Moroccan Tea: Chamali Edition
Calling all Moroccan tea lovers! Here is a variation of the highly addictive spearmint beverage you must try next time you are in North Morocco.
If your senses catch a whiff of sweetened minty goodness roaming in the air as soon as you step foot here, then your wandering may just have led you to the Cherifien Kingdom, a majestic land where the Sahara meets the Ocean. And if you thought your olfactory senses will never recover from that enchanting smell, wait until your taste buds savor the alluring flavors packed in a seemingly plain drink.
In Morocco, it is always tea o’clock. Mournful? A piping hot mug of mint tea will wash away your sorrows and drown your misery. Elated? Sinia, a Moroccan tea tray, will be the centerpiece as family and friends, gathered to celebrate your blessings and triumphs, relish in the saccharine steaming cup that will undoubtedly fog your glasses. No particular emotion on the horizon? Absentmindedly sipping on your mint tea beverage as you are working, reading, or even daydreaming is the norm for Moroccans everywhere. You get the picture, it is a crime for your hand not to be constantly glued to a chromatic etched traditional tea cup filled with the highly addictive spearmint beverage. Heavenly as it is, this thirst quencher does not require a Michelin-starred chef skill level. Ingredients are even easier to acquire, after all, you only need gunpowder tea, spearmint, sugar, and some water to make miracles happen.
Across the Kingdom, mint tea recipes vary slightly from region to region, adjusted accordingly to better reflect traditions transmitted from generation to generation. Atay Chamali, Northern Tea, is one of the most famous variations savored by many locals and tourists alike. What is remarkable is that this marvelous concoction does not stray too far from the original recipe, if at all. The secret is nothing other than a twist that sets it apart from the original, a difference in presentation. Atay Chamali is typically poured in a tall clear glass filled to the brim, instead of tiny colored traditional tea cups. Believe it or not, this makes for a world of difference in taste.
If you order an Atay Chamali, your eyes will be instantly drawn to the spearmint nestled in the translucent glass due to the ample room the utensil has. This gives Atay Chamali a more pronounced refreshing minty taste that is guaranteed to awaken your senses. Sticking to Northern traditions, locals and tourists often accompany this beverage with some peanuts or sunflower seeds, usually sold by hawkers that roam the cafés tirelessly. Next time you are in North Morocco, make sure to take a minute to sip on an Atay Chamali and snack on some peanuts in El Hafa café, basking in the sunrays and overlooking the mesmerizing sea.