Monday evening, a group of AUCP Marseille students headed over to Mina Kouk, a local mediterranean restaurant that brings oriental and North African cuisine into the heart of Marseille.
Mina Kouk specializes in the flavors that characterize the Mediterranean region – mint, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, dates and more.
Students were greeted by Chef Mina herself, and were able to taste a number of different North African pastries, as well as Mina’s famous home-made lemonade and traditionnal Moroccan mint tea.
It was a lovely moment to see one another again after the Fall vacation, and great preparation for our trip to Morocco. – Elizabeth Shackney, Wesleyan University
I learned that the French don’t have a specific word for limes – they call it a citron vert, a green lemon! But it’s not a lemon! – Lacy Myrman, GWU
Mina let us taste several different specialties, both classic and new, like the chocolate and fig macaron! – Alex Miele, Claremont McKenna College
The course began, and students got in on the action, making their very own montécao, a cookie whose variants spread across the Mediterranean basin. Mina presented a cinnamon-chocolat version of this centuries-old recipe!
Don’t miss the recipe below – courtesy of Chef Mina!
- 1kg flour
- 1/2kg sugar
- 500 mL peanut oil
- Ground cinnamon
- Vanilla extract
- Orange flower extract
Mix the flour, a small amount of vanilla extract, the sugar and the oil. Add a very small amount of orange flower extract – careful, it can be quite overpowering! Once you have a consistent batter, form small tablespoon-sized balls of dough, and place them on a baking sheet, then powder them with chocolate powder or ground cinnamon, or both! The montécao are cooked when they are no longer stuck to the baking sheet (approximately 20 minutes).
Watch the cookies closely – and test them as you go – at one minute intervals, you can end up with chewy or very crunchy montécaos!