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Fifteen kilometres from Essaouira, the saponification workshop, the “soaps from Mogador », nestles in a little country village surrounded with argan trees whose oil, among others, is used in the manufacturing of soaps. The production is hand made and relies on quality.
Originally, our craftsmen were glass engravers. When they came to this village and faced its general poverty, they bought the oil from the women. Indeed, the oil whether olive or argan, accumulates and something has to be done about it. Then, the idea was born to make soaps out of it. They went to France to train and learn the different operations of cold pressed soap making and came back to Morocco.
The workshop adjoins the home of the workers, the space is rather small but all operations take place there, including the storing of soaps.
The whole process is about changing liquid oils into solid oils. Three main oils are used: palm oil, olive oil or argan oil; they are tested and new essentials oils, like sesame oil, are being regularly added to the manufacturing. The soaps take on then numerous tints with a golden tinge and exhale sweet perfumes.
Soap making is both simple and magic but it is still a craft requiring a know- how! It is a simple mixture of a liquid alkali like lye, which is dissolved in water, herb tea or milk and of some selected oils that are emulsified together. This process is called saponification.
The workshop does not resemble a factory, everything is done by hand and the soaps are manufactured on demand.
The saponification, the first operation in the manufacturing, is done by cold pressing which allows for the retaining of omega and vitamins: the reaction temperature will run at 45° max. A doughy but still liquid and supple batter is obtained through this operation.
In a second phase, the dough is poured into moulds and the solidification process takes place then at different paces, each oil having its own time of reaction and taking a different consistency. Amber essential oil, for example, should not solidify too quickly. No chemical or colouring agent, no synthetic detergent, no slowing down agent enters into the composition of their products. All the finished soaps have a neutral PH for the skin and are entirely made of natural products. This dough stays in the moulds for about 24 hours where the mixture cools down and solidifies.
Once turned out, the soap bars are rectangular and have a consistency close to butter. The cutting is made with a thread attached to a wooden template and the soaps assume two shapes, one classical and the other cubical. Sometimes different shapes of moulds are experimented with.
The soaps have to remain on wooden shelves for a minimum of four weeks before being wrapped up and delivered. Just like cheese, soap matures and some soaps will need a longer drying period.
New ranges of soaps are created over time with the use of apricot oil, aloe Vera, jojoba, grape seed oil, rhassoul or honey. A cream soap was recently made for hammam but no black soap as yet.
Three people are employed here: the couple of craftsmen and a young Moroccan woman who does the pretty packaging using transparent paper, brown wrapping paper or raffia paper for the finished products. A beautiful product which will then adorn the bathrooms of hotels for the customers’ greatest pleasure.
Savons de Mogador : 0671.190.457