Taste of Marrakesh returns to the 2018 edition of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival in between the Japan and Morocco Pavilions.
We’ve seen a similar Chicken Kebab before, but it didn’t appear last year. The Cauliflower is unlike anything we’ve seen in the past and it’s a new version of the Baklava.
Harissa Chicken Kebab with Dried Fruit Couscous Salad – $6
I appreciated the fact that the chicken was seasoned and grilled fresh inside the Outdoor Kitchen and was then immediately skewered before being served. The detailed plating was also more reminiscent of the Arts Festival than what we typically see at Food/Wine/Flower/Garden.
Here’s the old presentation. It might not look terribly different, but the chicken-of-the-past was dry and largely flavorless with nothing more interesting than an oily garlic sauce hiding between the three small bites of chicken and the couscous.
This year’s chicken was nicely marinated, well-seasoned, and juicy with a fresh spicy flavor. The couscous was sweetened up with a pleasant variety of dried fruit that contrasted nicely with the spice in the chicken, in addition to having the proper fluffy texture. Six bucks is a dollar overpriced, but you could do a whole heck of a lot worse. For those feeling a little less adventurous, the familiar flavors of the chicken mixed in with some of the more “exotic” spices might be a good gateway to trying some of the more interesting items. It’s quite good.
Fried Cauliflower with Capers, Garlic Parsley and Chili Ranch Sauce – $5
If you have to eat vegetables, they might as well be deep fried and served with ranch, I always say.
Once you get past the initial, “eeeewwwww, CAULIFLOWER” feeling, you’re left with a nice handful of vegetables that’s coated in what becomes a thick, crunchy, fritter-esque batter. The cauliflower inside does a nice job of retaining its own hearty crunch before being dipped into the mildly spicy ranch dipping sauce. We mostly ignored the capers, but they add some lemon, vinegar, and tang to the bite if you’re so inclined. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the dish and vegetarians should appreciate another option that’s something other than salad or cake. Very shareable, too. Consider adding one for the group if you’re otherwise making a stop.
Walnut Honey Baklava – $4
Baklava is time-consuming to make and I always appreciate seeing whatever Morocco has going on. I’ve never tried making the dessert myself as I actually don’t even have the patience to write these reviews and just repeatedly throw the keyboard against the wall and see what comes out. Explains a lot, doesn’t it? This year’s variety tasted freshly made with no traces of freezer burn whatsoever. The nutty walnut flavor was subtle, but present, and the dollops of honey did a really nice job of naturally sweetening everything up. The powdered sugar and cinnamon topping make everything even more delicious. Very impressed this year and I hope the high quality offerings continue.
Desert Rose: Sparkling Wine topped with Pomegranate Liqueur – $8
The Desert Rose is actually pretty good, using Charles de Fere Cuvee Jean-Louis Blanc de Blancs Brut, a name that I did not actually just make up. It’s still a $12 bottle of sparkling wine, but it’s better quality than what they use in France for the same money and Morocco takes pride in making sure your glass is full. The pomegranate liqueur is slightly sweet and fruity at the front of the sip followed by a tart, flowery quality on the back end. It mixes nicely with the wine to basically make a Pomegranate Kir. This picture is a couple of years old because I never actually stop to order anything in Morocco. I just grab a bottle of the wine and scamper away yelling, “I’m a blogger, everything should be freeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”
White Sangria – $6
Morocco should highlight the fact that they’re using Spice Road Table’s Sangria, which is actually quite good. It had been Spanish wine out of a cheap bottle for years.
Casa Beer – $4
The Sultan’s Budweiser is always available in Morocco in at least a half dozen different places. It’s “just fine,” but nothing particularly special.
Morocco seems to have stepped up their game this year, which is nice to see. It’s also typically one of the least busy Outdoor Kitchens, which minimizes waits if you just want to grab one or two things. Relatively comfortable outdoor seating is available outside Tangierine Cafe as well. Good work.