Tassabount is a date juice made in the oasis of south-eastern Morocco, particularly in the Daraa and Tafilalet valley. The preparation of this juice is a family tradition and is typically done by women. The recipe has been handed down from generation of women to generation of women for centuries. Made with one of the most important resources of the area – dates – this drink is enriched with many aromatic plants, which also give it medicinal properties. Tassabount is made especially for important occasions, such as weddings.
The recipe varies in different communities: several varieties of dates and herbs can be used. The tassabout of the Berber community of the Aït Atta, in the region of Alnif-Tazarine, is extracted from Khelt, Tahmout or Bousthmi (also called Bousthammi) dates. Some varieties are chosen because they create a white, particularly appreciated foam, while the aromatic plants grow wild in the arid and semi-arid regions and are chosen based on their scent (basil, damask rose) and their medicinal properties (henna, mandrake, Mentha pulegium, etc.
The herbs are left to macerate for a few days in a clay container or in an empty and dried squash. The dates are washed and then energetically worked in a ceramic container, until a homogeneous, light colored mixture is obtained. The herb macerate is gradually added while mixing; a foam similar to the one produced by soap forms on the surface. This is why the drink is called tassabount, meaning ""soap"" in the Berber language. Once filtered, the tassabount is ready for consumption.
Today, less and less people know how to prepare this date juice. This is also due to the lack of interest for the rich agricultural biodiversity linked to the cultivation of dates in this region, a fruit that features in many processed products of the Berber communities’ gastronomic culture.