The name alone conjures images of Arabian Knights and rose-scented gardens, but the reality is even more colourful.
Barry roams around one of the most exciting market squares on the planet, with families of acrobats, snake charmers and dream merchants all vying for attention. And as the sun goes down he watches it transform into the biggest outdoor café in the world. It’s where the locals tuck into delicacies like sheep’s head, while the tourists stick to sausages and chips.
Why are all the ceilings so intricately decorated? And what makes the baker the man to know in the neighbourhood? And how would you use a hammer to make a cup of tea?
Marrakech has got to be the greatest show on earth.
In the picturesque old fortress port of Essaouira; famous for its food, art and music, Barry discovers a remedy for whatever ails you, and a prescription for when your wife can’t cook.
He marvels at the craftsmanship of wood workers and laments the fate of all male farm animals. How about being serenaded with sacred melodies while you enjoy a lunch of this morning’s fresh catch? And then there’s the incredibly evocative work of the ‘free artists’. And all this is set against the backdrop of a Hollywood pirate movie
Synonymous with hospitality, the Berbers invite Barry to take a peek into their lives on a typical Berber family farm. It’s been run by the same family for five generations, and it rains only three times a year. And what can you make of a tree full of goats? Only highly prized multi-purpose oil, that’s so good for you, international pharmaceutical companies are on a frantic quest to discover its useful properties. It’s where olive oil is legal tender for a man and his mule, when they walk around in circles for two months of the year. And a country market with a parking lot for donkeys.
The traditional home and sanctuary of the mountain Berbers reveals itself as one of the most dramatically beautiful destinations anywhere. On the highest mountain in North Africa a mule is better than a four wheel drive and world famous carpets are made between household chores, a Kasbah comes back to life and a conical clay pot is the most essential piece of equipment in every kitchen.
The Imperial city of Fez is a puzzle of streets with no name. Where buildings have crutches, donkeys wear tyres, and not long ago you needed a visa to get in, and lots of luck to find your way out. It’s Morocco’s capital of fine food and culture, and boasts the world’s oldest university, where a Pope learned about nought.
Barry follows the sandal prints of the ancient Romans to an ancient oasis city. Then it’s on the road to Damascus, a city as old as time and a labyrinth of religious history and intrigue. There’s John the Baptist’s head, the tomb of Adam and Eve’s son and a window where a saint escaped death in a basket. Tales told by the Hakawati (storyteller), come to life in the glint of a sword.
With the whirl of a Dervish, and a puff of smoke from a water pipe, Barry is transported to another time when the West was waking from a dark age and Damascus was the centre of the world.
It’s where ice cream has the living daylights beaten out of it and sweets are a basic essential. Where perfume wafts through the streets, and even a juice man is a performer.
Then it’s further into the desert, where the famous Bedouin welcome Barry into their tent for a traditional desert feast. Meanwhile nearby Crusader castles are still haunted by a thousand and one knights.
To the north of Damascus in Hama, giant waterwheels groan, turning as they have for 7 hundred years. Meanwhile to the east, a startling colony of beehive houses shelter families from both the heat and the cold.
In Aleppo Barry takes a walk through the most authentic market in the Middle East. At ten kilometers long, maybe a new pair of shoes could be handy, and a good soak and steam at the local hammam.
Its souks are where you find the very best Syrian street food, and Aladdin’s caves of silver and brass
Barry Vera travels exotic lands - Morocco & Syria; Greece; India - for food, culture & community.
Luke takes us on a journey across 12 regions, each with their own unique cultures, culinary stories & traditions.