In Marrakesh, an Expanding Cafe With Roots at a Local Farm

Travelling to Marrakesh? Don’t skip this cafe and farm shop in the busy neighbourhood of Gueliz.

Article by Gisela Williams

12-TMAG-BALLET-FLATS-1Blue Ribbon, a bakery and cafe in Marrakesh, is inspired by the bounty of ingredients grown on Sanctuary Slimane, a farm outside the city. Photograph courtesy of Blue Ribbon.

When the Moroccan financier Aziz Nahas decided to buy and regenerate a farm outside Marrakesh about two decades ago, he underestimated how much would grow there. Now, the 10-acre plot produces organic vegetables and fruits as well as hosting an artist residency program and a ceramic studio, all under the name Sanctuary Slimane. In 2021, Nahas’s friend the French restaurateur Benjamin Pastor suggested they partner up to start a cafe and farm shop in the busy Marrakesh neighbourhood of Gueliz. Last spring, they opened the coffee shop Blue Ribbon, with offerings including fresh salads served with halloumi or beets and almonds and a bánh mí sandwich on fresh sourdough. In the fall, they added a seating area next door and the Slimane Farm Shop, which sells vegetables and products like honey and dried herbs that are grown and produced on the farm. Up next: Farmers, a restaurant headed by Blue Ribbon’s chef and located in the same building. The 46-seat space, lined with colourful Popham tiles, is scheduled to open at the end of February.