Morocco produces a large range of Mediterranean fruits, vegetables and even some tropical ones like snails. Common meats include beef, goat, mutton and lamb, which, together with chicken and seafood, serve as a base for the cuisine. Characteristic flavorings include lemon pickle, argan oil, preserved butter (smen), olive oil, and dried fruits.
The staple grain today is wheat, used for bread and couscous, though until the mid-20th century, barley was an important staple, especially in the south. Grapes are mostly eaten fresh, as a dessert.The traditional cooking fats are butter and animal fat, though olive oil is now replacing them.Butter is used both fresh, zebeda, and preserved, smen.
Tunisia has different regional aspects. Tunisian cuisine varies from north to south, from the coast to the Atlas Mountains, from urban areas to the countryside, and along religious affiliations.
For instance, the original inhabitants of Tunis (the Beldiya), do not use harissa much; they prefer milder food, and have also developed their own breads and desserts.