The charm of Veracruz and its gastronomy

By: Paola Peñafiel

Periodista de Concha y Toro en México

access_time 2019 · 01 · 23

This Mexican region is located on the Atlantic coast, famous for its history, its culture and without a doubt, for its cuisine. Here, the fusion of indigenous ingredients with Spanish flavors, have created some of the most typical Mexican dishes.

Veracruz is a city located in the Gulf of Mexico, with the municipality and state having the same name. It’s famous for being founded by Hernan Cortes exactly 500 years ago and being the region from where the Spaniards began the conquest of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Mexicas at that time.

Puerto de Veracruz – CC Eduardo Pavon
Port of Veracruz – CC Eduardo Pavon

The city, and the entire state, surprises all those who visit it for its rich history, its colonial constructions, its traditions and its culture. It’s easy to see the Spanish and Mediterranean indisputable influence, since its port was the main contact between the European country and Mexico for more than 4 centuries. As if this were not enough, its beaches and the natural environment fascinate national and international tourists throughout the year.

In addition to its history, its culture and its landscapes, this beautiful part of ​​Mexico stands out for its gastronomy. One fact worth noting is that, if Mexican food is internationally recognized, Veracruz cuisine is one of the most popular within the country, in fact, in 2009 it was declared a Cultural Heritage of the State of Veracruz.

The impressive culinary tradition of this region is the result of the fusion of pre-Hispanic ingredients with the flavors brought by the Spaniards since their arrival. Today, the creations that have emerged from this fusion offer us amazing dishes to delight even the most demanding palate, where one of its main ingredients are sea products. Shrimp, crabs, oysters, octopus, snails and different types of fish are used to prepare broths, soups and stews with incredible aroma and flavor. And of course, don’t skip the chili.

Pescado a la Veracruzana
Fish a la Veracruzana – ©Paola Peñafiel

Let’s start this culinary tour with the most important and well-known dish in the area, Fish a la Veracruzana. Currently this recipe is prepared throughout Mexico and is especially popular at the end of the year, during the holiday season. First, fry the fish in butter, either red snapper or cod, then cover it with a sauce made with tomatoes, red pepper, olives and capers and seasoned with different spices. It is served with white rice or a mixed salad. To accompany this dish an excellent option is Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay, a complex and elegant wine, with mineral and toasted hazelnuts notes that goes very well with the fish coated in butter and sauce.

Another very typical recipe are las picadas that can be considered a main course or entree. It’s a corn tortilla thicker than normal with curved edges, and on the tortilla, you add red or green chili sauce, meat, sour cream and cheese. For this exquisite dish, which is easy to prepare, we recommend Trio Merlot, a blend of this variety, Carmenere and Shiraz, with a great structure and soft tannins.

Picadas
Picadas – ©Paola Peñafiel

Rice a la tumbada is another of the important dishes of Veracruz that we cannot forget to highlight. It is prepared with shrimp, octopus and whole crab, along with rice, onions, garlic, chipotle chili and condiments. It is a kind of stew cooked directly over fire in a clay pot; the same one that is taken to the table. When the rice is ready must be quickly served to prevent it from drying out. A complex dish of great flavor that will go very well with Diablo, the new member of the Casillero del Diablo family, a blend of noble red grapes, silky and balanced.

Oysters a la diabla is a recipe similar to “la parmesana” of Chile, but the Mexican version, in addition to shredded cheese on its shell, it is marinated with a mixture of pepper, chipotle chili sauce, bacon and a seasoning sauce. A good companion for the oysters will be Gran Serie Riberas Sauvignon Blanc, a fresh and intense white wine, with citrus notes of lime and grapefruit.

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