Pâtisserie Driss - Essaouira's Sweet Treat
Essaouira is the sort of travel destination where you don't need an itinerary. In fact you are possibly better without one; which is difficult to admit, since I love to draw extensive plans of what to do, see, eat and drink. While there are a handful of sights that you wouldn't want to leave without taking in, it would be hard to miss them. Spending one evening and the best part of a day there was just enough to get an impression of the city without feeling hurried.
Much of its charm comes from exploring the haphazard streets, encased within traditional stone walls dating back to the 18th century. Without a map you will discover hidden gems, which is exactly what Pâtisserie Dris was for us. Unassuming from the outside, we passed by numerous times throughout the day as we meandered through the Medina. On the first few occasions we had paused to admire the traditional, delicacies only to conclude that hunger had not yet taken hold and later, that cake was not a real lunch. Then my sweet tooth reasoned that since a fancy dinner was booked in Marrakesh and it was already getting into the late afternoon, coffee and cake was exactly what was required.
The correct choice. And a delightful one.
Opened in 1928, the cafe itself is eclectic and slightly overwhelming, however, head out to the hidden courtyard and you will find the perfect hideaway to recuperate after hours of getting (intentionally) lost in Essouira's maze. This tiny square is light and airy compared to the cluttered interior, providing a more modern atmosphere while still having plenty to take in with bright, bold furniture dotted around and colourful artwork hung about the walls .
The cakes are delicious: Crisp pastry, smooth and chewy fillings and light sponges. Each bite is an exquisite combination of precision baking and masterful flavour combinations. With tastes I know and recognise including chocolate, chestnut and jam, they hold themselves perfectly against the strong, sweet coffee. Much more than I had anticipated, Pâtisserie Driss was a great find that was almost overlooked - momentarily considering grabbing something to takeaway. Luckily, the owner and baker was friendly, encouraging us to sit outside and to stay for our sweet afternoon treat, as well as posing for a quick photo with his treasures.
One word of caution. Beware, as in many of the spots in Morocco, the toilets are not the best. Considering how great the rest of the experience was, this came as a slight shock!
Pâtisserie Driss can be found on the corner of Rue El Hajjali and Rue lbn Rochd. That said, if you wander around the Medina you will almost definitely pick out their windows full of gorgeous pâtisserie.