Meet the Maker: Soufian, The Herbalist

Meet the Maker:  Soufian, The Herbalist

I met Soufian, whom I fondly refer to as The Herbalis,  in 2015 in the mellah (Jewish Quarter) in Marrakech. I was walking through the stalls and all the shopkeepers would stand outside their doors soliciting passerby to come inside. I was polite but kept it moving. I happened upon Soufian’s apothecary  where he was standing outside like the rest but when he spoke to me, it was not to sell me something. His approach was different. 

Large Tayvek bags of grains, herbs, nuts, etc in a warehouse room

He talked to me about what makes Moroccan ingredients special. He had a love for the culture, the history, and the craft I hadn’t seen before. He asked if I wanted to come in and see some things…he said, “I’m not going to try to sell you anything.” 45 minutes later, after chatting all things Moroccan beauty over a cup of mint tea poured from this very pot, I left his shop with a bag of ancient beauty traditions — solid perfume bars, aker fassi (Moroccan lip stain made from red poppies), Rhassoul clay, and Royal Moroccan mint tea (the most insane tea blend I’ve eve had - insane being good), all of which are rare kids outside Morocco.

Antique standing tea kettle over a propane tank

Hands holding a metal tea cup

 

I didn’t know it at the time, but Soufian is a 4th generation herbalist. This shop I visited in the Jewish quarter had been in his family for over a century and they were the first Muslim-owned business to desegregate the Jewish Quarter in Marrakech. In addition to sourcing the Argan Beldi from a soap-making artisan, his team micr-batches the oils in Zahra using the ancient-Egyptian process of enfleurage.

Moroccan herbalist standing outside of his apothecary in Marrakech

Soufian is not only an herbalist, he is a linguist (he speaks several Amazigh dialects in addition to Arabic, English, French, and some Spanish), historian (his knowledge of Moroccan history in addition to the Quran, Torah, and Bible are insane), and entrepreneur (he has an antique business and a tour company) and is an official tour guide, vetted and certified by the Moroccan National Tourism Board (ONMT). At only 29, Soufian has four business and is set to take over the family apothecary when his father retires. Soufian currently resides between Marrakech and his family estate outside the city. I look forward to you learning more about the Herbalist whom I now consider family.

The cookie settings on this website are set to 'allow all cookies' to give you the very best experience. Please click Accept Cookies to continue to use the site.
You have successfully subscribed!
x