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Cuisine - 2018-01-01

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ARTISAN WATCH

CRISPY BITS

THOMAS HEATON

mixes, couscous blends and preserves. Soufiane is following his family’s recipes, but also taking regional inspiration. “Every part of Morocco has a different tribe, basically,” he says. “We all have tagine and couscous, but in every place there are different foods and you discover things from them.” Soufiane mixes each batch by hand, using what he believes to be the finest ingredients. “We take a lot of time to prepare our products. We roast all the whole spices individually and combine them all together.” He also makes ghriba – traditional cocoa and sesame wedding biscuits – as well as preserved lemons and Spanish-style fig cakes. While various fine-food outlets stock his products, Soufiane can also be found at Auckland’s La Cigale markets every weekend. He sells Moroccan-style crumpets, baghrir, with drizzles of honey, chunks of goat’s cheese and pistachios or various other less-traditional toppings. While some help might be nice, he’s happy working alone for the meantime. It makes for better food, he says. “I want to keep it simple, and cook in small batches, because I think it tastes better.” besaha.co.nz / SOUFIANE ET TIJANI has been cooking since he was young, learning his mother’s recipes and helping her to put dinner on the table. Now he’s putting his family’s food on Kiwi tables too. Traditionally, learning to cook would have been a daughter’s role, but Soufiane is one of six brothers. So cooking lessons started from a young age, as did work in his parents’ hotel in tourist-hub Aϊt Ben Haddou in the south of Morocco. Six years ago Soufiane moved to New Zealand and until September 2015, he worked in and managed restaurants, before taking the plunge to start his own company, Besaha. “I wanted to start Besaha to show people a bit of what real Moroccan food is,” he says. Besaha’s Moroccan cuisine comes in the form of spice

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