We get so much of our inspiration from travels and this dinner was no exception. Jen and her husband traveled to Morocco last spring bringing back lanterns, tagines, textiles, spices, and a suitcase full of ideas for a Moroccan-inspired dinner. But where in the Shenandoah Valley can you find a location to match? Enter the beautiful home of Carla and Sherwin Jacobs. Carla had messaged us when we first started Sub Rosa and graciously offered her home if we were ever interested. It hadn’t been the right fit for previous events so it was filed away in the back of my mind. We pulled up the photos again and agreed it was perfect, complete with a courtyard, fountain, and covered outdoor dining. Like our own little riad. Plans were made.

We started the dinner on the front lawn of the estate with lemon verbena and mint cocktails, traditional cheese-filled briouts with a harissa-date chutney, fresh figs, and marinated olives. The evening was gorgeous and pleasantly cool for late June. We then opened the doors to the courtyard and invited our guests to the table where we served traditional Moroccan dishes with some modern updates.


Verbena and Mint Cocktail
Green Olives and Almonds
Cheese-Stuffed Briouats with Fig, Date and Harissa Chutney

Lentil Soup with Celery and Dates

Smoked Eggplant Zaalouk
Roasted Peppers with Preserved Lemon and Garlic Confit
Tomato and Pepper Salad with Acacia Honey
Orange, Romaine and Walnut Salad with Cinnamon
Cucumber Salad with Oregano
Carrot Salad with Raisins, Pistachios and Herbs
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Pomegranate

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Pine Nuts
Grilled Lamb Skewers with Harissa

Almond Cake with Plum Sorbet, Cardamom Yogurt and Almonds
Coffee Ras El Hanout
Moroccan Mint Tea

Photography by Sarah Featherstone.