about hospitality. The very religious don’t celebrate, because in order to do so, you need to buy and prepare chametz before Pesach goes out.”
The festival comes in just after midnight at the close of the eighth night after the start of Passover. Some celebrate it in the evening of what would be be the ninth day. Celebrants enjoy a food-crawl — tucking in at a series of buffets at different households.
“In Paris, the bakeries in the 19th district, where many of the Sephardi community live, stayed open late so those celebrating could buy what they needed for their Mimouna feast” says Viner-luzzato.
It is said the festival celebrates the renewal of spring and fertility and a newbeginningof freedomfromslavery. Colourful, groaning Mimouna tables often include gold-wrapped chocolate coins symbolising prosperity and riches, as well as yeasted cakes and milk or buttermilk. Eggs are eaten to symbolise fertility, and dates and preserves chosen for a sweet new year. There is often pitta bread or traditional Moroccan mofletas (yeasted pancakes) to dip in honey, plus fruits, nuts and chocolate covered apri- cots. Sweet Moroccan mint tea is served along with wine, decorated with flowers and stalks of wheat.
“We sometimes use romaine leaves to decorate the table and room” adds Viner-luzzato. “The key foods are the mofletas and fris casses (fried sandwiches) but anything goes. One year I included a selection of fresh pastas and different sauces. It was what everyone craved at the end of Passover.”
Viner-luzzato has shared her favourite recipes here, so you indulge in your own Mimouna feast this year. ( www.homecookingbyfabienne.co.uk)