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Christine Benlafquih

Moroccan Sugar Cone - Pain de Sucre

By March 13, 2010

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Sugar is sold in a variety of forms in Morocco, including the large sugar cone in this picture. Known as qaalib al-sukar in Arabic ("molded sugar"), and pain de sucre in French ("loaf of sugar"), it's the preferred sugar for sweetening Moroccan tea. Some Moroccans claim that it not only has a better taste than regular sugar, it's the secret to creating a frothy head or "turban" on the tea when it's poured.

The sugar cones are almost rock-solid, and a bit resistant to breaking into neat pieces. Some Moroccan women can deftly whack off chunks with the bottom of a sturdy tea glass, but given the trouble I have breaking up the sugar with a heavy brass pestle, I dare not try the glass routine.

It's Moroccan tradition to give the sugar cones as gifts to mark family events. We received a carton of the sugar cones upon the birth of one of our babies, and also received a carton from someone who came to pay condolences when a family member died. The first time we received the sugar, I was baffled and didn't know the cones were sugar. I actually thought someone had given us a box of salt licks for livestock.

Now I'm wiser, and tonight I even used some of the cone sugar to make a pot of plain Green Tea. My kids tasted the difference instantly. I have to wonder if they've become little tea connoisseurs, or if I simply over sweetened the tea with too-big of a chunk.

See the glossary listing for sukar to learn the names of other types of sugar in Morocco, such as granulated sugar and powdered sugar.

Photo Christine Benlafquih

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March 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm
(1) whatscookingtoday says:

I wonder how many ettay glasses they broke before they mastered the art lol .

September 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm
(2) Christine says:

Any idea where this stuff can be purchased in the US?

February 2, 2012 at 7:46 am
(3) Suewho says:

My fthaer’s side of the family lived in Algeria until they had to leave in 1962 when the former French colonies in North Africa became independent. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched my aunts make tagines and couscous while growing up. I will give your recipe a try. It sounds so appetizing! I can smell all the spices from here — Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

February 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm
(4) Barakat says:

Any idea where I can purchase it here in the U.S ? I’ve just finished my last piece I brought with me from Canada and now I am having a hard time to find. Any suggestions? Tea does taste way better with the sugar cones so I can see why your kids noticed the different.


August 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm
(5) sidi says:

if you morrocan you’ll break zero tea glass but if not it will be at least a couple dozens

November 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm
(6) Megs says:

White sugar cones can be purchased in the US from the following websites:



Hope this helps!

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