Epcot Food & Wine 2010 – Food & Wine Pairings in Morocco

Flavors of Morocco

The Chef at Restaurant Marrekesh (for 23 years) began the presentation by coming out and telling us about Moroccan Cuisine…

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  • Moroccan Cuisine
    • now very popular around the world
    • very diverse because of the numerous cultural influences
      • Berber
      • Spanish
      • Corsican
      • Portuguese
      • Moorish & Arabic Andalsian
      • Middle Eastern
      • Mediterranean
      • African
    • not very spicy – as in “hot” spicy
    • spices used in Moroccan food are very colorful
    • national dish of Morocco is couscous
      • comes from the original settlers, the Berbers
      • very tiny grains

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First Pairing

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  • Beef & Lamb Merguez
    • came to Morocco by way of Jews leaving Andulusia
    • black pepper
    • texture and “chew” similar to North Carolina dried sausage
    • texture similar to a good, non-fatty pepperoni
  • Zniber Vineyards “Amazigh” Beni M’Tir, Morocco
    • Zniber is a family name
    • Amazigh is the wine name
    • Beni M’Tir is a region of Morocco
      • in the Atlas Mountains
    • created by carbonic maceration
      • each grape is fermented separately
      • instead of crushing or pressing the grapes, they’re all put into a large vessel, as the naturally occuring yeast starts to consume the sugars inside each grape CO2 builds up in the grape causing the skins to pop; the juices run free and the resulting wine avoids the bitterness from grape seeds and skins
    • fruit flavors in the wine were very quiet until tasting with food
    • nice acidity
    • Nick – not that pleasing, didn’t finish my glass
    • Nora – okay, but seemed a bit chalky to me

Second Pairing

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  • Lemon Chicken with Couscous
    • chicken was dry and overcooked
    • couscous wasn’t very flavorful
    • sauce was okay
  • Maison Louis Jadot – Chardonnay; Burgandy, France
    • french oak instead of american oak
      • tight grain, flavors aren’t as “oaky” as american wines
      • oak barrels are charred
      • acidity of this wine “washes the palate”
    • Nick: it was okay, didn’t finish my glass
    • Nora: I like it better with food, the food flavors remove some of the oak and acidity

Third Pairing

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  • Shish Kebab with Hummus
    • came to Morocco by way of Arab immigrants
    • plate was cold, not cool, not room temperature, but cold
    • beef shish kebab wasn’t over cooked, medium rare
    • best flavors overall
    • hummus was good, very “creamy” – perhaps the olive oil is added in a stream after the chickpeas have been well processed, causing the oils to emulsify
  • J. Lohr Winery & Vineyards – “Seven Oaks” Cabernet Sauvignon; Paso Robles, California
    • raisin grape region/area
    • all of the grapes for this cabernet sauvignon are estate grown
    • Nick: this was the best of the three, I drank the entire glass
    • Nora: I still like Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s been my favorite red wine for nearly 20 years

Final Thoughts, including past experiences at Resturant Marrakesh

  • We had wanted to try this food & wine pairing because we’ve really enjoyed the food at Tangerine Cafe over the years (2002 to 2009), we’re only eaten there once in 2010
  • We were hoping that because this was a special event that the food at Resturant Marrakesh would be better – the other three times we’ve eaten here have just been “not so good” to “downright horrid”
    • We hear others say good things about the food here on the internet and on various podcasts
  • We just don’t see why RM would be popular
    • It’s not a matter of disliking the spices or grains or meats or vegetables
    • It’s a matter of poor cooking or poor resturant management
      • plates or platters that are cold (I mean the actual dishware, not the food specifically)
      • vegetables that are CLEARLY overcooked
      • meats that are reheated (maybe) and are dry
      • staff attitudes have always been a bit iffy as if they don’t reallly care if guests enjoy their cuisine – however, this is also true at times in Tangerine Cafe
  • It’s clearly puzzling how the food at the counter-service venue (Tangerine Cafe) can be so tasty and the food at the table-service venue (Resturant Marrakesh) can be so insipid and offputting

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