Camels have played a important role for North Africans for thousands of years. In ancient times they were crucial as a mode of transport and this tradition continues today in more rural areas of Morocco.
The guardian of the Riad Dar Habiba tells me that throughout Morocco these majestic beasts are universally respected. A camels hair can be made into an incense and this is used to treat nosebleeds, it’s hide is often tanned and used to make prayer mats. Some Moroccans also believe that a camel is the only sentient being that is able to see the Djinn, spiritual creatures mentioned in the Qu’ran that exist alongside humans and angels.
Of course the other uses for camels are their meat and their milk. Although I have not yet tried camel meat, I have been assured that like it’s milk it has a delicious and unique taste that’s quite difficult to compare to anything else.
Camel meat can be found in the Marrakech Medina, however milk is perhaps more widely available. Whilst visiting a supermarket on Rue Dar Daou just five minutes walk from the Riad Dar Habiba, I am intrigued to try this staple that is otherwise nearly impossible to find back home in the UK.
What many had assured me turned out to be entirely true. Although there are certainly similar characteristics to cattle milk, there is a completely unique and actually quite sweet aftertaste that is very difficult to compare to anything I have tried before. At only 13 Dirhams (£1) for half a litre I can say that I have made this rare and pleasurable staple a normal part of my diet!