In Morocco, meal times are a social event. The midday meal is the main meal, with the exception of the holy month of Ramadan. The typical formal meal begins with a series of hot and cold salads, followed by a tagine. Bread is eaten with every meal. Often a lamb or chicken dish is next, followed by couscous topped with meats and vegetables. A cup of sweet mint tea is commonly used to end the meal. It is common for Moroccans to eat using the fingers of their hand and use bread as a "utensil". Before the meal, Moroccans give thanks to God by saying "Bismillah" and say "Al Hamdu Lillah" meaning "Thank God" at the end of the meal.
Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Common spices include karfa (cinnamon), kamoun (cumin), kharkoum (tumeric), skingbir (ginger), libzar (pepper), tahmira (paprika), anis seed, sesame seed, kasbour (coriander), maadnous (parsley), zaafrane beldi (saffron) and mint.