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“Great cooking class” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dar Les Cigognes Cooking Class

Dar Les Cigognes Cooking Class
108, rue de Berima, Marrakech, Morocco
+ 212 524 38 27 40
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Ranked #7 of 20 Food & Drink in Marrakech
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Owner description: The Cooking School at Dar Les Cigognes has been teaching guests the wonders of Moroccan Cooking for over a decade. With over 10,000 participants, we have a huge experience to draw upon. In keeping with the ethos of the hotel Dar Les Cigognes, we are fanatic about fresh, seasonal cooking, and making everything from scratch. Our classes are completely hands-on, involving guests in the preparation of each dish and imparting practical knowledge.All instruction is private--we do not do group classes unless it is a group that is travelling together and want to do their class together. We have a variety of typical formats, but will also create bespoke classes. The classes are suitable for everyone from beginners to professional chefs, and indeed we have even had multi-day classes with professional chefs designed to help them reformulate their own menus to include Moroccan dishes.Our most popular class is called "learn the dish" where a guest will learn one of the dishes on the daily-changing menu. This is a short class of one hour and a bit, which starts with an introduction to Moroccan spices, and then proceeds with practical instruction in the preparation of the dish. We can almost guarantee that whatever the dish of the day is, it will not be one that you will likely find in any Moroccan restaurant other than our own, as we constantly strive to prepare the truly traditional dishes or to innovate within the Moroccan repertoire to give our diners and our students an introduction to the real, authentic Moroccan home cooking. "Learn the dish" is just a class to learn a dish, and is usually given in the afternoons, but other time slots can be accommodated depending on the in-house demand for cooking classes. With 5 professional chefs on our team, this gives us an ability to match the right chef to the student.Another popular format is our 1/2 day class. We do daily morning and afternoon sessions and this is a 4 hour class followed by a meal. Here the student will be involved in the design and preparation of their meal, and learn about how Moroccans construct menus. Our couscous class has been very popular over the years as learning to make couscous from scratch is something easy to take home, and the difference in flavour is astounding. This class begins with a market tour which is focused around the menu that is being prepared and then follows with the participants making each element of their meal, and time permitting includes at lunch starter and main plus desert, and for dinner includes appetiser, starter and main, plus desert. There is usually not time to prepare the desert, also because deserts require setting time, but there is always time to eat desert!We also do a 1/2 day Moroccan pastry and bread baking class. This class is given on Tuesdays and Saturdays only, and apart from learning to make either pastries or breads, the participants also go to the communal oven to bake their preparations, and get rare insight into this magical aspect of Moroccan medina life.We also do bespoke full day and multi-day classes by direct arrangement. Classes are given at both Dar Les Cigognes and sister hotel Riad Kaiss. The Dar Les Cigognes cookbook is available on Amazon UK and US and Riad Kaiss and Dar Les Cigognes both feature in Paula Wolfert's seminal new work The Food of Morocco.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
104 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
“Great cooking class”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013 via mobile

We booked the cooking class direct with the riad which was easy, they answered our queries promptly and were happy to tailor our class to our requirements and level of cooking ability.
We arrived at the riad and talked through what we were going to do with Pierre. He then took us on a 30 minute walk through the local markets explaining produce on display, way of life etc. At no point were we expected or pressurised to buy anything. All market stalls we stopped at were friendly and at the last one offered us mint tea.
Once back at the riad we were left with the chef who would be teaching us. She spoke Arabic and French but if we were stuck on any communication the other staff could speak English so we didn't have any problems.
We cooked everything from scratch, the chef showing us how to do things and letting us also do it so this was a hands on cooking class. We could also take notes as we went along so that we could keep.
After we had cooked everything we ate our meal in a room they had set up for us. The food was delicious and abundant.
This was a great few hours to learn how to cook a new cuisine. We would definitely recommend this riad for a cooking class as they will accommodate your request and was good value for money. We will be trying the recipes at home.

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16 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Grand Cayman
Level Contributor
98 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Wonderful cooking experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

I recently had a private cooking lesson at Dar Les Cigognes and it was one of the highlights of my trip to Marrakech. I loved having the choice of what I was going to learn. I ended up choosing a savoury pastry appetizer filled with shrimp and calamari, a monkfish tagine with tomatoes and peppers, a beef tagine with prunes and 3 different cooked veg salads. The manager Pierre, a handsome and charming Frenchman, translated for me as the teacher spoke Arabic. The dishes turned out wonderfully. The lunch was amazing! Pierre also conducted a tour of the market and helped me choose a tagine to take home. We did not stay at the riad but should we return to Marrakech I would definitely book there as it is so lovely and welcoming!

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“The best part of our trip!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2012

Marrakesh came towards the end of our tour of Morocco and my husband and I wanted to take a cooking class while we were there. After some research and emails going back and forth, we decided to take the class at the RIad Dar Les Cigognes. Eben, the owner, kept in consistent communication with me to see what type of experience they could tailor for us including what types of dishes we wanted to make and a tour of the market before the class to shop for our ingredients.

If I had to describe the experience in one word, it would have to be, extraordinary. My husband and I fell in love with the lovely Riad, the top notch service of the staff, and the fantastic instruction in the kitchen under the watchful eye of the chef. Both my husband and I are fairly experienced in the kitchen but the whole experience felt so novel and fun and we learned something new every step of the way. The tour through the market was a wonderful way to start off the lesson as we were able to get an in depth tutorial to the different produce and spices that we would be using in during our cooking. When we were in the kitchen taking the actual class, the totally hands on approach to creating the dishes and learning the techniques to make them was something we really appreciated. We were able to give some input into what kinds of dishes we wanted to make and we ended up making quite a variety including a Tagine, Seafood Pastilla, and a few different salads. We enjoyed our meal after the class in the lovely Riad and my husband and I reveled in what we felt like was a truly memorable event. We were happy that we sought out a cooking class and even happier that we did it at the Dar les Cigognes.

Please disregard the ridiculous negative review that is posted here on Trip Advisor in reference to this class because it is completely untrue and preposterous that such a thing could have happened given the level of service and care we received. If anyone is looking to take a cooking class in Marrakesh, I would wholeheartedly recommend taking it at the Dar Les Cigognes as it will be well worth your time.

Visited March 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A Truly Moroccan Cooking Experience - Learn to Make Pastilla!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2011

Hayat, the manager at Dar les Cicognes, was a wonderful hostess, stayed in touch with me over e-mail and answered all my pre-class questions promptly and clearly. Once we arrived at the Dar, we were introduced to the chef, Amina, who took my friend and me on a tour of the market. I was super-interested in making pastilla, and we did. However, because the dough takes a lot of time and effort to prepare, it was done in advance. When I expressed my disappointment that I wouldn't get to make it, Amina walked us by a stall in the market and we watched the dough being made - it was fascinating! They tap the wet dough on the hot griddle - it looks like an oversized crepe pan - so that it just has a whisper-thin layer of dough, and then remove it by hand when it's cooked. Anyway, we toured the market, discussed spices and ingredients, and there was no pressure to buy anything at all. Then we returned to the dar and got to cooking. The prep part was predictably boring, but when it got to assembly of the dishes, we really had fun. I put some pictures of the pastilla with the review, but we also made a beef tagine. It was not particularly hands-on, but we got to try our hand in all the important moments, like dosing spices and assembling and closing the pastilla. I had a great time. Also, between the market tour and the class we were given a little tour of the property, which is truly lovely - I would definitely stay there next time I'm in Marrakech. They also have a little boutique, where my friend got the sandals she'd been searching for all over Morocco for more than a week, and I bought the cookbook that the owner of the dar wrote, which is a great book that includes not only recipes but also a little history and modern practices about the food as well as practical information regarding ingredients and equipment for cooking Moroccan food.

I was sorry to see the first review for this great Marrakech activity was so negative...And based on the experience I had, I am far more inclined to believe the management's side of the story. The only caveats being that most of the other cooking classes my friend and I considered did include eating the meal you cook - though most of them are rather more expensive - and that it is absolutely possible to get a stunning Moroccan feast for 18 euro or less in Marrakech, though you have to know the right places to do so.

With all that said, the hospitality at Dar les Cicognes is truly wonderful - we spent less than three hours there and were offered tea at least four times (I'm slightly ashamed to admit I accepted just about every time); everyone smiled, introduced themselves and asked our names, answered all questions happily and just seemed genuinely pleased to have us there with them enjoying Marrakech and their dar. I confidently recommend Dar les Cicognes.

Visited November 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management_234, Manager at Dar Les Cigognes Cooking Class, responded to this review, April 12, 2012
Thank you very much Aleksandra for taking the time to share your thoughts about your cooking class with us. Following your feedback we are now trying to make the prep part less boring.

We also now teach how to make ouarqa, the diaphonous pastry that you mentioned as lot's of people have expressed interest in it. We will also be posting a video on that shortly to our blog so you can see how to do it and can download the recipe--though you will also find a recipe for it in the book you bought.

Thanks again and we will look forward to seeing you in Marrakech sometime again soon we hope.
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Boulder, Colorado
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2011

I'm so glad my fiance and I can laugh about this now. And really, the Dar Cignones (aka Hotel Swindle) taught us our first very important lesson in the swindling, greedy ways of a few Marakechis who see tourists as dumb money traps to be taken advantage of. So that was good.

We took a cooking class from the chef at Hotel Swindle, Rashid. Rashid and the cooking class itself was everything advertised, until we got our bill. We paid for the cooking class in the afternoon (about $50/person), and returned to taste our tangine in the evening. After we enjoyed the delicious lamb, the very slick manager charged us around $80 per person to eat the meal we had cooked (and presumably paid for that very afternoon). Rashid and the manager attempted to justify this craziness in a variety of non-sensical, and frankly offensive ways: (1) it is very normal to pay for a cooking class that does not involve tasting the food one has cooked; (2) $80 per person was their standard price for a tangine (alas, no, when we asked to see the regular menu, we exposed this blatant lie); (3) our lamb tangine counted as two lamb tangines if Rashid had to plate it for two diners. And many more.

Stay away. If you are tempted by the cooking class, or other amenities, have your guard up.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management_234, Manager at Dar Les Cigognes Cooking Class, responded to this review, November 11, 2011
This review is slightly surreal. After having taken our "learn the dish" cooking class which teaches participants how to prepare one dish that they really want to learn, and is only 18 euros per person and takes about an hour and a bit, these two guests wrote rave comments in our guest book, how much fun they had, how much they had learned, how they looked forward to doing another class at another time. This was in the morning. They paid for their class and then left. When they were leaving they asked if they could book a table with us for dinner. We said yes, and they said that they would like to do another class in the evening when they came back as well.

At no point did we ever suggest that dinner was free, or that another cooking class would also be free, on the contrary, our GM made sure that they understood that dinner was chargeable, and the price of dinner is clearly displayed on the menu, on the daily menu board, etc. Since they had also paid for their morning short class, and had received an invoice from us showing the charges and a description of what they had been charged for, it is hard for us to understand that there could have been any possible room for doubt on their part.

They came back for a second class that evening, and then also joined us for dinner. They had a very nice time in their class, as again evidenced by further comments in the chef's guest book, sat down for dinner, enjoyed their dinner and then asked for the bill. They then pulled a runner and ran out of the hotel, leaving their bill unpaid.

We don't know who they are other than the names they provided when they signed our guest book, or why they did this, but their review here is filled with false information about prices, about what happened,a bout the entire experience--and it is beyond us why they would write such glowing things in our guest books and not say a word of something being amiss to any of our staff, and then just take off without paying. Then to write all of this nasty falsehood beggars belief.

At any rate, at 18 euros per person, we cannot believe that anyone would honestly expect to receive two separate classes and two dinners. You would be hard pressed in Marrakech to find a restaurant that served a main course for less than that price.

We have been giving cooking classes at Dar Les Cigognes for over a decade, and have won Best Moroccan Cooking School in 2011. We have won this award for several reasons: 1. our cooking classes are very inexpensive and offer an extraordinary and quick introduction to Moroccan cuisine, 2. We have an infinite variety of formats as all of our classes are bespoke--we do these short classes, as well as 1/2 day or even multi-day classes, 3. all our classes are hands on and one-on-one with a professional chef--no group classes, 4. we do classes every single day, making our experience in this unrivalled in Marrakech, and have given as many as 10,000 classes since we started doing this in 2001, 5. guests learn in a real kitchen to make real food for real people who are dining with us--this isn't a school kitchen but a professional kitchen.

We have written several times to the author of this review for clarification and they have never deigned to respond. Please disregard this review as it is a total misrepresentation of the experience and of the facts. In Morocco, as in most countries, running out on a bill is a criminal act. To then try and dress it up as something else is inappropriate in the extreme.
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