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Showing posts from 2014

Goats in trees – a signpost for argan oil

Talk to anyone who’s travelled along the road from Marrakech to Essaouira and they’ll mention goats in trees. Dotted across the landscape between Marrakech, Essaouira and Agadir are thousands of squat yet mighty argan trees (argania spinosa) with twisted, gnarled trucks, its spiny branches often climbed by adventurous goats in search of a nibble of the olive-sized argan fruit. It’s quite a sight to see and one that ever fails to bring a smile to whoever notices.
Argan oil products are becoming increasingly popular in the UK yet Berber women have been cultivating argan for centuries. During a recent trip to Essaouira, Morocco, I wanted to find out more about how argan was extracted and what qualities it has. I visited Afous Argan, an argan oil cooperative 20km from Essaouira on the Route de Marrakech in the Commune Ounagham, which employs only women to produce and sell cosmetics and foods made from locally sourced argan nuts. 
What I noticed from watching the Berber women work, is how ti…

Athens off season hits the spot

Returning to Athens has been bittersweet. As much as I love this city, it has been hard to return without my sister, where we had our best times together. Holding back the tears I smiled thinking of her reaction as I sped into central Athens, with a driver who seemed more interested in learning my life story than driving with due care. 
In equal horror and admiration I nervously eyed the abandoned steering wheel as he drove cigarette in one hand, mobile phone in the other; simultaneously placating his irate mistress, while madly gesticulating at the congested road ahead. Relating in detail the woes of modern Greece in broken English I couldn’t help but silently applaud his multi-tasking capabilities and unflagging optimism. 
Athens in the winter is a lack back affair; the restaurants are much quieter, shop opening hours are limited, the pace of life is generally more subdued, but once the sun makes an appearance, the Greeks descend the streets to walk their daily ‘volta’ and normal serv…