Much of the Mexican food one eats outside the country is a mixture of the many dishes that make up this rich culinary landscape. More often than not, it’s not even close replica of what you’ll find in Mexico.
With influences from the ancient civilizations including the Maya and Aztecs as well as the Spanish who brought the recipes and blended them with the exotic ingredients – tomatoes, avocados and cacao. Believe it or not, Mexico gastronomy has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage due to the preservation of the recipes and diversity of cooking techniques.
There are many ways to experience the gastronomy of Mexico. Just head out onto the streets of any town or city and you’ll find plenty of great food to explore. Here are six amazing food and drink experiences that shouldn’t be missed.
Taste tequila in tequila
Tequila has become phenomenally popular over the last few years, but nearly all the distillation of this spirit comes from the town of Tequila and the surrounding Jalisco state. The agricultural land that grows the agave plant that is used to create the drink is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The easiest way to see the region is by taking the Tequila Express, a train that runs passengers through the countryside (complete with mariachi bands). Of course, in Tequila you can visit some of the world’s best known Tequila brands to sample the drink and learn about its production.
Coffee tasting in Chiapas
When most think of coffee Mexico is not usual a country which is associated with the drink. But Mexico has a rich coffee growing heritage which can be seen in the state of Chiapas. After leaving the town of San Cristóbal de las Casas the lush green surrounding countryside has many local family run coffee plantations to explore. Mexican coffee tends to be medium body and milder than its counterparts. Learn about the production from harvest to cup and sample a few really good brews.
Street food in Oaxaca
Although street food is food throughout the country, most agree that the finest comes from the city of Oaxaca. This is a city that is obsessed with food. Taking a tour with an expert local foodie is the best way to try the food, but if you decide to go it alone you won’t be disappointed. As well as the usual suspects – tacos and tamales (which are excellent here), a few things to look out for include tlayudas (sometimes nicknamed Oaxacan pizza), enfrijoladas and the meat barbeques. Oaxaca is known as the land of the seven moles.
Eat the sacred Cacao
Mexico has a rich history of cacao production which goes as far back as 1900 BC. It was originally served as a hot bitter drink mixed with spices and corn puree. Sugar wasn’t added until the Europeans arrived in the 16th century. Around Tabasco there are many small cacao farms settled deep in the forest area. Here you can learn about the chocolate making process. After the green grains are fermented they are washed, toasted and the shell removed before being ground slowly into a smooth paste. This is then mixed with other ingredients like sugar before being molded. As well as trying your hand at making chocolate there will be plenty of samples to try.
Many don’t know that Mexico produces wine. Although it isn’t considered as a top producing nation, the country still produces a small amount of very drinkable wine. There are three different wine producing regions, but 90% comes from the peninsula of Baja California. Mexican wine began with the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century who brought vines from Europe. One of the most important wineries is Casa Madero founded in 1597 and has varietals including chardonnay, syrah and chenin blanc.
Eat seafood in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is located on the Western Pacific coast. It is arguably one of the best places to eat seafood in the country. Lined all the way along the beach are fish stalls selling very cheap barbequed seafood. Shrimps and fish marinated in Mexican spices and cooked over an open grill are extraordinarily delicious, and the setting looking over the Pacific Ocean is fantastic. Walk along the Playa los Muertos until you see the small concrete pier. Below this you will find three shellfish vendors, there table stacked full of oysters and clams. Incredibly fresh and served with plenty of chili sauces and lime, this is an experience not to be missed.
To start your gastronomic journey through Mexico, get in touch.