The IWFS Vancouver Branch returned to Gastown on September 23 2008 for a delightful evening of hospitality and Moroccan food at the richly decorated dining room of Le Marrakech Bistro replete with silks and cushioned seating. All of the meats and vegetables were sourced from local organic producers. Our evening started with a reception and a glass or two of Moroccan Mint Tea Mojito before sitting down for a delicious selection of first courses full of flavour – marinated olives, salads of cucumber and thyme, shaved fennel, tomato with cucumber, golden beets tossed in rose water and pomegranate vinaigrette topped with pine nuts and goat cheese, oven roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers in olive oil with garlic and spices, braised kale with lemon and olives, chicken and lamb kabobs, souk chick peas with cumin, and of course a bastilla of braised Polderside duck in saffron broth, almonds and orange blossom honey wrapped in brique pastry. What a wonderful selection of delicious dishes with flavours and spicy aromas melding so well together! The full flavoured, fresh wine selected for this array of tastes was a 2006 Perrin Réserve Côtes du Rhône rosé.
To the enjoyment of many, we were treated to an energetic display of Moroccan belly dancing with several of our members joining in.
Next up were our main course selections – spiced grilled farm supreme of chicken with spices and fresh herbs and braised fennel, a casserole of fresh fish, mussels and scallops cooked together in a saffron tomato broth, a traditional saffron couscous with seasonal vegetables and caramelized onions and oven roasted legs of lamb served in the dining room by the Chef. Such a range of foods required two red wines – a 2002 Limited Release Shiraz from Van Loveren in South Africa and a 2005 Pinot Noir from Nk’mip Cellars in BC’s Okanagan Valley.
Finally, for those still with room to spare, we finished with a traditional M’Hancha, a toasted almond paste in brique pastry with orange blossom honey and nougat accompanied by a glass of Atay bi Nahna, Moroccan mint tea. All in all it was a highly enjoyable evening and an impressive introduction for many of us to the rich and varied tastes of the foods of Morocco.
Our thanks go to Executive Chef and Proprietor Abdel Elatouabi and his team, to Cellar Master David Spurrell for his assistance in selecting and presenting the wines and to Dr. Bob Rothwell for his excellent accolade at the end of the evening.