Call this joint a coffee shop, call it mahlaba, it was all in one. Located in a corner just before you hit the nougat folks with their amazing display.. I was in heaven.
So yes, it was a father and daughter trip to the world of treats.
Now my father is gone and so is the old man in the picture, after my dad as it seems.
I crossed that shop a few times since. I just could not order anything from it. Actually I never ordered anything beside that lemonade, now that I think of it. They were also selling almond briouates and sbiaats which are reputed to be better if homemade.
Morocco is a heavy producer of citrus fruits, mostly oranges, lemons (many varieties) and bitter orange, hence the abundance of orange blossom water. Fez's lemons are particularly sweeter as compared to other areas in Morocco due to the rich dark soil and water found in that area, and so are many other fruits and vegetables.
Everyone has a recipe of lemonade and it's a common homemade drink across the Mediterranean countries. Some like it sweeter than others and some like it more lemony than others.
However, we do prefer to zest the lemon and keep the zest in the lemon juice and sugar mix to macerate for a few hours before mixing with water and sifting.
The days went by and my mother started making a lot of this lemon/sugar/zest mix and freeze it in flattened plastic bags, which makes it available even when lemon becomes expensive or less juicy.
Prep: 10 min - Chilling: at least 3 hours.
For the lemonade
- About 600 ml of water
- 60 - 100 ml of lemon juice (depending on how strong you like it)
- Zest from the juiced lemons, preferably unwaxed and organic
- 100 g of caster sugar (adjust to your taste)
- 2 big scoops of vanilla ice cream
Like mentioned above, the most demanding part of this mix can be made ahead and frozen.
Zest all the lemons and then juice them.
Mix the juice with the zest and the sugar. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours and even better if overnight. This is also the part of the recipe that can be frozen, in cubes or flattened plastic bags.
In a liquidizer, blend the lemon mix with cold water and then sieve it. Discard the lemon zest or use it in cakes.
Serving the lemonade with ice cream
Once chilled, pour it in glasses to serve, throw in a scoop of vanilla ice cream and stir. Serve.
Everyone who receives their drink should wait a couple of minutes then stir. The juice gets some creaminess from the ice cream. I prefer to stir as I go then use the spoon to finish the bit of ice cream which has not melted yet.
I used to walk the whole Medina up and down, That sort of activity needed that sweet and refreshing drink.