Beldi and Roumi

In Morocco for many years people have used the word ‘beldi’ for very different things. From ‘beldi chicken’ to ‘beldi tiles’, or ‘beldi house’ or ‘beldi glasses’; everything can be ‘beldi’. This hardly translatable word stands for everything traditional, everything local, everything handmade. It is used in contrast to the word ‘roumi’ meaning ‘from far away’ which would suggest everything modern and factory made, without artisanal know-how.

For example, beldi tiles are generally cement tiles, solid and handcrafted piece by piece. It is therefore also a guarantee of quality. In contrast, roumi tiles could be factory-made tiles that are printed only on the surface. Another example, a beldi chicken is a chicken raised in freedom, a real free-range chicken that runs and has so many muscles that it has to be cooked for hours to be able to eat it, as opposed to a roumi chicken that lives in battery, without seeing the color of the sky ever in her life.

Like everywhere around the world the roumi gets to be more and more present. But it is in the beldi that all the beauty of the country is expressed. Craftsmanship, skills and handmade products require time and know-how. Beldi might sometime have small imperfections, but it is these small imperfections that tell the story and defines its beauty: the chicken more difficult to cook, the tiles, some of which are not quite identical, the houses whose angles are not quite straight. The same goes for beldi glasses. Unlike roumi glasses, manufactured by machines in large factories, most often imported, and without history, but beldi glasses represent a long tradition of Moroccan know-how. Beldi glasses are glasses that every Moroccan family used for decades. These are glasses made entirely by hand, where small imperfections remind us of the artisanal richness of Morocco. At COUVALOUP we are curating ‘beldi’ quality products for your home and treasure the artisan culture of Morocco. Picture shown is of Riad Darkawa in Marrakech and shot by Nicole Francesca Manfron.