Zapotec Plant Food Traditions
Meet Your Guide: SUZANNE BARBEZAT
This very special experience takes you into a Zapotec home in a village outside Oaxaca City.
We’ll make our way to the village in the morning to visit their daily traditional farmer’s market. There we’ll sample some snacks, including a traditional corn-based drink. You’ll learn about and try staple plant foods of the region including many that were part of the pre-Hispanic diet. Despite modern influences and changes, in communities like this one, much has remained unchanged in the Mexico’s food landscape since pre-Colonization, because of the hard work of people like those we’ll meet.
Cooking together makes a meaning bridge between cultures. After exploring the market, we’ll visit the home of a Zapotec family that has welcomed us to share a meal with them. We’ll participate in the preparation of our meal in the ancestral way, grinding corn on the metate, making our own tortillas and cooking a traditional plant-based meal over a wood fire. Sitting down together to enjoy our meal, we’ll have a chance to learn more about their lives as weavers in this traditional community.
Transportation is included – Group will meet at 8:30am at a central point in Oaxaca City.
Price includes all snacks and a light vegetarian meal – expect to feel comfortably full at the end!
A Day of Traditions with Chef Alejandro Ruíz
Oaxaca is a land of rich traditions and amazing diversity. Today, we will have the privilege of learning about this region’s plant food traditions with a chef who has gained international acclaim for his restaurants (Casa Oaxaca – El Restaurante in Oaxaca City; Guzina Oaxaca in Mexico City), as well as for the passion with which he shares his beloved Oaxaca’s culinary traditions far and wide.
Starting off in the morning, you’ll travel from Oaxaca City with your Oaxaca City expert Suzanne Barbezat to meet up with Chef Alejandro Ruiz at a weekly market in the village near his family farm. Chef Alex will guide us in sampling seasonal produce and plant-based snacks particular to this region, including highly nutritive beverages such as tejate, tejate or pulque.
We’ll use this opportunity to select some of the ingredients for our meal, seeking out those most unique to this particular region.
While in town, we’ll take a walk around the village to get to know a bit about the local traditions of the community where Chef Alejandro grew up.
After exploring the village and market, we will head to Portozuelo, the farm of Casa Oaxaca. In the outdoor kitchen with expansive views of rural Oaxaca we will prepare a plant-based meal using all traditional techniques and ingredients.
Under the guidance of Chef Alejandro and woman of his village we’ll roast ingredients for salsas and make tortillas over the wood-fired stoves and clay comales. We’ll grind ingredients together in a molcajete to produce a regional salsa and work with the ingredients that we found in the market. Those who want to get their hands dirty can explore the farm that supplies Casa Oaxaca restaurants and harvest some of the ingredients for our meal.
Our efforts will culminate in a meal celebrating Oaxaca, our collaborative cooking efforts, and the plant foods of this country’s most sacred earth.
The day will wind down just before sunset, when warmed by the generosity of family and community (and mezcal), we’ll head back to the city.
This promises to be a day made of wonderful, delicious and meaningful memories.
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