Tejate, the pre-Hispanic corn and cacao based drink, is likely the only complex food recipe in all Mexico still enjoyed today in Oaxaca just as it was thousands of years ago. When visiting a Oaxacan marketplace and enjoying a jícara (gourd; in this case half gourd) of tejate, you’re… likely treating yourself to the same carefully crafted beverage, made with virtually the same ingredients and preparation methods as was the case 4,000 years ago.
For those who have never tried or recognized tejate in the markets, it’s the foamy beige drink (appearing somewhat like spent shaving water) ladled out of oversized green glazed clay tubs, worked and served exclusively by women standing behind a table or stand or small.
Oaxaca of course is the south central Mexico UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its colonial architecture; Dominican churches; museum and galleries; diverse indigenous cultures; and nearby ecotourism preserves, craft villages, mezcal production, as well as Zapotec and Mixtec ruins. And its gastronomic greatness is arguably unrivalled in the country.
Despite being a tourist mecca, rarely do visitors to Oaxaca, or for that matter residents, have the opportunity to witness how tejate is made, from start to finish. And yet while other similar drinks do exist, tejate is a uniquely Oaxacan beverage deserving of widespread acclaim given both its unique and agreeable taste, and its history. Before taking you to the homestead of a family of indigenous women who make tejate, let’s briefly review some of the evidence in support of the drink’s past, and distinct qualities.
Tejate’s pre-Hispanic Origins Supported by a Preponderance of Evidence
All of the key ingredients in tejate are native to Mexico, and in fact to the state of Oaxaca except for one, cacao from the state of Chiapas (some cacao is now imported from Tabasco). This fact immediately distinguishes the drink from other noteworthy prepared Oaxacan foods, such as some of its moles. Many mole ingredients were first brought to Mexico by the Spanish. Thus we cannot trace, for example, the highly complex mole negro with its 30 – 35 ingredients, to pre-Hispanic times. By contrast, tejate today is likely the exact same beverage which was ceremoniously drank by the Aztecs in the 1400s, and for thousands of years before them by the Zapotecs who were, and continue to be the predominate ethnic group in the central valleys of Oaxaca and further beyond.
The tools of the trade and means of production employed in 2012 AD are on balance the same as those used in 1012 BC; rock, fire and clay. Admittedly not all of the metates used today are the large smooth river rock grinding stones utilized generations ago, and commercial manufacture of tejate often includes taking some of the ingredients to a local molino for milling. But witnessing the labor intensive transformation of raw material into tejate conjures clear images of ancestral production.
The Spanish arrived in Oaxaca in 1521. Their first contact was with the Aztecs. Early European writings based on interaction with the indigenous group document the use of corn and cacao and some of the other ingredients used today, as well as the process of making the drink frothy. They also confirm that the drink was reserved for the upper classes, likely royalty. We also know that the Aztecs traded jícaras, a traditional drinking receptacle, and cacao.
But that only takes us as far back as the most recent pre-Hispanic era. Other evidence confirms that up to 4,000 years ago there were trade routes between Oaxaca and the coastal regions further south, such as Chiapas, where cacao has grown since time immemorial.
Physical evidence includes residue found in clay pots dating up to 2,500 years ago and containing a compound found only in cacao, suggesting that cacao was then being cooked by Zapotec residents of Oaxaca.
Perhaps the most compelling evidence is contained on a vase dating to about 1,300 years ago and decorated with painted imagery. On the “Princeton Vase” one encounters what the experts presume is a prepared cacao based beverage being poured from high into a vessel below, the aeration creating the foam. The dress and composure of the individuals depicted suggest the drink was ceremoniously imbibed by royalty. 
Today, the same process plays out, but by native village vendors, far from royalty, yet highly respected for their culinary craft by those in the know.
Gloria Cruz Begins Preparing Tejate Early Sunday Morning in San Marcos Tlapazola, Tlacolula
Gloria Cruz holds a jicára high above her head, deliberately allowing its liquid to fall, but in a controlled fashion back into the giant green glazed ceramic tub from which it was taken. She continuously repeats the process, each time attentively checking the progress of the froth as it builds with each subsequent pour.
It’s 10 a.m., Sunday morning at the Tlacolula market. Gloria has just finished setting up her stand and unpacking several kilos of beige masa which she has brought from her family compound in nearby San Marcos Tlapazola. San Marcos is a traditional Zapotec village with about 2,500 residents, known mainly for not tejate, but rather its handcrafted red clay pottery.
Mixing water into the masa, then ceremoniously creating the frothy topping, is the final step in preparing tejate for sale to passersby – residents of Oaxaca and nearby towns and villages who have come to Tlacolula to shop, other market vendors, and the odd tourist who is familiar with the beverage’s nutritional properties, richness and nutty (almost mocha-chino) flavor.
Gloria awoke at 3 a.m. as she does most Sundays to begin making her day’s quantity of masa to turn into tejate. When she has time for some pre-preparation the night before, she sleeps in until 4.
Gloria had purchased all the ingredients she would need, in the same market the week before; except for corn usually on hand from her own harvest. Aside from occasionally buying maize, she purchases red cacao (already fermented and toasted), seeds of the mamey fruit, lime mineral, pecans or peanuts (depending on the season) and Quararibea funebris (the flower of an aromatic bush, often referred to as funeral tree flowers, or rosita de cacao though not related to cacao). Ash from cooking tortillas or baking pottery is always available.
Gloria places ¼ kg of rositas, 6 mamey seeds and ¼ kg of cacao on a comal. She roasts these ingredients on top of a flame, using dried agave leaves as fuel. She does the same with 1/8th kg of raw peanuts. The toasted peanuts and the first mixture (pixle) are kept separate, each in its own clay bowl.
Using a clay colander, Gloria then washes 4 kg of raw corn kernels, making sure to pick out any small stones. She puts spring water into a large clay cauldron sitting on top of the flame, rejuvenating it with the addition of more dried agave leaves. She adds a small amount of powdered lime. She then strains 3 kg of ash, places it in the pot, then adds the corn. More agave leaves added to the flame helps to bring back the boil. Regular stirring prevents sticking.
By now Gloria’s sister-in-law María has awoken. From this point onward she will help will the further preparation of the masa, and with breakfast.
At about 5 a.m. it’s time for hot chocolate and sweet rolls, while the corn continues to cook. After about 40 minutes the flame has died out. The boiled corn is once again strained, this time to cool it and to remove excess ash. Gloria’s recipe calls for only a little sweetness, which ash provides. The two women clean every pot and utensil immediately after use.
It’s still dark out. María and Gloria walk seven blocks to the mill, over a muddy potholed road, corn and pixle in hand. After knocking on the door of the molino then waiting a few minutes, a woman appears, welcomes them in, and turns on the light. She washes down the machinery, then weighs their two containers. She then mills the pixle into a masa, María and Gloria assisting with each step. The smell of cacao fills the molino, then the maple-y aroma of the rosita overtakes all, that same scent one occasionally encounters when driving along secondary highways and dirt roads in rural Oaxaca. Next the corn. The miller knows exactly how much water to add to the corn as it goes through the apparatus in order to provide the white masa with optimum consistency.
It’s 5:50 a.m., and the walk back to the homestead is no different than it was arriving; it’s still dark. But by now one hears the sounds of roosters.
The masa blanca must cool before further processing. María alternates between preparing breakfast and polishing a clay figure to ready for the brick kiln. Gloria pours mezcal. It’s still cold out, and the masa is not yet ready for mixing on the metate with the rest of the ingredients. Mezcal warms, but more importantly is customary, at least in this household.
Gloria gingerly pours water over four metates, then thoroughly scrubs each. The water is then used to irrigate nearby saplings and plants. She then grinds the peanuts, setting this third mixture aside. A little corn is ground and mixed in with it, just to ensure all the peanut has been removed. Nothing is wasted. The pixle masa is ground, this time on the metate; and then once again a bit of corn is used to ensure all the pixle has been recovered.
Everything has its order; tradition which has been repeated for generations. Before the age of the electric molino, the metate was used exclusively. Even today, smaller batches for household consumption of tejate are ground entirely on the metate.
Gloria and María both work at thoroughly blending the corn masa with the pixle and peanut mixtures. It takes 1 ½ hours. The metates are again scoured. But this excess water has nutrients from the corn and other ingredients. It’s saved in pails and fed to the donkey and chickens.
While the women were grinding on the metates, Mariá’s daughter Lucina had awoken, dressed, showered and gone into the kitchen to finish making breakfast. It’s 7:40 a.m., time to sit down to a fuller meal than earlier in the morning; sopa de guias, tortillas and salsa, all prepared fresh along with coffee, and another ritual mezcal.
The now beige masa must be tested before leaving for the market to ensure sufficient cacao has been used to guarantee a healthy froth, the sign of a successful tejate. Gloria mixes up a sample; a subtle smile of satisfaction emerges.
Gloria, María and Lucina walk along that same muddy road, now in the light of day, and await the arrival of a colectivo to take them to the Tlacolula market with their masa. They also have clay decorative figures and utilitarian vessels they’ve made throughout the week, to offer for sale.
The women arrive at the market at 9:30 a.m. They walk to their designated section of street, greet their fellow vendors from San Marcos Tlapazola and other nearby villages, and then walk to an indoor storage area. They carry back their tables, bottles of purified water, green glazed clay mixing vessels, tarpaulins, unsold red clay pottery from last Sunday, and everything else they need to begin preparing for sale.
By 10 a.m. Gloria and Lucina have erected the tarps. Lucina and María are now arranging their pottery while Gloria attends to the finishing touches of preparing her tejate. While neither Zapotec royalty nor an Aztec queen, Gloria, smartly clad in her own colorful hand-embroidered traditional San Marcos Tlapazola garb, ceremoniously pours the liquid, arm stretched out and raised above her head, just as her ancestors did.
Gloria’s customers, mainly regular clients, begin to arrive just as the froth in the large green glazed clay pot takes on its tell-tale sign of readiness. She begins to serve her tejate, its consistency, flavor and overall appearance just as it was thousands of years ago. After all, the tools, their use and the ingredients have remained the same over millennia, long before the word Oaxaca had ever been spoken.
Alvin Starkman and his wife Arlene operate Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast (http://www.oaxacadream.com). Alvin has written over 270 articles about life and cultural traditions in and around Oaxaca. Alvin frequently takes visitors to Oaxaca to experience many of the non-traditional the sights in the central valleys, including into rural marketplaces to sample pulque, mezcal, and of course tejate. Alvin is a paid contributing writer for Mexico Today, a program for Marca País – Imagen de México.
 Part of the foregoing is a summary of the compilation of evidence contained in Tejate: Theobroma Cacao and T. Bicolor in a Traditional Beverage from Oaxaca, Mexico, by Daniela Soleri and David A. Cleveland.
Our room was named "Maracuyá". Each of the guestrooms at Casa Las Tortugas hotel bore the name of a tropical fruit instead of traditional numbers. Beds with charming mosquito nets, island artwork on the walls, and a peek into a bathroom with talavera tiles greeted us as my husband and I first… stepped through the door. When we opened the door to our garden view balcony and lied down in our traditional Yucatan hammock, I knew we had made it to paradise.
Getting to the island of Holbox was easy. Many of the local hotels offer their own transportation from Cancun while some visitors make the journey via rental car. Jorge and I opted to take the bus from downtown Cancun, which took us three hours through small villages and beautiful jungle scenery to the town of Chiquilá on the northern coast of the state of Quintana Roo. With ferries leaving Chiquilá every hour during the day, we were quickly off the bus, on board the boat and making our way to Holbox island. A golf cart taxi drove us across the small island to our hotel, and by noon we had already settled in and unpacked our swimsuits.
Our first order of business? Lunch! A quick stroll around the small, friendly town of Holbox led us to a beachfront restaurant and bar where we stuffed our faces with coconut fish and tacos while looking out over an amazing view of the quiet beach and turquoise ocean. With our bellies full and our hearts happy, Jorge and I returned to Casa Las Tortugas hotel for an afternoon at their beach club. Loungers, palapas and bean bag chairs covered the beach, but we made ourselves comfortable in bright yellow hammocks set under the shade of several palm trees. Hours passed as we napped, ordered drinks and occasionally ventured into the cool waters. Some local island kids were playing nearby, running fully clothed in and out of the water in an improvised game of tag.
Around 7 pm, travelers from all over the world began to show up all along the beach to see the island's famed sunset. Couples were sitting in the sand snapping photos while families walked out to the end of the docks to get the best view. Half an hour went by as we viewed the bright orange sun go down over the ocean horizon.
Once dinnertime rolled around, I had firmly decided that I wanted to try Holbox’s famous lobster pizza. Jorge was more interested in a laid-back bar vibe. We went back into town and explored the sandy streets before deciding on a casual but busy restaurant at the back of the main square. The lobster pizza did not disappoint, and we stayed at the restaurant talking for quite awhile before returning to Casa Las Tortugas for some chocolate dessert at their beachfront restaurant, Mandarina. To pass the time after our evening out, we headed up to our Maracuyá room and once again settled into our cozy balcony hammock. I listened to the ocean breeze flow through the palm trees and felt immense peace as we talked about returning to the island for a longer vacation.
Always up for a party, Jorge suggested we walk down the beach to Cariocas, a tiny bar on the sand with swing-seats and any drink you could want. Soon a group of boisterous European tourists sidled up to the bar while a few locals arrived and made themselves comfortable in a few chairs just by the bar. The night went by in a blur of laughter and dancing at that little bar on the beach, and I didn't even know what time it was when we stumbled back to our room and gave in to sleep under the mosquito net.
I woke up starving and changed into my favorite coral-colored swimsuit cover-up before we went downstairs to breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. We feasted on homemade jams and huevos rancheros, the perfect way to start our second day on Holbox island.
Our golf cart cab was scheduled to pick us up at noon to catch the ferry and the last scheduled bus back to Cancun, so Jorge and I spent the remainder of our morning cooling off in the pool and seeking out our favorite beach club hammocks for ultimate relaxation once again. Before our trip, I had been worried that just 24 hours in Holbox wouldn't satisfy my travel cravings. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one night was just enough to immerse myself in true rest and peace of mind to return home calm and serene.
As a young boy, Isaac Hernandez developed a passion for ballet. However, Mexico is a country dominated by soccer and boxing and at the time, ballet was not a main stream activity, so at age 12, Hernandez left home and moved to Philadelphia to study ballet at the Rock School for Dance… Education.
Today, Isaac Hernandez is an internationally acclaimed dancer performing in locations from Moscow to Mississippi and was chosen for many crucial roles beginning with a breakout performance in a Tchaiskovsky ballet, where he danced with the lead prima ballerina, Tina LeBlanc, for the San Francisco Ballet. Most recently, he joined the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam as a soloist, yet despite this success, he has only performed in Mexico once.
Hernandez returned to dance in his native country last November, appearing at the Bellas Artes theater in a program he called "A Moment to Dream," referring to his desire to bring ballet to Mexico. Last week he was back, this time organizing a gala performance called "Awakenings" at Mexico's much larger National Auditorium.
Mexico has produced numerous prima ballerinas, yet much of the country is unaware of these talented dancers. Hernandez is determined to highlight this art form and revolutionize ballet in Mexico. He has recently spent a significant amount of time in Mexico leading ballet workshops for students at art schools and universities around the country. He wants to act as a role model for young students with a passion for ballet. In a recent interview with the Huffington post Hernandez commented,
"That's the way we have to do it, little by little. It's not going to change from today to tomorrow," Hernandez said. "Mexico and the world are full of problems more important than the loss of culture. But that's what makes us so crazy, to lose the small things that at the end of the day make us more human, that thing called art."
Congratulations to Sergio "Checo" Perez for his stunning second place finish in the Italian Grand Prix. The podium finish helped the young Mexican driver cement his place in the top ten drivers in the Championship.
Mexico Today Ambassador and acclaimed Mexican sailor, Galia Moss, recently inaugurated a new sailboat in France in time for her next solo trip -- which will also be the most challenging to date. Here she talks about her love for Mexico, nature and sailing.
Ricardo Triviño participated in the the WRC Rally in Trier, Germany. Mexico Today had exclusive access to Ricardo's race car and got… to check out his driving skills and the track in first person. Watch the video for more!
Molotov, one of Mexico's biggest rock bands, talks to Mexico Today as they tour through Germany and Europe. The band describes how they… enjoy being able to connect with their Mexican fans abroad and European fans alike. In this exclusive interview, they discuss Mexico as a growing source for art, culture, film, and music and how it has turned into an epicenter for the entertainment industry in Latin America.
Chuck Hughes, celebrity chef from Montreal, took a tour of Mexico to film his new eight-part TV series, Chuck’s Week Off. Through the show, he experienced many aspects of Mexican culture and found himself loving Mexico City, in particular, the French-influenced Condesa district. In describing Mexico City, he… says, “It’s probably cooler than New York, it’s probably cooler than Paris, it’s probably cooler than London. It’s just a lot of creative young people.” Hughes traveled out of the city to the rural areas of Mexico, where he experienced lassoing, hiking, and diving. “I’d love to raise my kids in Mexico City. I love the whole country, it was amazing, but Mexico City in particular was really eye opening to me.”
Hughes felt at home in Mexico due not only to the hospitality of the countrymen, but also because the staples of traditional Mexican cuisine reminded him of those of Canadian cuisine. "Being from Quebec, my whole life I grew up on pork, corn, potatoes, and when I look at Mexico it's the same kind of deal,” he explained. One thing he found very different however was the hot habanera pepper!
While shooting in Mexico, Hughes grew fond of certain Mexican foods, including tongue tacos and real cane sugar Coca Cola, which he had for breakfast. Later in the day, he devoured traditional street food made of cut mangoes, cucumber, and coconut seasoned with salt, chili flakes, and juice.
Of course, he dedicated a large portion of his time to learning traditional Mexican cooking techniques, where the technology was often less than what he had grown accustomed to in his well-known restaurants, Garde Manger and Le Bremner, both popular spots in Montreal.
The trip proved to be an experience to remember, and he has a new appreciation for the traditions of Mexican cuisine and cooking methods. “I think that’s probably what I take back the most from my whole experience,” he explained “Not necessarily any specific recipe but more of a philosophy and a way of treating the ingredients, looking at ingredients and respecting the food.”
The recent discovery of a jaguar statue at an archaeological site in Chiapas represents a new example of Mexico’s cultural history. Carved out of stone, the jaguar is only engraved on one of its sides, his paws flexed as if he were lying down. Considering the stone’s other blank faces, it was seemingly… left incomplete.
The stone jungle cat dates back 2,000 years, when there were no metal tools to make sculptures. The jaguar was uncovered in the 2,500-year-old pre-Mayan civic religious center, Izapa. This southern stretch of Mexico is merely a few kilometers from the Guatemalan border.
Stretching 1.38 meters long by 87 centimeters high and 52 centimeters wide, the jaguar weighs one ton. According to Emiliano Gallaga, Chiapas director of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), the sculpture adds to the heritage of Izapa, and reinforces how important jaguars were in the ritual thinking of the Mesoamerican cultures.
For as long as the town and municipality has stood, Malinalco has been considered a magical place. Much of its association with sorcery stems from the legend that it was the home to the goddess Malinalxochitl. According to mythology, the god Huitzilopochtli left his sister Malinalxochitl sleeping in… the middle of a forest after finding her practicing evil witchcraft. Upon awakening alone, a furious Malinalxochitl gathered those loyal to her and decided to establish a new city, which grew to be Malinalco.
The area has many influences, including from the Teotihuacan, Toltecs, Matlatzincas and Aztecs. One of the city’s major attractions is the Cuauhtinchan Archeological Zone, rising above the town, built from the mid-1400s to the beginning of the 1500s. An important Aztec site, the site was also used as a ceremonial center.
The former Divino Salvador Convent, which was built by the Augustinians in the mid-1500s, has a medieval exterior with a breathtaking interior. Painted murals dance across the walls, many by the indigenous Tiacuilos. While breathing in the paintings’ beauty, visitors can appreciate the depiction of paradise here. An exuberant garden grows around the tree of life, with delectable flora and curious fauna, and another painting tells the story of the Garden of Eden in an Aztec codex style.
Each culture from Malinalco’s diverse past has melted together to create a vibrant city. Malinalco is alive with color. The adobe houses have red tile roofs, some painted a variety of bright colors, creating a rainbow-effect. Street markets provide local arts and crafts for purchase, as well as a wide variety of food.
While Malinalco may not be filled with the sorcery legends describe, it certainly is sparkling with a certain magic. As you stroll down the cobbled streets and past the neighborhood chapels, the depth of the pre-Hispanic and colonial past becomes clear, and history truly comes to life.
The Pueblos Magicos program identifies towns that reflect “the culture of Mexico” through attributes like architecture, traditions, customs, music, gastronomy, festivities and handcrafts. There are currently 52 destinations throughout Mexico that have earned the Pueblos Magicos classification.
On August 17-19, a slice of Mexico was delivered to London. MexFest featured a sample of the most exciting things happening in the art culture… of Mexico. Featured at the London festival was a film festival, Mexican art, traditional food, stunning photography and a variety of music, including a global DJ. Come join the party, and experience Mexico!
The tacos of San Felipe, a town on the coast of Baja California in Mexico, are getting global recognition. Earlier this month, the Daily Beast published the Newsweek article “Top Chefs Choose 101 Best Places to Eat Around the World.” Renowned chefs participated in this global survey in… order to compile a list of must-eats. Representing Mexico are the delicious tacos – specifically from taco trucks – located downtown San Felipe. The article recommends trying the carnitas and al carbon tacos, but the true specialty of San Felipe is its fish tacos.
San Felipe is a charming fishing village and is a popular vacation spot for those looking to relax. The world famous fish tacos are made with freshly caught fish, and are seemingly around every corner. Some consider this town to actually be the birthplace of fish tacos.
The fish is either grilled or fried, and sometimes there are other seafood options such as shrimp tacos available. Small bowls of homemade condiments are provided at each taco truck to cater to individual taste. There are red and green chili salsas, chopped vegetables, limes, onions, and mayonnaise-types sauces, along with a variety of red pepper sauces for additional spice.
Fish tacos have become rather beloved outside of the Baja area, having made their way into many restaurants on the U.S. West Coast. While their popularity has spread, there is yet to be found a fish taco as delicious as the original, located in beautiful San Felipe.
Mexico City hosted the first Mesamérica gastronomy summit to promote Mexican gastronomy's legacy, cultural richness, and diversity to the world.
As Puerto Vallarta heads into the dog days of summer, the last place most want to be is in the heat of a kitchen. The opposite is true, however, for chef Miriam Flores of Puerto Vallarta. One of the city's hottest new restauranteurs, Flores has been selling out twice-weekly cooking classes at her… latest venue, La Luna. She's also working on a line of private-label salsas to be sold in food stores across the US.
Flores, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Arts Program at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, has been making a name for herself in Puerto Vallarta since accepting the executive chef position at sea-side restaurant Época, where she focused on bringing a modern flair to traditional Mexican flavors.
It was at Época where Flores hired sous chef Veronica Colin, a recent graduate from la Escuela Culinaria Internacional in Guadalajara, who would soon become a partner in the transformation of an old hotel that Colin's family owned into a state of the art venue for cooking classes and events. Flores completed her vision in the fall of 2011 and named La Luna, which now consists of a quaint bar, a deli, and a show-kitchen designed to seat fourteen people for cooking demonstrations. I had the chance to catch one of the last classes of the season, which happened to feature guest chef Joe Jack of one of Vallarta's most popular restaurants, Joe Jack's Fish Shack.
The class began with a hands-on baking demonstration in a traditional Mexican bakery (also owned by the Colin family) that sits aside La Luna, where we learned how to make organic dough out of the most basic of ingredients. We then shaped and topped the dough with herbs, olive oil, and garlic and placed our creations in a massive brick oven. While our bread baked, we moseyed on over to the bar at La Luna where Joe Jack taught us how to make his famous Mojitos.
Back in the kitchen, a gorgeous open-air courtyard, Flores and Joe Jack took turns walking us through the creation of some of their favorite signature dishes including Shrimp Aguachile, Miso Marinated Cod, Traditional Fish Ceviche, and a Whole Red Snapper wrapped in Banana leaves.
Both chefs were entertaining and insightful, clearly demonstrating a mastery of their craft. Both were extremely generous as well, giving each attendee a booklet with the recipes from the demonstration as well as a muddling baton from Joe Jack's, which we used to "bruise" the mint leaves while making our Mojitos. Not included in the booklets were several tricks of the trade like Flores's advice of using a spoon to portion out the meat of a fish cooked whole as the bluntness of the spoon stops when it contacts the fish's bones where as a knife will go all the way through, leaving bones in the meat.
Flores usually runs her cooking demonstrations alone with the assistance of Veronica Colin; however, teaming up with chef Joe Jack was not the first time she's partnered with a local celebrity chef. A few weeks earlier, Flores spent some time filming a video interview series with Vallarta's most famous chef Thierry Blouet, who owns several award-winning restaurants in the Bay of Banderas area. Although Flores isn't yet sure what will become of the footage, the material will ultimately end up on a blog she plans on starting in the near future, which will include interviews, instructional videos, recipes, and more.
When asked about the objective of her recent efforts, Flores commented: "My goal is showcase the amazing chefs and the buzzing culinary scene in Puerto Vallarta. We Mexicans are blessed to have such a fertile country that produces such incredible ingredients, and Puerto Vallarta has really become a hotbed in terms of talented chefs bringing these flavors to life."
Like any good businessperson, however, Flores's goals are not entirely benevolent. She's got her sights set on a few national super-market chains in the US for distribution of her line of signature salsas and sauces called Flores Gourmet. The salsas have already been selling well in Ireland, of all places, since she started the brand in 2006 while living abroad in County Cork. In fact, Flores Gourmet won the Bridgestone Award for Best Gourmet Product of Ireland in 2007. When asked about the success of the salsas, Flores commented, "Well they're all made from organic Mexican ingredients, so it's no surprise people from around the world enjoy them. Mexico has been producing incredible fruits and produce since the beginning of time! It's my privilege as a chef to come up with creative ways to combine them for everyone to enjoy."
It's not easy to succeed in a crowded space and Puerto Vallarta definitely has its fair share of delicious restaurants. In fact, Puerto Vallarta has the highest concentration of signature chefs in all of Mexico. But like a spicy chili explodes in your mouth, Chef Flores has erupted on Puerto Vallarta's culinary scene - and as Flores Gourmet works its way through the FDA's system of approval, it looks like this success story is headin' for the border.
Every year, the Guadalupe Valley hosts the Vendimia (wine harvest) Festival lasting 17 days. The festival, which is expected to draw in over 50,000 people, has a wide variety of attractions including wine-inspired street fairs and concerts, culinary parties, and vineyard tours. …
The Guadalupe Valley produces 90% of the wine in Mexico, and the vintners range from producing 200 bottles of wine a year to over one million bottles of wine. Guadalupe Valley is home to over 20 official wineries. This past year, Camillo Magoni brought recognition and positive acknowledgement to the blossoming area after being selected as the top wine maker in the world.
The Guadalupe Valley boasts many new hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns making it an attractive destination for any international tourist! The area is filled with attractions ranging from museums to nature spots including hot springs and waterfalls. The Guadalupe Valley, a mecca for cuisine, offers restaurants serving anywhere from traditional Mexican food to French food.