Day-1 Arrival in a lush garden
Welcome to Souhad organic farm. The beauty of the landscapes makes this family cottage a unique place. The farm's cuisine mixes regional specialties with those from the city of Fez, famed for its excellent ancestral cuisine. All the ingredients are grown on the farm or are sourced locally; traditional and organic. The farm practices polyculture and mixed livestock. The bread is baked daily in the traditional oven.The family has two main objectives. Maintaining good agricultural practices without using chemicals, and developing solidarity tourism in the region whilst still respecting local customs and traditions.
Day-2 Hand building, irrigating with ollas & plant collection
First, we will prepare clay, aduka.
The preparation of clay is a necessary step. Clay made by our own hands becomes precious. It is a question of crushing, sifting and preparing the earth by mixing it with water and grog (clay which has been fired then ground up) until a certain plasticity threshold is reached.
Then, seated on the ground, we will begin to build our pieces: using both hands and a selection of tools: flat discs, chekaf, and spatulas, mechta, all made of wood. You will mainly use three techniques: coiling, modelling and the "plates" technique.
The gestures of the potter are precise and she has practiced them since childhood. This know-how was transmitted by her mother, or sometimes by her mother-in-law.
In the afternoon we will visit the farm and learn how to use clay pots, ollas, for irrigation, an ancient technique for the efficient irrigation of crops. At the same time, we will collect aromatic and medicinal plants and will put them in the solar oven.
Day-3 Hand building & clay harvesting
We will continue to model, again and again, to learn these subtle gestures.
The pieces are then placed outside to dry to prepare them for the next step: polishing.
In the afternoon we go for a walk and harvest clay in the surroundings with the potter and her donkey.
Day-4 Polishing & cooking with clay utensils
We will polish our pieces using a pebble, adelak, or any other hard and smooth object. Indeed, the pieces are then polished by the potter before cooking because the clay is very porous.
The pieces are ready for the slip (a liquid mixture or slurry of clay and/or other materials suspended in water). You will cover them using a cloth, tolok, and apply a slip of red clay, the iron oxide rich jammar, or white clay, known as biada.
In the afternoon, we will learn how to make Moroccan crepes, trid, using the clay utensil, guédra, and cook some delicious traditional recipes like the Rfissa.
Day-5 Decorating & repairing a clay oven
The colors, smells and feelings of the previous days will inspire us to decorate our pieces in the shade under a tree.
Using a brush, arakam, made from a wick of goat hair, we will decorate our pieces with colors made of mineral pigments. These must be ground in a pestle and mortar before they are ready to use. The black color, mogra, comes from manganese oxide diluted in water.
In the afternoon, we will go and help the potters to repair the traditional clay oven, forna, in the village. Traditionally, each family has a clay oven made from a mixture of earth and straw built by the potter from the village. This oven is mainly used for baking bread or any other vegetable. The potter is asked by each family to repair and maintain the oven every year so that it will stand the test of time.
Day-6 The magic of primitive cooking
In the morning we will prepare the fire with small pieces of wood, twigs and pine needles.
This is a unique and fascinating stage for the potter; where the magic of the four elements combine. You will be amazed as from air, water, earth, and fire, the pieces are born. It is a real contemplation of the beauty and magic of nature and thus we will give birth to our pieces. In the evening, we will start an open fire, muakra, covered with dried disc, luguide, made from a mixture of straw and manure. The potter must remain diligent throughout the combustion, paying close attention to the air currents which influence the fire’s blaze. The best results are achieved when the temperature does not exceed 1000 degrees celsius.
Traditionally the potter starts the fire the day before the market so she can barter or sell the pottery the next day.In the afternoon, we will finish helping the potters to repair the clay oven, forna.
Day-7 Discovery of treasures & gentle return to reality
We will remove our pieces from the fire after a dozen hours of cooking at low temperature. We also will get the plants back we have dried during the week to prepare infusions back home.
It is time to return home, enriched and refreshed by this beautiful human experience. The bonds made and the knowledge shared help to breathe new life into these ancient traditions. A mutual respect and knowledge of cultures to be spread throughout the world. It is time to hit the road, enriched by this beautiful human experience.