More than clothes

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About me

Marhaba (Hi!)

This is Safa, a Morocco Native and the one behind Moroccan Zest.
After years in a corporate job in France and hundreds of escapes to Morocco whenever my schedule allowed me to, I finally surrendered to my passions: Moroccan culture, design, and traditions.

Whether you are learning about Moroccan culture and design, looking for truly useful tips to travel to Morocco, or in the hunt for authentic Moroccan handicrafts, you will like it here, I promise!

I was born in Morocco in a traditional Moroccan family in Salé, one of Morocco’s oldest cities. I grew up in a Riad watching my grandmother cook tagines from scratch, taking hours to gather the ingredients, grind spices, and slow cook on a traditional brazier. As a child, my days were rhythmed by going to the local market to get fresh ingredients (I can still remember the smells!), the sounds of mortars in the kitchen pureeing the garlic, spices, and herbs to make chermoula, and the delicious family gatherings around a fragrant mint tea.

One of my favorite occupations was experimenting with threads and fabrics in my auntie’s traditional sewing shop. Throughout the years she taught me how to embroider the Rbati, Fessi among other traditional Moroccan embroidery techniques. Every Friday afternoon, we would go on a trip to the Medina to meet other artisans and shop for sewing materials. I remember how excited I was to be part of the group, and how happy I was when my mother and auntie allocated a small time to shop the materials for my personal embroidery projects.

Buttons in my aunt’s sewing shop

A few decades earlier in that same Riad, my mother and her sisters were the city rug fairies. They had an artisanal in-house loom which they routinely used to make what was considered the best Rbati rugs in town. Eventually, my mom had to stop making rugs to focus on her studies. But she always kept an appreciation for handicrafts, textures, and colors.

Typical Rbati rug

The same happened to me. The lovely and sweet afternoons in my auntie’s shop embroidering and listening to music slowly disappeared as I grew older. Studies then working abroad took me away for some time, until I decided to leave my consulting job and live my passion: Exploring and rehabilitating Moroccan handicrafts and traditions.

ourika atlas mountains
always with my camera
Another passion: feeding the homeless cats in Medinas. Here in the Medina of Chefchaouen

One topic I love to explore in Moroccan Zest is how Moroccan women express their femininity through traditional Jewelry and other handicrafts. While this is disappearing little by little, I particularly appreciate Morocco in the 60s and 70s when women were flourishing in a beautiful mix of tradition and modernity.

Beautiful Moroccan woman wearing a djellaba
Moroccan woman in the 70s wearing a traditional Djellaba and covering her face with a silk scarf. The same woman can cover up her face or wear a short dress depending on the social context
Modern Moroccan women in the 50s and 60s
Moroccan women walking down a Casablanca Boulevard in the late 50s
moroccan inspiration

Throughout Moroccan Zest, I take you with me to explore Morocco, Moroccan cities, traditions, and handicrafts. If you are planning on shopping in the Souks or Medinas and don’t know where to start, my shopping guide will give you a practical overview of the best handcrafts to look for in the Medina.

I hope you enjoy this sweet Moroccan bubble I created for you ♡ and if you have a question or need more details about a Morocco-related subject, feel free to reach out to me. I get tons of emails but I’ll do my best to answer as quickly as possible.