Most people have heard of the riads in Morocco. Traditional guest houses where the rooms all face onto an open central courtyard, open to the sky. Riads face inwards to provide privacy to those in the house, with small gardens and soothing fountains offering peaceful respite from the hubbub of the world outside the door. A dar is a similar concept but in the confines of the Fes medina, the largest medina in the Arab world, interior courtyards are covered and used as the communal living area.
Waking to the call of the Muezzin, the sound of hand carts bumping over the steep cobblestone alleys and, families laughing, arguing and chattering through morning routines was a loud reminder that we were staying right in the very heart of the community.
Our family run dar, Dar Hafsa, was newly opened and they were out to impress. A sumptuous breakfast was laid out for us in the covered courtyard. Freshly squeezed juice accompanied two different styles of bread comprised of rustic Berber bread fresh from the oven and harcha or harsha, a pan-fried semolina bread not dissimilar to corn bread. I adored the harcha, warm and smothered with freshly churned thick white butter accompanied by hot, sweet Arabic coffee. The ubiquitous La vache qui rit or Laughing Cow cheese triangles made an appearance as did the ever present Middle Eastern breakfast staples of olives, tomato and cucumber that added freshness and crunch. Influences harking back to Morocco’s heritage as a French protectorate were evident in the delicate crepes. Served with local honey and apricot jam, these were a finger licking end to breakfast.
Made with love, this carb laden meal left us replete and ready to plunge deeper into the alleys to discover the noisy heart of Fes medina.
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