The charm of Oaxaca and its age-old gastronomy

By: Paola Peñafiel

Periodista de Concha y Toro en México

access_time 2020 · 03 · 10

It is one of the most visited Mexican states by tourists from all over the world. Its charm is due to its longstanding legacy of pre-Hispanic cultures, its landscapes, its crafts and of course, its flavors. We invite you to discover Oaxaca and its incredible gastronomy.

One staple food that is a must-try when you are visiting Mexico -not including chilies and corn- is a very tasty mozzarella-like string cheese that melts incredibly. It’s “Oaxaca cheese” and is used in quesadillas, tacos and endless traditional dishes. It is very easy to fall in love with this cheese and leaves you wondering about where it comes from. Of course, afterwards, you are surprised with everything that Oaxaca has to offer.

This state is located southeast of Mexican territory and is where the first human cultures have left evidence of their presence, dating back to 11,500 years ago. In its valleys are archaeological sites from important pre-Hispanic civilizations, including two of the oldest in Mesoamerica: the Zapotec and the Mixteca. This historical and cultural legacy mixed with the traditions of the Spanish conquerors has given rise to the charm of Oaxaca. A region of temperate climate that offers unique landscapes, beautiful beaches, magical towns, impressive pre-Hispanic ruins, talented artisans, colorful festivals and a vast gastronomy.

The capital of this state has the same name and mixes the past with the present in a wonderful way. The historical value and the excellent conservation and beauty of its historic center have been recognized by UNESCO, which declared it a World Heritage Site in 1987. In addition, you cannot miss the main square, the cathedral, the museums and the traditional markets.

Whatever route you choose to tour around the state of Oaxaca, you will certainly not regret it. You’ll discover extraordinary places where you can also enjoy some of the most amazing dishes of Mexico.

Its gastronomy has a great pre-Hispanic influence; It is undoubtedly a cultural manifestation that has been maintained over centuries. A fusion of flavors, colors and aromas that offers a variety of typical dishes.

One of the most famous dishes of Oaxaca is the seven moles, which consists of different colors and flavors. We have previously talked about this traditional Mexican sauce that is prepared with more than 30 ingredients, including chili, onion, garlic, tomato, banana, sugar, sesame, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, raisins, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, anise, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and chocolate.

moles
Ph: Food and Travel México

The Tlayudas or clayudas are absolutely exquisite and you can find them in every corner of Oaxaca. It involves a giant corn tortilla of 30 centimeters in diameter cooked in a griddle. You can put different ingredients on top, but it’s usually served with black bean paste, a type of meat such as beef, chicken, jerky or chorizo, and finally, Oaxaca cheese, onion, tomato, avocado and fresh lettuce.

tlayuda
Ph: Wttw

Another typical dish of Oaxaca – and one that surely will not be very appetizing for Chileans – are the exotic chapulines. It is a type of small grasshopper which is cooked over a fire on a comal or a griddle, and seasoned with lemon and salt. Its texture is crispy, and I guess Mexico has rubbed off on me because I really find them to be very tasty. One way to try them is in a taco, inside a corn tortilla, with avocado, onion, chili and lemon. Along the same line are the famous chicatanas ants, but we will talk about them in another occasion.

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Among other typical dishes are Oaxacan sausages, tamales, chilies stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, pozole mixteco and tasajo (seasoned meat). Its variety and culinary richness are truly amazing, and what better to accompany these complex and unique dishes than an extraordinary wine.

The 2018 harvest of Casillero del Diablo has been cataloged by the experts as an “extraordinary vintage“. That year, the climatic conditions were considered perfect for producing red grapes of the best quality, achieving exceptional wines. For the complexity and sweetness of the mole we recommend Casillero del Diablo 2018 Merlot, an elegant wine with soft tannins and fruity aromas with a touch of chocolate. To accompany the tlayudas we also recommend the same wine and harvest, but in its Syrah or Merlot variety. For the Chapulines we suggest the Pinot Noir variety and for the chilies stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, a Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Header: EF Go Ahead Tours

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