One of the first things visitors appreciate about Marrakech is the cuisine—not just the flavorful spices and time-honed techniques, but the freshness of the ingredients, from the juicy olives and crisp carrots to the seafood sourced from the Mediterranean. Strolling through the spice and food markets in the old town souks bring you up close to many of these ingredients, with each stall specializing in a particular delicacy.
Guests of Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech, however, don’t have to venture far to explore the homegrown bounty. Located about a ten-minute golf cart ride from the hotel lobby, The Potager Farm is a 12-acre oasis that serves as both a relaxing natural setting in which to spend the afternoon, and a working farm that provides the hotel kitchens with plenty of goodies. "Having our own organic farm has so many benefits," says General Manager Afif Salibi, noting that it not only yields so much produce, but is also great place for families. "Over Easter, we have kids' egg hunts here, and we often set-up a petting farm. Our animals include a couple of dozen rabbits, donkeys, and ponies from the city's rescue center, hens and ducks, ewes, goats, and lots of sheep."
During the walk through the farm, you’ll get to pick fresh products to use in your class, which will take place in an open-air kitchen.
On a private tour and cooking class with the executive chef (or someone from his team), you’ll get to explore this foodie wonderland, then learn how to put some of the ingredients to use. On a walk through the gardens, you’ll hear about the farm’s sustainability practices (they use only 100-percent natural fertilizers), see the beehives (which produce about 33 pounds of honey per year), and learn about the dozen types of aromatic plants scattered throughout. The farm operates all year-round so the featured produce differs seasonally, but at any given time, you might find turnips, cabbage, fennel, spinach, and more, plus fruit from 17 types of trees. The grounds are also dotted with 4,000 olive trees, from which the hotel produces its own olive oil to serve in the restaurants.
During the walk through the farm, you’ll get to pick fresh products to use in your class, which will take place in an open-air kitchen. Most of the classes focus on crafting the traditional tagine stew, in which beef or chicken simmers with lots of veggies, spices and dried fruits in a cone-topped earthenware dish.
Once the dish is ready, retreat to a specially-set-up lounge—complete with Berber carpets, low wooden tables, and Moroccan pouffe seating—to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.
To learn more about Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech, or the Potager Farm cooking class experience, please contact the concierge upon making a reservation.