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Marrakech shopping

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Hampshire, England
posts: 7
reviews: 1
Marrakech shopping

Hi - off to Marrakech for 3 days next month; my first visit. I've had requests to bring back slippers and spices. Could anyone give me an idea how much one should expect to pay (after haggling) for said slippers and also, if it's ok to bring back spices through UK customs. I'm assuming you don't haggle for spices...?!?

Much appreciated :)

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 4,876
reviews: 35
1. Re: Marrakech shopping

Yes, you certainly do haggle for spices, so make sure you know how much they are in the UK before you go. All spices that are sold in Marrakech (including Ras el Hanout) are available in the UK at lower prices than you are likely to pay.

marrakech
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 6,970
reviews: 60
2. Re: Marrakech shopping

Hi,

Welcome to shoppers paradise! A good tip I think is if you visit the Ensemble Artisanal on Avenue Mohammed 5 at the beginning of your stay. It's a co-operative with lots of workshops and shops and they are set prices. Have a look round to get an idea of what prices you can then haggle down to in the souks.

Saffron is the main spice you can find here at a much lower price than in the UK but freshly ground Ras el Hanout is another which you won't want to go home without.

Edited: 7:11 pm, March 13, 2013
Marrakech, Morocco
posts: 4,324
reviews: 55
3. Re: Marrakech shopping

The question about spices has come up before. As a Marrakech resident and a UK citizen weigh up the difference between buying loose spices from an outlet that has a high turnover (I prefer the Mellah) and prepackaged supermarkets and speciality food shops in the UK where the spices from harvesting, packing and transport could make them over a year old at least. Saffron is the obvious best buy and cheaper than in Spain (where the majority of saffron sold is remarketed from Iran) and certainly cheaper than Britain. Ras el Hanout (head of the shop) can be made to order and can therefore contain ingredients seldom found elsewhere. As a foodie and cook here in Marrakech I can attest to the differences between prepackaged spices and the freshness and quality available here.

Slippers (babouches) - make sure that you bring a note of European shoe sizes before you arrive to avoid disappointment nichojb!

Hampshire, England
posts: 7
reviews: 1
4. Re: Marrakech shopping

Many thanks for your replies - very helpful. Any ideas on the cost of the babouches (slippers)?

Much appreciated :)

marrakech
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 6,970
reviews: 60
5. Re: Marrakech shopping

Hi,

Babouches start at 50 Dirhams and go up in price depending on quality and design.

Dixon
posts: 100
reviews: 17
6. Re: Marrakech shopping

Check out the quality of babouches at the Ensemble Artisanal before you buy at the souks to adjust your price range. While they all look similar, some are good leather and sewn-- others are cheap imitation and glued together. I was embarrassed when I learned I was haggling for good quality slippers and offering only what another merchant sold inferior products for.

Also, Moroccans wear the slippers with their heels extenting slightly over the back. You might want to buy a size larger for your friends.

Another great gift is a "hand of Fatima" necklace or earrings. My friends and co-workers loved them.

Hampshire, England
posts: 7
reviews: 1
7. Re: Marrakech shopping

Thank you everyone - this has all been very helpful; am so looking forward to exploring and experiencing Marrakech. It will make it all the nicer to bring a flavour of our trip back with us.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 4,876
reviews: 35
8. Re: Marrakech shopping

The Ras el Hanout I buy in London is most definitely fresh, the local communities wouldn't accept anything else.

Saffron is graded from IV (poor) to I (best quality) and much of the stuff sold to tourists in Morocco is low grade. If you are lucky you can get the low grade stuff for 30-40dh/gram but often people pay more. And as is typical in other Moroccan products, adulteration and dying is common amongst unscrupulous traders.

By all means shop for spices in Morocco, but make sure you are aware of the UK prices first otherwise you'll get 'taken to the cleaners'.

9. Re: Marrakech shopping

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Marrakech, Morocco
posts: 4,324
reviews: 55
10. Re: Marrakech shopping

There is absolutely no guarantee that supermarket prepackaged spices will not have been coloured or aldulterated. Quite the reverse. Those coming from the Indian subcontinent and the far East are particularly suspicious and quality control can be sadly lacking. I have found weevils (living ones) in supermarket spices for example.