Morocco cooking class: Baking with kids in the heart of the Fes medina

Half a day eating cookies and wandering the Fes medina gave us a delicious understanding of Moroccan food and culture

Day Number 545: Private, budget friendly Moroccan cookie baking class with kids

The sweet, pale cookie dough in the wide, shallow brown bowls made all four of us giggle as it squished between our fingers. Flour and powdered sugar now covered our black aprons, though the black counters remained mostly clean. Bright overhead lights highlighted wet sinks in front of each station. Before us, Fatima, our guide, led us through mixing and squishing the almond biscotti and coconut and semolina ghriba. And throughout our Morocco cooking class, the laughter flowed through the air like the scent of cookies in the oven.

Take a cooking or baking class in Fez, Morocco

Other Morocco cooking classes

Long food traditions and a diversity of cultural influences

From Tangier in the north to Tarfaya in the south, Moroccans pride themselves on their food. During our weeks traveling through Tangier, Rabat, and Fes, we had feasted on traditional Moroccan dishes, such as couscous, beef, chicken, hearty vegetables, fragrant oranges still with the leaves green and vibrant, and harira, a soup that had now become a family favorite. From indigenous Berber peoples to French and Spanish, a range of cultural and historical influences weave into the deliciousness of Moroccan cuisine. Moroccans bring in what is useful and tasty, while staying true to culinary traditions they’ve refined over a thousand years.

A cooking class gives you insights into daily culture and life

We prioritize travel to places where delicious, affordable, hearty food is important to the people and the culture. When we travel with our kids to places around the world, we include some sort of cooking class. Not only do we meet fascinating people. The kids gain insights into how folks prioritize food throughout daily life.

It’s a fun—and tasty—way to sightsee, and one of our favorite activities anywhere.

“What’d you do for school today?”
“Baked Moroccan cookies… in Morocco… on Valentine’s Day.”

Why did we take a cooking class in Morocco?

Taking a cooking class in Morocco can help you understand foods that are a staple of Moroccan daily life, such as couscous, tagine, flatbreads, and, above all, the country’s delectable range of pastries and cookies.

We travel to show our children ways different people in different parts of the world make their way through regular life. From pub burgers in Texas to curries in Thailand, we complete a cooking class not only with full bellies, but a broader understanding, respect, and appreciation for the culture, food, and the folks that make it happen. 

For our cooking class in Morocco, we honed in on cookies. Morocco’s cookies—whether soaked in honey, covered in chocolate, or zinged with nuts, nut pastes, or dried fruits—became one of our favorite everyday pleasures. As we saw the pride with which Moroccans prepared, served, ate, and shared food, we understood that learning to make some of it would deepen our experience and memories of traveling in Morocco with kids.

Was our Moroccan cooking class guide friendly?

Two folks led our Moroccan cooking class. Mohammed gave us an overview of the three-hour class. Fluent in English, he also guided us on a tour of the market so we could get ingredients, and he translated for our other guide. Once in the kitchen, Fatima led us through the measuring, cooking, and shaping of the two cookie recipes we made. Both ensured a warm and inviting atmosphere for all, especially the kids.

Did our cooking class guide speak English?

One guide, Mohammed, spoke English. While Fatima did not, Mohammed would translate for her. Plus, gestures and motions show much of what you need to know in cooking. Often, Fatima could focus on instructing us by showing, and then we would follow what she did.

Where in Morocco was this cooking class?

Our cooking class was in Fes, one of Morocco’s principal cities and a long-time epicenter of crafts ranging from tanning leather to metalwork, cooking to textiles. The medina, one of the world’s oldest cities, holds the title of the oldest continuously walled Muslim city.

Our hosts were the folks at the Palais Bab Sahra Restaurant. The restaurant opened in 2022 after a three-year renovation, which included setting up the kitchen, rooftop terrace, carvings, decorations, and teaching kitchen.

Mohammed gave us instructions to follow, and we found our way to the restaurant pretty easily.

Is it easy to take a taxi in Fes?

Taking taxis isn’t one of our preferred ways to get around, but overall in Fes it’s pretty easy. We used petit taxis. However, these typically accept up to 3 passengers. We learned that if we stood in a group of four, hailed a taxi, and settled on a price, the driver would flag down another taxi, tell the driver the fare, and then we’d split into groups. Each of us paid the same fare.

From the Ville Nouvelle to the Bab Bou Jeloud (the main gate for the medina), we paid 20 dirham per taxi, or about US$2. Taxis are cash only. As of early 2024, no rideshare apps operate in Morocco. Many companies, including Uber, have attempted to establish in Morocco, but none have worked out, due in part to the strength of the taxi trade organizations.

What types of cooking classes are available in Morocco?

From Tangier to Essaouira, you can find Morocco cooking classes such as:

  • Tagine
  • Couscous
  • Moroccan breads
  • Moroccan sweets, pancakes, and cookies

Class options sometimes change, too. For example, we took a cookie class in Fes, but that’s since merged into an overall Moroccan sweets class.

On future trips to Morocco, we plan to take more cooking classes. For example, cookies had become a big favorite of ours, and we wanted to learn more about baking cookies. Next time, we’d love to try our hand at making our own Moroccan flatbreads, understand more about preparing couscous, and the savory, delicious world of tagines.

Our family friendly Moroccan cooking class in Fes, from a market tour to baking cookies

“What’d you do for school today?”

“Baked Moroccan cookies… in Morocco… on Valentine’s Day.”

That was our joke with the kids later, as we brought our containers of cookies back to our apartment in Fes’s Ville Nouvelle. Here’s how the day unfolded:

From our apartment in the Ville Nouvelle, two taxis took us from our accommodation to the Bab Bou Jeloud, the most popular and commonly used entrance to the Fes Medina. Through the gate, we made our way pretty easily along the medina. The main medina streets teemed with people, many of whom were enjoying pastries, or the hearty bean soup bessara, to start their day.

Cooking classes share a common rhythm

Every cooking class has its individual tastes and twists, but many follow a similar rhythm:

  1. There’s time to settle in, introduce ourselves, and address any logistical issues.
  2. There may be a quick treat and beverage to get people, followed by a tour of a local market for discussing the area’s cooking, its history, and the importance of local vendors in getting quality ingredients.
  3. From there, you head to the main kitchen, where you and your guide will work through the various dishes on your culinary itinerary, often with breaks to snack and chat.
  4. Belly and heart full, you’ll make your way back to your accommodation, typically with leftovers for the next day and lots of memories for a lifetime.

Tea and greetings

For our Morocco cooking class, we soon turned off the main medina down a side street, then another, and another, until a long path between narrow medieval walls brought us to the door of the Palais Bab Sahra Restaurant. Inside, our hosts seated us at a table, and treated us to cookies and green mint tea—a taste of the day to come.

Market tour

The kids carried baskets as we followed Mohammed, our guide (who also spoke English) through the medina. We visited stalls to buy dried ground coconut, spices, flour, and sugar, and the kids especially got to sample little tastes of the ingredients.

While with Mohammed, we remembered stalls to visit later, before going back to our apartment. We needed travel-sized forks and spoons for our picnic kit and found them at a nearby stall.

To your stations

It was joyful that Aster and Connor, at 9 and 12, were mature and engaged during the entire Morocco cooking class. Our cook and kitchen guide, Fatima, put each of us at our own station, staggered so each of us parents could give the kids a hand as needed.

Fatima led us through recipes, offering advice on adding ingredients and when the dough was adequately mixed.

Bsseha, or bon appétit

A common phrase in Moroccan is “bsseha,” essentially “buh-seh-hah.” It is like a combination of the English cheers, the French bon appétit, with a hefty gratitude sprinkle of thank you. And after prepping our cookies for the oven, we sat and chatted over bread and a surprise lunch, a treat from our hosts.

Bellies full, we regathered around the stove, where Fatima demonstrated how to prep a pot of tea. She placed dried leaves in a hefty steel pot, then showed how you used hot water to rinse, or clean, the tea, with multiple pours to have the tea optimally ready for a clean flavor and color. She added sprigs of fresh mint, set the pot on the stove for a quick simmer, then poured.

Afterwards, Mohammed suggested going to the rooftop terrace for tea and cookies, allowing us to enjoy the city view.

Our favorite part of our Moroccan cooking class in Fes

From the roof, we poured each other more tea and nibbled on our cookies. The biscotti’s almonds had a satisfying crunch, while the fennel seeds enhanced the tea. Our semolina macaroons held a gentle aroma of coconut, and the cookies had baked up nearly as fluffy as cotton candy.

All around us, we could see the rooftops of the medina, the hills on the outskirts of the city, and the eastern mountains that stood between Morocco’s western country and the fierce Sahara Desert beyond.

“We do many things as a family and during our travels,” I told the kids. “As you grow up and become adults, you’ll make whatever you will of all those experiences. Today we baked together, feasted on an amazing lunch, and had lots of laughs with our teachers and with each other. No matter what you take away from your childhood and our travels, I hope you always remember that this day was incredibly special.”

We sipped more tea and ate more cookies. And a few more cookies. And a bit more tea. When you’re sitting on the roof and can see the entire Fes medina and the surrounding hills, it’s hard not to linger.

Finally, we said our goodbyes to our hosts and returned to the city streets. Connor turned to us and smiled.

“This cooking class is my favorite thing we’ve done in Morocco.”

Take a cooking class in Morocco

Cooking, baking, and pastry classes abound in Morocco, from restaurants to cooking schools and even home cooks. Below are Morocco cooking classes offered by the Palais Bab Sahra, the Fes Medina restaurant where we had our baking class:

Cooking and baking classes at Palais Bab Sahra and throughout Fes

Cooking classes in other parts of Morocco

Interested in other cities like Tangier, Rabat, or Marrakech? Here are some other Morocco cooking and baking classes to consider.

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Fez, Morocco Cooking Class with Kids
About the author
Learners and Makers
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.

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