous Harvey’s restaurant.  Harvey’s iconic status at the time was cemented by co-owner and chef Marco Pierre White who became the youngest ever chef to be awarded two michelin stars. Marco later became the second youngest chef to win 3 michelin stars.  Many other well known chefs trained under Marco, including Gordon Ramsay, Eric Chavot, Stephen Terry, Philip Howard, all of whom earned their own stars, and Harvey’s was known as one of the most innovative kitchens of its time.

Jane went on to cook for the Formula One teams Ferrari and McLaren, cooking for the teams and their sponsors all over the world, producing sublime food in often challenging circumstances.

She went on to open a hotel and restaurant in the Cotswolds with her husband.  The Dial House was voted by Which Guides in 2005 as Hotel of the Year.  They sold the business in 2007 before heading to Marrakech.

After running Riad El Fenn alongside her husband, the pair returned to England to open The Society Café in Bath.  Their new business is growing and they hope to have their third location open by the end of this year.

We are over the moon to have her back, and to be able to explore Moroccan food and flavours and inspiration as part of this series.

More about Sanssouci Cooking School and Hotels

Sanssouci Collection consists of a cooking school and two riad boutique hotels: Dar Les Cigognes and Riad Kaiss. Since 2000, we have been focussed on exploring Moroccan culture through its cuisine.

Sansouci Cooking School Guest Chef Programme
During 2015, we will be inviting a number of different chefs to come and be inspired by what they see in Morocco, and to create unique dinners.  We hope that you will join us as we explore together a future vision of Moroccan cooking.

BOOK A TABLE: info@sanssoucicollection.com

Spaces are extremely limited, so please contact us to book.  Reservations are required.  Call +212 524 38 27 40 or email info@sanssoucicollection.com.  Dinner on Friday and Saturday, the 27th and 28th of February, 19:30 for 20:00.

Guest chef at Les Cigognes Marrakech

Gourmet Pop-up Dinner Evening on 7th February, 2015 at Dar Les Cigognes, Marrakech with Guest Chef Celeste Pianezzola
Very excited to announce the first in our series of 2015 pop-up dinners. Throughout 2015, Sanssouci Cooking School will be hosting a series of guest chefs with whom we will be exploring Moroccan cuisine and culture, and creating an inspiring series of new dishes.

The first chef in the line-up is the talented chef Celeste Pianezzola coming to us from New Zealand who will be displaying her talents on Saturday evening the 7th of February at Dar Les Cigognes, where she and the Sanssouci Cooking school team will be serving a dinner inspired by the mingling of Celeste’s unique take on the world of food and Moroccan flavours.

Celeste trained under some of the most famous chefs in New Zealand and Australia before taking the helm at Olive, where she gained a following for her artistry with the grill. She looks forward to applying her skill and unique approach to grilling with us at Les Cigognes.

Booking a Table
This is an intimate event, and places are limited to just 24 guests, so please drop us a line at info@sanssoucicollection.com or call +212 524 38 27 40 or 47 67. Celeste will be cooking on one night only. Dinner is 600 dhs per person excluding drinks.

Exploring the future of Moroccan cooking with Sanssouci Marrakech

Celeste Piannezola, Gifted Chef and Grill Specialist

More about Guest Chef Celeste Pianezzola
Utah born and raised, Celeste felt the urge to travel at a young age. After 3 years of training to be a carpenter, Celeste Pianezzola turned to cooking. Cooking gave her wings to fly around the world and she has absorbed and studied many different cuisines of the world. It is this diversity that gives depth to her creations. The eye for detail and precision she learned as a carpenter also served her well, and brought a whole new element of construction to her food.

She first started building a name for herself in Melbourne Australia, a mecca for foodies and chefs. There she was the head chef at a waterfront cafe called My Sister Says, and spent her nights sneaking into the finest kitchens and learning from the best. Among them was Vue de Monde, Cumulus, and Attica. From Australia she headed to South East Asia where she studied ancient methods of cooking in the southern rainforests of Thailand, and slowly wandered up into Vietnam where she ate and studied food in Hanoi and Sapa Valley. Two years later she emerged from the jungle and settled in Wellington, New Zealand where she worked with renowned chefs Charlie Noble and Martin Bosley at the White House. A short detour brought her back to the west coast of the United States. After a short stint exploring the world of food trucks and street food, she settled down as chef at Olive Restaurant, where she took the city by storm cooking up elaborate and ever-changing seasonal menus on two charcoal grills. Her mastery of cooking with fire is renowned. She is now exploring the cooking of Morocco with us at Sanssouci.

More about Sanssouci Cooking School and Hotels
Sanssouci Collection consists of a cooking school and two riad hotels: Dar Les Cigognes and Riad Kaiss. Since 2000, we have been focussed on exploring Moroccan culture through its cuisine.

Sansouci Cooking School Guest Chef Programme
During 2015, we will be inviting a number of different chefs to come and be inspired by what they see in Morocco, and to create unique dinners.  We hope that you will join us as we explore together a future vision of Moroccan cooking.

BOOK A TABLE: info@sanssoucicollection.com

Celebrating the Great Chefs who have done Moroccan Cooking with Sanssouci Collection in Marrakech

Choumicha--Morocco's Most Famous Chef--at Dar Les Cigognes in Marrakech

As we head into our 15th year of Cooking Classes at the Sanssouci Collection Cooking School in Marrakech, we wanted to take a moment to thank the people who have participated in the classes over the years, to highlight some of the professionals who have joined us, and to look forward to the future.

Moroccan Cooking

World-renowned chef Mourad Lahlou does Moroccan cooking with Sanssouci at Riad Kaiss

Paula Wolfert. No conversation about Moroccan cooking should not feature Paula Wolfert. One of the very first people to write about Moroccan food in English, her book The Food of Morocco, has most demonstrably stood the test of time, and her book remains the ultimate cookery bible for those interested in Moroccan cuisine, the food culture of the country, regional and obscure specialities, and recipes that really work. Her book was re-issued recently with gorgeous new photography by Quentin Bacon, one of the world’s best food photographers.

Mourad Lahlou. Winner of Iron Chef, and the first Moroccan to earn a Michelin star, self-taught Mourad is a leading light in the Moroccan culinary pantheon. From his restaurant Aziza in San Francisco, he has been innovating and pushing the boundaries of what Moroccan Cuisine is all about for over a decade.  His book New Moroccanis filled with fantastically original and creative recipes.

Choumicha. She is quite possibly Morocco’s biggest television star, period. Her television shows, both on traditional Moroccan cooking and on more modern cooking and home management, inspire people across Morocco and Moroccan’s around the world pining away for the flavours of home.  We have had the pleasure of doing two television shows with her.

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.  We had the great pleasure to act as food consultants to the Channel 4 Series Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feasts.  His wonderfully approachable style and fresh, light take on food was wonderful to see in action.  The Moroccan episode was filmed in part at Les Cigognes and Riad Kaiss.

Masterchef winner Keri Moss cooks with Sanssouci Collection at Dar Les Cigognes

Hassan M’Souli. Recent winner of the best Paella in Australia, Hassan explained to us recently how close the technique of making the perfect paella is to the perfect tajine. This classic of Spanish cuisine, however, is also found in the North of Morocco.  His famous paella and extensive list of Moroccan specialities are available at his Sidney restaurant, Out of Africa.  His book Moroccan Modern was voted one of the best new cookbooks of 2012.

Yoshiaki Kuno. Chef Kuno has been serving Mediterranean food at his Tokyo restaurants for many years, and for many locals and expats, it is one of the great addresses for a taste of this part of the world. He is also the first to regularly feature Moroccan dishes on his menu, and we are delighted to have been able to help him bring a touch of Morocco to Japan.

John Quigley. Owner of Glasgow’s Red Onion, John has been turning out inspired modern fare for many years at his restaurant. We have exhorted friends to drop in and say hi.

Sarah Scott. For fifteen years she was Executive Chef at the Robert Mondavi winery. Cooking alongside such greats as Jeremiah Tower, Alice Waters, Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Madeleine Kamman, she has done more than anyone to spread the word about Napa Valley’s approach to the culinary arts. In her wonderful book The Wild Table, she shares this fresh approach to cooking and ingredients.

Keri Moss.  Winner of Masterchef the Professionals in 2012, we had the great pleasure of hosting and working with her. Her down to earth style and creative approach to cooking are inspiring and we look forward to seeing her work and style evolve over the coming years.

Sophia and Rob Thomasset.  Authors of the sensational new pan-Moroccan book Colours of Maroc, Sophia and Rob have captured Moroccan gastronomy from its humblest to its most divine.  The book is a must-read for those who are interested in the cuisine of this great country.

We are very much looking forward to 2015 with a new book on its way and a resident chef’s programme.

Sanssouci’s Pan-Seared Aubergine, Blood Orange and Fennel Salad

Adapted from a recipe prepared and written by Keri Moss, winner of Masterchef 2012 The Professionals during her stay with the Sanssouci Collection Cooking School at Dar Les Cigognes. To participate in a future trip with Masterchef Travel and Sanssouci Collection, kindly contact us or Cox & Kings.

Aubergine, Fennel, and Blood Orange Salad by Keri Moss

Keri found inspiration from the seasonal produce on hand in the fresh food markets of Marrakech.  This salad is a blend of the local bounty and her creative approach to the dish.

Ingredients

3 medium aubergines
2 small fennel bulbs
3 blood oranges, segmented
Zest and segments of 1 navel orange
35g fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
100ml of olive oil
30ml orange blossom water
15 g freshly ground ginger
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare the aubergines. Slice the aubergines lengthwise into 16 even slices each. Heat a wrought iron skillet to intense heat and caramelize the aubergines quickly in this pan. Once they are coloured on their sides, take off the heat, season with 40 ml of olive oil, salt and pepper and set aside.

Quarter the fennel bulbs, core, then slice fine into thin strips. Put the frying pan with the aubergines back onto the fire, toss in the fennel slices, and continue cooking until the fennel begins to colour. Add a further 40 ml of olive oil, the freshly ground ginger, and continue to cook another 2 minutes.

Keep the pan moving and add in the orange blossom water. Take off the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Zest the navel orange over the pan to ensure that all the oils are also caught. Set aside.

Section the blood oranges and navel orange. Save any orange juice that dribbles off during this process for the dressing. Chop the coriander.

Assemble the salad. Layer the aubergines and fennel and toss on the oranges and most of the coriander. Dress with the orange juice left from the sectioning of oranges and the remaining olive oil. Toss gently and then sprinkle with the remaining coriander. Serves 6.

Beauty Secrets of Moroccan Women

Everyone knows the best way to get luminous skin is to go to a hammam and soap up with beldi, scrub with a kassa, and get a rhassoul mask. Everyone knows the way to get perfect hair is to wash it with henna and finish with argan oil. Everyone knows the quickest way to slim down is with turmeric, cumin, and green mint tea.

What? You’ve never heard of this stuff? Ah, come to Morocco, we will teach you!

Massage room at Dar Les Cigognes


Many of the most common health and beauty tips in Morocco are exotic mysteries to foreigners, but here we will give you a taste of the authentic local secrets. You can order many of these things online and try them at home, but to truly understand there’s only one way: you just have to come visit and get the full experience.

The central feature of the Moroccan beauty regime is the hammam, which is similar to a Turkish bath or a spa. A tranquil haven in which to shed the worries of the everyday, the hammam is also the setting for some of the best Moroccan skin- and hair-care tools.

After letting the steam room open your pores, the first step in the hammam ritual is to lather your skin with beldi. Beldi is a smooth black soap with the consistency of butter. Made from crushed olives and olive oil, it is full of vitamin E for bright, healthy skin. It thoroughly moisturizes and nourishes your skin to get that lovely soft, silky feel. Cover your whole body in the creamy goo and leave it for 5-10 minutes to work its magic.

Then comes the kassa, a rough glove used to scrub the whole body. Moroccan women know how to exfoliate: if you come to a hammam and pay for a scrub, a motherly woman with the strength of ten men will scour every inch of your skin with a kassa until it glows. After the beldi wash, dead skin sloughs off easily, and the kassa treatment will make you feel like a whole new person.

Next is a rhassoul mask, a unique Moroccan treat. Rhassoul is a clay found only in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco with wonderful cosmetic advantages. It’s extremely absorbent, and though it normally comes in powder or small bars, it turns into a thick paste when mixed with water. Coat your skin in this rich mud to take advantage of its incredible properties: it tones and enriches skin, removing impurities and nourishing it with vital minerals.

Finally, moisturize with argan oil. In Western countries this miracle product is often called Moroccan oil, since it comes from the argan tree which grows exclusively in Morocco. It’s recently risen in popularity as a hair treatment, but it’s also great for skin care. The silky oil is rich in proteins that keep skin elastic and help to prevent wrinkles. It’s great for dry skin, but surprisingly it’s also perfect for oily skin: argan oil helps to regulate the production of sebum in your skin.

Traditional Moroccan Hammam at Dar Les Cigognes

Now that your skin has been buffed and polished to perfection, it’s time to wash your hair. Henna is the plant for this job; it nourishes, moisturizes, and smoothes hair to leave it glossy and strong. You thought henna was only for painting pretty designs on hands and feet? Not so! Like argan oil, it regulates sebum production, so it’s just as good for oily hair as dry hair. It also helps add volume to fine hair. For dry or curly hair, you should finish with more argan oil to smooth split ends and moisturize without weighing hair down or making it look greasy.

But the cosmetic wisdom of Morocco doesn’t stop when you leave the hammam. Here are a few great diet tips straight from Marrakech: turmeric is a great spice for boosting your metabolism and flushing toxins from the liver. It can also help to lower blood sugar. Feeling bloated? Moroccans know cumin is the answer. It stimulates enzymes that help to break down food more efficiently, easing digestion and preventing gas and bloating. Of course, the best turmeric and cumin is sold at the spice markets in Marrakech. Finally, green mint tea is perfect for flushing toxins from your system and making you look and feel younger. It’s traditional to drink green mint tea with every meal in Morocco, and it’s not uncommon for merchants to insist you sit with them for a glass of tea while having a friendly debate over the price of their wares.

As we’ve mentioned, most of these things can be found online or at your local health food store. You can bring a small piece of Morocco home with you to try to recreate the effect. But that will not be the authentic experience. You cannot truly understand the beauty and vitality beating at the heart of Morocco until you come visit us and immerse yourself completely in the wonders and delights of Marrakech.

“Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag” films at Dar Les Cigognes

Watch the filming of Anna & Kristina's Grocery bag films at Dar Les Cigognes by Sanssouci Collection

Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag at Dar Les Cigognes

Dar Les Cigognes recently hosted an episode of “Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag” a TV show distributed globally on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

The show takes a hot new cookbook by a major chef and then cooks from it. Invited to taste their cooking is a globally recognised expert in the cuisine of choice. The book that brought this show to Morocco was the wonderful book by Mourad Lahlou, “New Morocco”. Mourad’s book has received many awards, including best new cookbook of 2012. Mourad himself has also been awarded a Michelin star, and his book is a gem of fresh approaches to Moroccan classics.

The judge of the show is Choumicha, Morocco’s biggest TV star, and Morocco’s biggest food star.

The show is an entertaining romp through the girls’ exploration of his recipes, and the fine cooking that results. Choumicha is duly impressed.

Colour of Maroc is a great new book on Moroccan food and culture with an introduction by the Sanssouci Collection Cooking School

A great new book about Moroccan food and culture

Cornes de Gazelle at Riad Kaiss by Sanssouci Collection

The classic Moroccan pastry Cornes de Gazelle made fresh from scratch at Sanssouci

Every now and again it all just comes together. Great people, great writing, great pictures, and a great story. This is all true of Rob and Sophia Palmer’s new book Colour of Maroc. Rob’s talent as a photographer is not just in the framing of his shots, and he has a great eye, but in his ability to make the camera disappear, so that he captures the moment, with a freshness and vitality that is completely real.

Sophia’s disarming charm is evident throughout, as you see in pictures and words how everyone opened up to help create a wonderfully atmospheric and enjoyable book to have, to read, and to cook and learn from. It should be on your shelf if you have any interest in Morocco. They are selling the book online on their own site http://www.colourofmaroc.com, but also via high street booksellers and Amazon.

The best part of the book is how clearly you see that they had a good time making the book–it comes through in the pictures and in the faces of the people they are with. The subtitle of the book is “A Celebration of Food and Life.” It certainly is. We are delighted to have been able to participate in this amazing project.

Quoting from the Introduction: “Like many of the great cuisines of the world, Moroccan food is the product of a vast array of influences. In most of the dishes, one can trace the country’s long history of colonisers and immigrants who made their mark, leaving behind new ingredients, flavours and techniques.” The collection of recipes in this book will give you all of that.

Traditional Folk Tales of Marrakech

The folklore tradition is strong in Morocco, particularly in Marrakech. In the main square of the medina, Jemaa El Fna, as the sun sets you’ll find many knots of people circled around an animated storyteller.

One of the great themes of Orientalist painting was the storyteller

Gentz Le Conteur's painting "The Moroccan Storyteller" 1870

Storytelling captures the imagination, preserving tradition, and connecting people to their cultural past.

At one time these rings of rapt listeners – called a halqa – could be found in any village center, as storytellers were ubiquitous. Today the tradition has dwindled, but in Jemaa El Fna it still thrives. In 2001, UNESCO made The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity specifically to protect the performance traditions of Jemaa El Fna.

When you come to visit, make sure to visit the square at night, when it is alive with people and music and lights. Stop at a halqa. Breath deep the smoky fragrance of the food stalls; listen, for a moment, to the whiney pipe of a snake charmer nearby. Then watch an ancient story unfold before your eyes.

For now, we will give you a small taste of the great oral tradition of Morocco with this folktale, The Sherif and the Saint.

Once upon a time, there was a young sherif, the ruler of Marrakech, who was quite full of himself and loved to wager. One day he was talking with his friend, the saint Sidi Ali ben Hamdusa, and boasting of his incredible endurance. The saint told him, “Your boasts are nothing. My faith in God gives me strength.” The young sherif bet him a hundred gold pieces that he could not sit at the top of a tower on the coldest night of winter, staying awake all night with no blankets and not fire to warm him. The saint took his wager and waited for the iciest night of the year, then sat atop the tallest tower in Marrakech with no blankets and no fire. All night he sat awake, wrestling with Jnun and the bitter, whipping winds of winter. Finally dawn broke over the horizon and Sidi Ali gratefully prostrated himself before the eastern sun in prayer, saying the Tzalat-l’Fajr (the morning office).

Later that day the arrogant sherif invited him to tea, asking him, “Well, did you do it?”

“Yes, Bism’ullah,” said the saint mildly.

“Last night? On the coldest night of winter? With no blanket, and no fire to warm your body?”

“Yes.”

“No extra djellabas, no rugs to kneel on, nothing?”

“May God silence me forever if I lie! I had nothing, save my faith in Him.”

“Ah,” said the Sherif, “and you stayed there all night long?”

“Yes, indeed, I stayed until I saw dawn break and I said the morning office as a good man should, the moment I saw the sun rise.”

“Aha!” the Sherif crowed, calling his friends to hear his triumph, “then you forfeit the wager, and I keep my thousand gold pieces – for since you saw the sun, you had its fire to warm you in your vigil.”

Now the old saint went away saddened, and meditated for several days. At last, he decided one day to give a private feast for the young sherif and all his friends. Along they came, with the sherif in their midst very full of wit and jokes, and at the hour of noon they were received at the Sidi’s house and invited to sit on his finest rugs and richest silken pillows. The saint settled them down and went off the check the meal. An hour passed. The guests, a little perturbed, made polite conversation; meanwhile their host hurried in and out with apologies, trays of fruit and sweetmeats (just enough to whet the appetite) and more apologies – and more apologies yet! Another hour. The guests sang songs and told tales to while away the time. Their host muttered excuses for his half-witted servants, and said the kitchen must be infested with Jnun. At last the sherif leaped to his feet. “What ails your kitchen,” he exclaimed, “that the slaves cannot even cook couscous? Let us go and see for ourselves.”

So the entire company, headed by the sherif and Sidi Ali, rose and trooped into the kitchen. There they found a curious sight! There was the couscous, there was the meat, there was the chicken and succulent fish and a pie of spinach and sharp cheese . . . all raw, in the cooking-pots, sitting in the hot sun. “What trick is this!” cried the sherif. “Are you trying to starve us to death?”

But the old saint shook with laughter. “Remember your wager, O Lord Sherif?” he inquired. “How you said my old bones were warmed by the fire of the sun? Well, you are wiser than I, and so here is your dinner. For six hours now, it has been cooking in the fire of the sun.” And while the young sherif squirmed with embarrassment (and all his friends hid their smiles) Sidi Ali picked up a dish and held it out. “Eat!” he said mildly.

The sherif hid his shame behind his hands. “God be praised for your wisdom, O my father Sidi Ali ben Hamdusa,” he said. “Subhan Allah! I have learned my lesson. Tomorrow the wager will be paid twice over.”

“You begin to learn,” said Sidi Ali, bowing. He drew back a curtain, and disclosed an array of dishes filled with the most exquisite foods, perfectly prepared and steaming hot. “And now, barak’alluhu fik ajarak allah, here is our true dinner. Enjoy it, enjoy it, my guest!”

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