Of all the things to buy when travelling in Morocco, argane oil would seem to be one of the best value. You might have seen tiny bottles of argane oil for sale in cosmetics store in Europe for 30 or 40 euros as it becomes yet another hyped item to restore youth, vitality, eliminate wrinkles and heal troubled marriages.
Argane oil probably is pretty good stuff for all that I know but in MOrocco it’s easy to end up buying olive oil instead. The average tourist in Morocco doesn’t know what argane oil should look like, smell like or taste like, so the Moroccans would have to be saints to sell bottles that are 100% pure when they can double or even treble their money by mixing it with the cheaper olive oil. Or maybe just with the darker argane oil used for cooking.
It’s perhaps a sign of our consumer culture that we’ll pretty much believe whatever the label sells us; tourists come to Marrakech and buy a little bottle of argane oil that promises to be organic and 100% pure and never question the shopkeeper who takes their money. After all, who would go to the trouble of printing up labels just to rip some tourists off?
So how to tell whether argane oil is pure?
No idea. But you could do worst than trust the woman’s cooperatives who have shops in cities like Marrakech and Essaouira. They at least have a reputation to protect and even if they do adulturate their argane oil a bit you’re still helping out women who have very little other economic opportunities in a country dominated by men. And there’s every chance that they are honest. You can almost guarantee they’re more honest than almost every other shop out there selling argane oil.