The Heist team often travels to different countries around the globe, and one of the incredible perks is that we get to have a taste of local snacks, foods, and beverages − indeed travel and taste buds are deeply intertwined. I recently came back from a trip to Morocco (my country of origin) and wanted to share a small but significant portion of my childhood with the team here in Singapore in a fun and lighthearted way.
The aim of this post is to introduce a handful of classic snacks - virtually anyone who grew up in Morocco will recognize these in a heartbeat − immediately triggering a nostalgic feeling. This list, however, is far from exhaustive − there are countless other iconic Moroccan snacks, simply too many to enumerate in this context. I decided to limit the list to three diverse snacks handpicked to offer a variety for this beginner’s guide: one cake, one beverage, and one gum − all of which can be found in any local Moroccan grocery store.
We start off our tasting journey with Merendina, a cake whose crisp outer chocolate ganache coats and complements the light, fluffy interior − in turn garnished with a thin, understated chocolate layer that melts in your mouth.
When handling a Merendina, proceed with care: the texture is soft and squashy, a harsh grip will sink your fingers through the outer shell and into the spongy cake, leaving an annoying mark on the treat and inevitably causing chocolate crumbs to form.
#2: Raïbi Jamila
Traditionally, the way to drink Raïbi Jamila (Raïbi for short) a pomegranate yogurt beverage − is not to pour the liquid in a cup, in fact that would be a rather odd thing to do. The trick is actually to peel off the lid about a quarter to halfway through and start drinking directly from the plastic container.
The light pink texture is creamy and opaque, the consistency is thick and often stays on your upper lip upon taking a sip and has to be licked off. To me, Raïbi is to Merendina what peanut butter is to Jelly, what Bonnie is to Clyde, Romeo to Juliette… you catch my drift! Together, they form the ultimate childhood snack combination.
#3: Flash Wondermint
Flash Wondermint − abbreviated to Flash − is a brand of peppermint chewing gum in which each piece is of a textured, off-white colour. The packaging alone is iconic with it’s retro design − the thin pieces stack up like a deck of cards, ready to be taken out at recess to share with your closest classmates. Eventually, the chewiness dissipates and the gum becomes harder and harder, gradually losing its flavour but always leaving you with a fresh minty breath.
For a few Moroccan Dirhams, children throughout the Kingdom have grown up with these snacks - no matter the background. These treats remain ‘sweet’ nostalgia as they accompanied us through our teenage years and into adulthood. I miss them and wish I had brought some from home for the team to try too!