Moroccan women are empowering themselves by crushing nuts…to make Argan oil!
When you visit Morocco, you’ll probably end up buying a bottle or argan oil – you’ll see it for sale pretty much everywhere like a kind of Moroccan trademark souvenir.
Hand made items and the opportunity to see local people making and producing them is always a real privilege to witness when visiting another country.
It takes a lot of nimble fingers and repetitive manual labour to extract argan oil for our use, so seeing the process from start to finish was very interesting.
The process of making the beautiful ceramic plates and dishes is often made using a foot peddled pottery wheel and hand made kilns outdoors, today we got to see a young expert at work but I would have loved to see someone doing the decorative paint work – since that’s what gives moroccan ceramics it’s trademark.
Locally Made Pottery and Beautiful Ceramics
Berber Women’s Argan Oil Cooperative
These cooperatives seem to be dotted around all over Morocco and if you want to buy Argan oil while you’re there, these are probably the best places to buy it from – direct from the hands that crush and extract the oil from the nut.
Many Morocco women are better able to gain financial independence through their own business ventures, thanks to these cooperatives.
Argan oil is thought to have various health and beauty benefits, its a pure substance, free from any chemicals. It’s popular for use on skin. hair, nails, and there are also edible types which are recommended for with salads.
Some of the ladies were telling me that although Agran oil is very popular and a great oil to use – ‘prickly pear oil’ does all the things that Argan oil does, but quicker and more effectively.
Prickly pear oil is also more expensive, they were asking for 700 dirham (around £55 for a small bottle), though one assistant was willing to knock it down to 600 dirham.
If anyone can recommend some reputable retailers of pure organic Argan oil online (not tampered with in any way and in a dark brown bottle – which helps preserve it’s purity) – please let me know.
I bought some recently from an online company claiming to sell directly from Moroccan Berber women but the oil had no smell.
Tip: it’s meant to have a mild nutty smell if it’s pure.
A Saharan guide pointed out that when you’re shopping in the souks you need to be aware of popular Argan oil scams.
People are selling sunflower oil with an Argan label on the bottle. It’s a much safer bet to buy it directly from the Argan cooperatives to get the pure product.
A spot of wine tasting to end the day……
Morocco Le Val D’Argan Vinyard
4 thoughts on “Out and About Morocco #2: Argan Oil, pottery and Moroccan Wine”
When I was in Essaouira last year I found a place that makes argan oil right there in the shop and like you, I discovered that I liked it more than I expected. So I contacted them and they emailed me a price list. The shipping is expensive because it’s heavy, but they quoted me the same product prices I saw in the store, which were quite reasonable. I had to send the money Western Union because he doesn’t use services like Paypal, but he sent me exactly what I was promised and the quality is excellent. It smells amazing even after having it for a year. I bought a 1 liter bottle of the roasted oil (culinary) and keep it in the fridge (it solidifies like olve or peanut oil), and refill a smaller bottle in the pantry. Use the contact form on my blog to reach me and I’ll email you his contact info if you want, I don’t want to publish it here.
Thanks Mike, I might come back to you on that offer. I think I might try and get in touch with the women’s cooperative that aI visited in Essaouaira, where I bought my Argan Oil – there were lots of them in that region. I bought some from Holland & Barratt that’s meant to be pure – but I don’t think it is as it has no scent – it’s been manipulated to remove the smell.
They’re really proud of those women’s co-operatives. Every tour we took went into one of them … and we now have enough argan oil soap to last us a long time!
Lol, I wish I’d bought more Argan oil….I didn’t realise I’d like it so much.