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Le Cordon Bleu News, 04/08/2014
A culinary escapade in Mexico: A cuisine with diverse culinary roots
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World Culinary Traditions

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A culinary escapade in Mexico:  A cuisine with diverse culinary roots

In 2010, traditional Mexican cuisine was added to UNESCO’s world’s intangible heritage list.  This honor demonstrates the richness, authenticity and diversity of Michoacán gastronomy.  The State of Michoacán differentiates itself from the other States through the diversity of its dishes such as ‘tortitas de charal’, ‘sopa tarasca’, ‘capirotadas’ and ‘chongos zamoranos’.

Mexican cuisine traditionally uses corn, beans and chili pepper.  To this basic trio, native ingredients such as avocado, squash, tomato, turkey, vanilla and cocoa are added. These ingredients form the backbone of traditional Mexican gastronomy.

At the beginning of the 16th century, Mexican cuisine underwent its first evolution with European colonization.  The Spanish conquest brought new flavors and ingredients, such as rice, wine, pork and spices.  In 1525, sugar cane was introduced to local cuisine.  At the end of the 16th century, fruit from Asia and Africa also began to be imported into Mexico.  It was at the end of the 17th century that bread, made from wheat flour, became a part of Mexican cuisine.  Marrying all these different ingredients led to the creation of dishes such as ‘pozole’, ‘mole’ and ‘tamales’.

Mexican cuisine is, therefore, extraordinary having European, Caribbean, Oriental, Asian and African influences. 

According to Unesco, “Traditional Mexican cuisine is a comprehensive cultural model comprising farming, ritual practices, age-old skills, culinary techniques and ancestral community customs and manners”.  From planting to tasting, Mexican cuisine always stands apart from other types of cuisine and the notion of community is omnipresent.

  • This individuality starts with planting and harvesting, with unique agricultural techniques such as ‘milpa’ (slash-and-burn rotating of corn fields) and ‘chinampa’ (man-made farming islets in lakeside areas).
  • The way in which dishes are prepared also differs to other countries.  For Mexicans, making traditional dishes is not simply a question of cuisine; it is an art form which is made up of culinary techniques which have been passed from generation to generation allowing them to express themselves to the full.  Alongside this art, there are a number of customs and practices.  There are also special cooking methods such as ‘nixtamalization’ (lime-hulling maize) and specific culinary utensils such as grinding stones and stone mortars.
  • The way in which the dishes are tasted is also unique.  There is a very strong notion of community and strengthening social ties.  Whether eating in a restaurant, at a market or from a street vendor, the atmosphere is always relaxed. 

Dishes also have important symbolic significance.  ‘Tortillas’ and ‘tamales’ are eaten on a daily basis but are also part of the Day of the Dead offerings.

Mexican gastronomy has a rich cultural heritage which helps to strengthen social ties and consolidate both national and regional identity.  Today, local communities, and notably the State of Michoacán, are making an exerted effort to preserve this ancestral heritage by developing authorities which are specialized in traditional culture and cuisine.

Testimonial


Javier Leuchter - Marketing, Communication and Sales manager (Le Cordon Bleu Mexico)

"Could you give me some traditional Mexican meals for special events?
A special meal for any event is the ‘Mole Poblano’ with red rice. The ‘Enchiladas’ is typical for breakfast and the ‘Pozole’ is the most traditional dish for dinner. Read more

 

Testimonial

 

Could you give me some traditional Mexican meals for special events?
A special meal for any event is the ‘Mole Poblano’ with red rice. The ‘Enchiladas’ is typical for breakfast and the ‘Pozole’ is the most traditional dish for dinner.

  • In January, we eat ‘Rosca de Reyes’ to celebrate Epiphany;
  • In February, ‘Tamales’ are eaten at Candelaria;
  • September is our national month, we celebrate it eating ‘Chiles en Nogada’ and ‘Pozole’;
  • In November, we celebrate the traditional Day of the Dead. On this special day, we eat ‘Pan de Muerto’, chocolate and ‘camote’;
  • In December, we enjoy ‘Romeritos' that is an Oaxaca Mole with shrimp, ‘Bacalao Vizcaina’ and ‘Rosca de Reyes’ at Christmas.

How the traditional Mexican cuisine is rooted in your culture?
In Mexico, the people are really proud of Mexican gastronomy. We enjoy a good Taco, a good chilly sauce, an excellent Mole (sauce based on chilly and other ingredients) and we like to share with our family in birthday parties, drinking a good Mezcal or Tequila or even a Sotol… Our gastronomy is in our DNA! We think that the cuisine is the way to show our feelings and emotions and demonstrates the way we live with traditions. Mexican cuisine is so diverse that not all Mexicans know 100% their cuisine since it expands from North to South and East to West. We have more than 300 kinds of moles. Abroad we will never find all our traditional dishes. Nachos, burritos, fajitas, chili con carne and chimichangas are examples of Mexican-origin food in the US or Tex-Mex. We find the real Mexican dishes in rural towns, in small restaurants where food is made by locals. It’s a real explosion of flavors and great joy.

How do you perceive traditional Mexican cuisine nowadays? Has it evolved?
You can find the traditional Mexican cuisine in a normal Mexican house, the recipes are inherited from one to another generation. Fortunately, today there are great Chefs trying to preserve the traditional side of Mexican cuisine. For me one of the best places to enjoy the traditional food with new concepts is in Oaxaca and in Mexico City.

 

 

Le cORDON bLEU mEXICO Chef Carlos SantoS Estofado de fruits mer epicé

Le Cordon Bleu Mexico

Le Cordon Bleu Mexico is the result of the synergy of two important institutions Le Cordon Bleu International and Universidad Anahuac. Since 1998, this alliance was established to offer quality Bachelor degrees, special programs and diplomas in Gastronomy, Hospitality and Management.

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Mexican Cuisine Program

At Le Cordon Bleu Mexico, Chef Carlos Santos delivers a fantastic program where traditional Mexican food is taught by region and through history. The students learn how to preserve the culture of our cuisine and to enjoy the combination of flavors.

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Spicy seafood estofado

Discover our delicious spicy seafood estofado recipe.

Made from the freshest seafood available this dish, with Mexican and Hispanic influences, is full of flavor.

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For more information

Le Cordon Bleu Paris
  Email paris@cordonbleu.edu or use the online form
  Website www.lcbparis.com
  Call +33 (0) 1 53 68 22 50
  Address 8, rue Léon Delhomme
75015 Paris

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