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Communal Bread Ovens

Most homes in the medina don’t have the luxury of an oven, so bread is baked communally instead.

TravelCurious Tip

Take your own dough to be baked. The bakers are usually pretty good at remembering whose is whose, but there’s no harm in putting a mark on your one too

In Morocco, every neighbourhood has five things: a mosque, a school, a public bath, a fountain, and a communal oven. Communal bread ovens are a great tradition: if you see crowds of men, women and children balancing boards on their heads with piles of dough, chances are you’ve spotted one. All day, customers stream in and out, and the baker carefully placed their mounds of shaped dough in the great oven with a long wooden paddle. Twenty minutes later they return to pick up their steaming gold bread.


Communal ovens have been part of the fabric of the community in such places for thousands of years. Once they could be found all over the world; now, with the proliferation of home baking and supermarket bread, they are disappearing. But not in Morocco.


Socially the ovens remain a hotspot. It’s nicely democratic and ecological in a time that is so distant from such principles. Everyone goes there, and it’s much more energy efficient than using your own oven. But there’s another side to the community: you can’t keep anything secret there! If someone comes with a b’stilla - a chicken pie made with nuts, sugar, cinnamon and orange blossom water - everyone knows a big party is on the way. Then, before long, someone blabs.


Head to one of these ovens and enjoy some of Morocco’s carb-heavy staples. Khobz are the trademark, round, crusty load; harcha is made from pan-fried semolina; rghaif is a flakey, layered flat bread; and, baghira is really rather like a crumpet.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Marrakech
The Medina
Enclosed by ancient walls, the oldest quarter of the city is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Souks
A labyrinth of spices, food and eye-catching goods, these bustling markets are the colourful essence of Morocco.
Ben Youssef Medersa
A koranic theological college, the Medersa is often labelled the most beautiful building in Marrakech - quite an accolade.
The Almoravid Koubba
Just south of the Ben Youssef Mosque, this small shrine is the oldest monument in Marrakech.
Tagine
Tagine is a traditional North African Berber dish, named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked.
Tangia
A Moroccan speciality, the meat and spices in tangia are traditionally slow-cooked for hours in a public oven.

Related Tours

Traditional Culinary Lunch and Hammam Experience
 Bustling Marrakech is a byword for joyous chaos: a crowded tangle souks, skinny cobbled alleyways and 3,000 jostling vendors vying for trade. 

  • Discover the evocative spice-rich aromas of cinnamon, ginger, cumin, turmeric, paprika, coriander, saffron, anise, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, fenugreek and caraway
  • Enjoy the rich flavours and fresh produce in a chef-prepared local dish especially for you
  • Learn about the food rituals and cooking techniques from the chef (a local Dada)
  • Savour unlimited glasses of refreshing Moroccan tea  - not exclusively mint flavored but often aromatic herbs such as sage, wormwood, lemon verbena, wild thyme, and wild geranium
  • Indulge the senses with a sweet-smelling steam-shrouded hammam cleansing ritual
  • Imbibe invigorating Moroccan botanicals such as rose, patchouli, jasmin, geranium, bergamot and eucalyptus
Thrumming sounds, plumes of grill smoke and the beguiling melody of the snake charmer’s flute resonate through the throngs. Cries for custom echo around a zillion stalls piled high spices, live chickens, richly-woven rugs, coffee pots and silken slippers. Family, kinship, and the warmth of shared meals are highly prized in Moroccan life and are as central to culture as another ancient tradition: the soap-and-suds full-body cleansing of a steamy Moroccan hammam.  On your feast for the senses tour, enjoy  these two much-valued rituals: a beautifully Chef-prepared Moroccan lunch and a deeply relaxing spa experience in an elaborate domed bath house. 

Marrakech cuisine is diverse and peppered with a unique mix of cultures over ten storied centuries. Your chef, a veteran of private dining experiences, will create a gastronomic lunchtime splurge using Morocco’s most evocative flavours, textures, aromas and spices. Food is powerful, enhancing the intensity of the memories we build and a specially-created menu will introduce you to the fresh produce of Morocco’s breadbasket regions. Each dish and flavour will provide new insight into the culinary character of Marrakech, blending Berber staples with Arabic nuts and dried fruit, the cooking styles of the Ottoman Turks and the olives and citrus fruits of the Moors with plenty of Gallic culinary twists. The result is a blended cuisine so tantalising on the tongue it sends a zillion feel-good messages surging through the body: a sensory delight.

Next, indulgence builds on Morocco’s ‘Al Baraka’ - a special spiritual energy that is created when kith and kin gather together - and leads us to the warm, cleansing waters of the hammam. In ancient times, a resounding boom of a copper gong would fill the streets at dawn, heralding the opening of the baths. Today the gongs have long gone, yet the baths remain an integral part of the social fabric of Marrakech communities. Different hammams have different characters, some serve as a meeting place for family, friends and co-workers while others are a sanctuary of quietude a world away from the hubbub of the city. Interiors are largely unchanged by time with dazzling wall-to-ceiling tiled mosaics, ornate gilded domes and gleaming marble. 

Treatments are revitalizing, centering on the venerated steam and scrub tradition of Roman bathing practices, which were adopted along the Mediterranean coast in the seventh century A.D. during the Arab conquest. Today this centuries-old mix of spiritual and social indulgence takes place in steam rooms opulent decor, heated by hot coals to keep the marbles floors warm and the water hot. Steam, different cleansing scrubs and deep, rhythmic massage are exfoliating, detoxifying and leave the skin cleaner than a newborn baby. Aromatherapy  - using the scent of rose, sweet patchouli, heliotrope, jasmine, geranium and bergamot accented with a hint of eucalyptus - is a glorious finale and a treat for 10,000 olfactory glands, pure sensory joy.

Note: Please be sure to bring swim trunks for the hammam experience. 
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