…and ‘T’ is for tiles: the three ‘T’s that define the mosaic of Tunisia

by Rashmee

Posted on September 9, 2015


The word ‘tile’ sounds a lot less artistic than ‘mosaic’. But everywhere you go in Tunisia, it is the tiles you notice. Artistically arranged even if it’s just the one tile inset over the front door. Tiled steps. Faux archways carefully tiled with complex patterned squares reminiscent of Turkey’s Iznik pottery. An intricate sequence on a … Continue reading “…and ‘T’ is for tiles: the three ‘T’s that define the mosaic of Tunisia”

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T is for topiary: the 1st of three ‘T’s that define modern Tunisia

by Rashmee

Posted on September 8, 2015


Click here and take a good look at the photograph of the spiral-shaped tree in the picturesque village of Sidi Bou Said, on the fringes of the Tunisian capital Tunis. The photo is by one Patrick Costello, who’s apparently from Portsmouth, England. He took it in March 2014, perhaps while on holiday in Tunisia. Sidi … Continue reading “T is for topiary: the 1st of three ‘T’s that define modern Tunisia”

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Three ‘T’s can be said to define Tunisia. Not that ugly fourth, terror

by Rashmee

Posted on September 7, 2015


How do you define a country? Especially one as old and ethnically and culturally diverse as Tunisia? This is a country whose capital still has an ampitheatre built by the Phoenicians, remember? The gardens around some of the plush villas in Carthage, which was founded by the Phoenicians who came in the 12th century BC … Continue reading “Three ‘T’s can be said to define Tunisia. Not that ugly fourth, terror”

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Highs and lows of olive oil pretty much sum up state of Tunisia. Here’s why

by Rashmee

Posted on September 4, 2015


The Financial Times recently reported on the happy coincidence of events that have led Tunisia to become the world’s second largest producer of olive oil this year. These are as follows: It had a bumper olive crop Spain and Italy had poor harvests This has made for rich pickings. Olive oil is more expensive now … Continue reading “Highs and lows of olive oil pretty much sum up state of Tunisia. Here’s why”

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The chapati is everywhere in Tunisia but no one knows how or why

by Rashmee

Posted on August 31, 2015


  No one is able to accurately say how the chapati has come to be one of Tunisia’s favourite street foods. Or when it arrived in this bit of north Africa. Or who brought it? And from where? I’ve heard someone insist that the chapati Tunisienne began life in Sousse, an hour-and-a-bit from the capital Tunis, … Continue reading “The chapati is everywhere in Tunisia but no one knows how or why”

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In Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia bares its Sufi soul & anxiety about ISIL’s imprint

by Rashmee

Posted on August 30, 2015


If there can be any measure of Tunisia’s anxiety about the extremist imprint, it came at Sidi Bou Said’s celebration of itself. Last Sunday, the beautiful blue and white village in the Tunisian capital bared its Sufi soul. Two Sufi groups gathered to sing to praise God, love and life. “Do you understand what you’re … Continue reading “In Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia bares its Sufi soul & anxiety about ISIL’s imprint”

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I say jalebi, Tunisia says z’labia. Could this Indian sweet really be Levantine?

by Rashmee

Posted on August 28, 2015


It was India’s ambassador in Tunisia, the charming, erudite and variously talented Nagma Malik who reminded me of the tangled mystery that is the origins of the jalebi. For those who know it, the jalebi is a fried Indian circle of dough dipped in syrup. It is best eaten hot. And in large quantities. The jalebi is … Continue reading “I say jalebi, Tunisia says z’labia. Could this Indian sweet really be Levantine?”

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Marche Central and the traditional market before the age of refrigeration

by Rashmee

Posted on August 17, 2015


The Marche Central in Tunis is one of the world’s more distinctive old traditional markets. They go by different names in different parts of the world, obviously. And historically, they served as both supermarche and information exchange before the age of refrigeration. La Merced Market in Mexico City is in an area that has been associated … Continue reading “Marche Central and the traditional market before the age of refrigeration”

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With a pocketful of dinars in Marche Central, Tunis – a story told in pictures

by Rashmee

Posted on August 16, 2015


This is where Tunisia’s Mediterranean heart meets its African spirit. Mini tartelette cases next to bowlfuls of harissa. Ravioli aux fromage and couscous. Tiny vol-au-vents and a semolina bread that looks like a half-inch thick tart and is the diameter of a large mug with a delicate crimped edge. I’ve been to traditional markets around … Continue reading “With a pocketful of dinars in Marche Central, Tunis – a story told in pictures”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK