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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Ruta de La Milpa: Distinctive Mexico Metropolis Meals Tour


Milpa Alta is a rural space of Mexico Metropolis stuffed with cactus fields and plenty of home made mole! Right here I’m sharing my expertise as a dietitian studying harvest and prepare dinner nopales, making contemporary corn tortillas and tasting many several types of mole.

Nopal taco with fresh cheese and salsa on an earthen clay plate.

Milpa Alta is the southernmost borough of Mexico Metropolis. It’s rural and strikes at a a lot slower tempo. This particular place is fertile floor for studying concerning the three king crops of the nation and having fun with amazingly contemporary conventional meals. I took the Ruta de La Milpa expertise created and led by chef Jorge Córcega.

Whereas visiting, we had contemporary nopales tacos, cafe de olla, sopes with contemporary salsa, black bean tamales and mole and sipped refreshing bottomless agua de hibiscus (or Jamaica) all through the afternoon. In case you are not accustomed to any of these, I’ll clarify.

Nopal field under a clear blue sky.

La ruta de la Milpa was enjoyable and academic. And the meals was easy and scrumptious. As a dietitian I used to be particularly curious concerning the historical past and tradition – and the day answered lots of my questions and ignited new ones within the course of.

How far is Milpa Alta from town heart?

We took a 60+ minute bus experience from the Roma Norte/Juarez space to succeed in Milpa Alta on a Wednesday morning. The infamous Mexico Metropolis visitors will dictate how lengthy it would take you.

However you have to to take a car. It’s a rural space that’s not simply accessed by way of public transportation. Plus, you’ll need a automotive to really expertise the fantastic thing about the world, store the native shops and dine within the household run eating places at your individual tempo.

So right here’s a snippet of our day en Milpa Alta:

We began the day in a subject of nopal with a heat mug of cafe de olla.

Clay pot warming on a coral with cactus in the background.

What’s cafe de olla?

Cafe de Olla interprets to “espresso from a pot” in Spanish.

This conventional Mexican espresso is made in an earthen clay pot (pictured above). The espresso is barely sweetened with piloncillo (akin to a wealthy darkish brown sugar or molasses) and spiced with cinnamon. From what I perceive the pot is an important “ingredient” because it offers depth of taste. You may additionally discover recipes right now that embody different spices together with clove, star anise or orange peel.

The cup of cafe de olla I sipped on the tour was barely candy, wealthy and balanced. Positively get a cup once you go on the tour – it’s the proper begin to the day particularly when it’s a bit chilly within the nopal subject.

chef Jorge Córcega removing thorns from nopal.
Chef Córcega cleansing nopales.

Harvesting, cleansing, cooking nopales

Nopales will be eaten contemporary (uncooked) or cooked. Use them in contemporary salads, griddled for tacos or add to soup or stew and extra.

Nopales are perishable. And as soon as contemporary nopales are are picked and the thorns eliminated, they need to be eaten inside about 48 hours. Earlier than prepping them, you’ll be able to retailer them within the fridge for longer nevertheless it’s a good suggestion to attend till you’re able to prepare dinner or eat them to prep (take away the spiny needles).

Chef Cócega confirmed us take away the thorns with a pointy knife (above). He supplied however I left the prep to the chef. Largely as a result of I already had a thorn in my thumb from the harvest and didn’t need extra.

When getting ready them at house, it’s a good suggestion to make use of a secure chopping board and a thick, clear kitchen towel to carry the small finish of the cactus leaf when you use a pointy knife to scrape all the way down to take away the prickly thorns.

As soon as that half is finished, you’re able to take pleasure in them in your favourite dishes.

Cooking nopal on the comal.

These nopales had been cooked merely over the hearth on the comal (proven above) with oil. As soon as barely charred on either side, we sliced the nopales into large strips and so they had been able to eat.

The nopales had been the star ingredient in our breakfast tacos. The tacos had been made with the nopal strips, contemporary cheese, and a spicy (to me) tomato salsa on contemporary corn tortillas.

Making contemporary corn tortillas

We additionally discovered make contemporary corn tortillas, tamales and sopes from the heirloom corn grown, dried, nixtamilized and floor on the farm.

Dried red corn on the cob being scraped against a bundle of corn cobs to remove kernels.

It’s a course of. However these had been the best-tasting tortillas I’ve had in life. The colours had been all pure from the completely different heirloom corn she vegetation and harvests on the farm.

Heritage corn tortillas multicolor.

We additionally made corn and black bean tamales and so they had been the most effective ones I’ve ever had. The tamales had been steamed in corn husks. Then we wrapped them placing a finger sized gap within the heart which was later used for spooning in mole. It was a heat, barely candy and savory meal that I’d return to the farm to expertise.

Along with these experiences, we additionally visited a neighborhood mole maker. Milpa Alta is well-known for it’s plentiful home made moles. The household enterprise we visited is one among a number of within the city creating moles that many households and eating places use all through town and nation. I introduced some again that I can’t wait to take pleasure in at house.

The day closed with a beautiful lunch outdoors. We had extra contemporary nopal sope starter, hen mole with Mexican rice, and a semi-sweet corn pudding made with pinole (roasted corn powder) and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. It was a nice finish to the day all set to the tunes of Sade.

Extra concerning the tour

I’ve been on a whole lot of farm and meals excursions. Ruta de la Milpa one was an important mix of palms on experiences, and historical past plus easy, scrumptious meals.

That is an all-day tour I’d say. You’ll be again to town heart by early time for dinner (US) however you received’t have an enormous urge for food – imagine me.

The tour hosts are extremely educated and sort. I paid for this expertise myself. They don’t know I’m scripting this.

In the event you like meals, tradition and historical past, you’ll take pleasure in this expertise. Go. Be ready to get your palms just a little messy with masa. Absorb the expertise.

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