We have a saying in my home country of Ghana – “Chop Time, No Friend”. This means when I am eating, do not interrupt me. We take our food seriously. The Ghana-Nigeria Jollof Wars have been raging for the better half of two decades. We call it a war and it is about rice.
Africans love their food.
One of the joys of traveling is being able to indulge in all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a country. A great way to do this in Tunisia is through a cooking class at Mille et Une Saveurs (meaning One Thousand and One Flavors). I once organized a cooking class for a dozen of my friends to learn traditional Tunisian classics there and it was an amazingly fun culinary experience.
The menu consisted of:
- Chorbet Frik – a soup typically eaten to break fast during Ramadan;
- Tajine Malsouka – an oven-baked flaky pastry filled with juicy meat;
- Ojja aux crevettes – an interesting tomato-based stew featuring eggs and shrimps; and
- Riz Djerbien – or what I like to call ‘Tunisian Jollof’ (named after the famous Tunisian island), which features chunks of lamb, spinach and a variety of fragrant fresh herbs.
The bubbly Habiba Bennani runs the workshop located on Rue du Lac Ontario in the residential neighborhood of Berges du Lac 1. It is a great option for a family or a group of friends. The atelier is a hip loft space, with Habiba’s office upstairs and the main cooking and dining areas on the ground floor, decorated with pops of lime green.
Main reasons I loved it:
- Clean Environment – Habiba keeps things spick and span. The food handlers wear aprons and gloves. Newsflash: this is rare in restaurants!
- Fresh ingredients – the vegetables and herbs were all organic and fresh from the central market downtown. If interested, Habiba actually organizes vegetable shopping tours at the central medina market as a precursor to classes.
- Well equipped – The appliances and utensils were all pristine, sharp and stainless steel. A few of us actually got recommendations with regards to where to shop for them in Tunis;
- You can shop – I am a woman who thoroughly enjoys any activity that consists of a mini shopping experience. Mille et Une Saveurs offers a gallery wall of cute little local munchies and treats to take home (souvenirs people!).
- Time Conscious – We arrived at 10am and were eating by 12:30pm. Two hours of smelling yummy food is the limit for any human being before they break down, lose concentration and begin to drool shamelessly. They totally get that.
Mille et Une Saveurs has over 45,000 Facebook likes and knows how to treat your taste buds. Although it is winter in Tunis from December to March, it does not make Tunisia any less interesting from a tourism perspective. There is plenty to do! Until you visit, whet your appetite!
Have you tried Tunisian food? What is your favorite dish?
To call Habiba and make an appointment: +216 98 698 001 / +216 24 298 001.
Cost starting at TDN 70 per person (or around EUR 30 per person).
Photo credit: Bouthayna Bekri