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Produced from the fruit of the Argan tree (argania spinosa), which grows wild in the south-west area of Morocco.
ManyMoroccans themselves haven't heard of this tree, as it only grows in anarea roughly between Essaouira and Agadir. Looking slightly like anolive tree, it has a twisted trunk, allowing goats to feed on itsleaves and fruit.
The fruit has a green, fleshy exterior like anolive, but larger and rounder. Inside, there's a nut with an extremelyhard shell, which in turn contains one to three almond-shaped kernels.
Whenthe goat has eaten the fruit, the fleshy part is digested, but the nut,because of its hard shell, is excreted. Later, the nuts are collectedby farmers to produce oil.
It is claimed that producing one litre of oil takes 20 hours' work, so making it expensive.
Theoil itself is slightly darker than olive oil, with a reddish tinge, andhas a nutty flavour. It is used locally to drizzle over a tagine, orperhaps couscous, before serving; mixed with honey and yoghurt andeaten for breakfast; or sometimes combined with lemon juice (nevervinegar) as a dressing. See also "Amlou"