~The Art of Mint Tea~ Moroccan Style~ Atay B’Nahna~

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by Sara on September 9, 2010

From my previous few posts, you might have guessed that I was fascinated on my trip to Fes, Morocco this past June! I have always been intrigued by the ritual or tradition of offering tea to a stranger as a gesture of hospitality. What a beautiful and welcoming act of generosity which warms the soul. I found this type of  hospitality all across Morocco! Also note that it is considered ill-mannered to refuse mint tea. The tea ceremony is always performed in front of the guests. Mint tea is always served in small, slender glasses decorated with gold or a colorful filigree pattern. I remember walking into our guesthouse in Fes, the BeautifulDar Roumana. As soon as we settled into our room, we were presented with  mint tea along with sweet confections to welcome us to the Dar!  It does not matter how hot or cold the weather is, mint tea is always flowing! No wonder mint tea is Morocco’s national drink, which is commonly made with Chinese green tea such as Gunpowder or Hyson tea. Moroccans add fresh spearmint and generous amount of sugar to there tea and let the flavors infuse for few minutes. Additional ingredients might be added to flavor the tea. In the Saffron growing regions, the local Berbers add saffron to the pot. They believe that the amber-colored tea has many healthy long lasting benefits. In other parts of Morocco, fresh orange blossoms, leaves of lemon verbena, aniseed or cinnamon sticks are added to the brew.

Dar Roumana is Arabic for House of the Pomegranate.  In almost all ancient cultures, the pomegranate, with its ruby color and jewel-like seeds, represented wealth, fertility, royalty, and even immortality.    This symbolism seems especially appropriate in a city as timeless and culturally rich as Fes. Our Hosts Jennifer, Gail, Mohamed and rest of the courteous & friendly staff of Dar Roumana were exceptional. They made our stay Pleasurable & memorable. If you happen to be in Fes, you know where to stay, I highly recommend it! Please contact Jennifer or Gail to make reservations  info@darroumana.com Check out there Website~ Dar Roumana

Jennifer the owner is  from US, who lovingly and painstakingly took on the challenge of restoring Dar Roumana to it’s jewel-like condition now. If that was not enough talent, she is also a trained chef. You will be in for a treat if you make dinner reservations at Dar Roumana. We had the pleasure of dining at the Dar which was a memorable experience in itself.

Our distinctive menu included a vast  array of Moroccan dishes.

Zalouk, a Spicy Eggplant Salad

Carrots in Charmoula

Chicken Tagine with Potatoes, Peas & Red Olives

Muhallabiya – Milk Custard with Orange for Dessert

~Dar Roumana also offers cooking classes and cooking tours~

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Bridgett September 9, 2010 at 5:24 am

Sara, I am a huge fan of mint tea and I love this particular post. I find it inspiring and your Moroccan set is just stunning. Who would not want to share a little glass of tea with a friend with this lovely set?

Marisa September 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Your photographs are extraordinary!

Kitty Morse September 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Glad you liked my recipe (and the history) behind the origins of mint tea, Morocco’s national drink. Your pictures vividly depict the kaleidoscopic ingredients that enter into Morocco’s cuisine. For more easy-to-cook Moroccan dishes, do visit my website!

Kitty Morse, author
Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen
and Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful

Soma September 10, 2010 at 12:27 am

I am so loving this Moroccan fanfare. Love the menu here.. I have the zalouk before and the carrot salad too. Love your glasses and the teapot.

shayma September 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm

love your photography, Sara! and those teacups, are they yours? i hope you bought some when you were there. eid mabrouk, my dear! x shayma

sarisignorelli September 10, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Our chilly Syracuse weather combined with your post has me craving mint tea. BTW, I have Kitty Morse’s Cooking at the Kasbah–awesome cookbook.

Faith September 10, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Mint tea is one of my favorite teas and I love your idea of adding orange blossoms! I’m definitely going to try that!

Eid Mubarak!

Jane Ko September 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm

I love those cups, they’re so detailed.

I would like to invite you to participate in my giveaway
http://atasteofkoko.blogspot.com/2010/08/mini-pistachio-tea-cakes-40.html

Sara September 11, 2010 at 4:38 am

@Shayma @Jane @Soma @ Bridget ~ thank you! I bought the tea kettle from Istanbul (grand bazaar) & the tea glasses from a Moroccan gift shop from Philadelphia!

marla {family fresh cooking} September 11, 2010 at 11:57 am

Hey glamour girl! I love traveling the world through your eyes. This post is just beautiful, you take us inside a country that I would love to visit some day. Dar Roumana looks amazing as does all the fine meals & tea you enjoyed while there. xo

Nadia September 11, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I loved the hospitality at the riads too, so warm and welcoming. Vibrant and gorgeous photos! I drank so much of this mint tea in Morocco, love it! I remember they said the higher you pour it from the better the froth is. :)

Stella September 12, 2010 at 1:20 am

Ooh, that tea set is beautiful! I just bought some gunpowder green tea, as my Algerian family thinks it’s the best for mint tea. I wish I could drink it from these glasses (smile).
Oh, and nice to read about your wonderful trip too…!

Patricia September 12, 2010 at 2:04 am

Wormwood is often substituted in the winter as spearmint may be unavailable or in short supply. It adds a bit of bitterness to the tea but has healing properties.

Tanvi September 12, 2010 at 7:32 am

Wow Sara,
Love the feel of your blog. Those glasses are so beautiful! and the tea pot.
Like the moroccan carrot salad a lot . Mint tea is so delightful…like it with a hint of cinnamon.

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen September 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm

3 months back I had to choose between a vacation in Turkey or Morocco. It broke my heart to choose but we went with Turkey. And I LOVED Turkey. Like really. But looking at this and reading your post, I don’t think I will let go of Morocco now.

The tea set and tea looks fabulous! My dad loves this thing and has it almost everyday and I loved sipping it with him as a child. Imagine a 10 year old with mint tea? :D

Connie September 13, 2010 at 10:05 am

That is a lovely, lovely tea set. Gorgeous!

tasteofbeirut September 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm

i have only had Moroccan mint tea once, but it was a memorable experience; at the time, I immediately wanted to reproduce it but could not find the specific tea, nor the fresh mint leaves!
I love your photos and this Dar is indeed beautifully restored; I would keep it in mind if and when I finally visit Morocco.

Cookin' Canuck September 14, 2010 at 12:31 am

What beautiful photos! I have always wanted to visit Morocco and this post makes it even more tempting. I also love the ritual of offering a guest a cup of tea. Have you read the book “Three Cups of Tea”? Different part of the world, but same sort of ritual.

aicha July 10, 2012 at 5:29 am

i have the same moroccan tea cups i really love the way they did the mint tea in morocco and u can smell the mint when u walk though the markets

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