First annual mole festival will explore flavors of Coast and Mixteca regions of Oaxaca

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Traditional mole cooks from two regions of the state of Oaxaca will meet in Puerto Escondido for the first ever Costa y Mixteca Mole Festival in August.

The festival will bring together traditional cooks, mezcal masters and artists to pay tribute to the emblematic dish of Oaxaca, which stands out for the flavor of its ingredients, many of them endemic to the regions where recipes that have been passed on from generation to generation are prepared.

Chef Quetzalcóatl Zurita, chairman of the Puerto Escondido chapter of the national restaurant association Canirac, described plans for the festival during a press conference on Friday.

“We will celebrate mole in its various interpretations, a recipe that includes chiles such as costeño, puya, pasilla [or] ancho,” said Zurita, remarking on other unique ingredients used in the preparation of the traditional Mexican sauce, including almonds, pitiona, epazote and huajes among other aromatic herbs, seeds and spices.

Mole sauce is the protagonist of festivities, patron saint festivals and family celebrations. Its preparation includes various chiles and meats including turkey, chicken, pork, beef, chicken and fish.

mole festival

Each recipe is characterized by the techniques and processes of the region where it is prepared, continued Zurita, explaining that “this dish has been transformed over time, always with the respect and flavor of the traditions that distinguish the cuisine of Oaxaca.”

Zurita noted moles that are specific to the regions: “The Coast uses costeño chile and aromatic herbs, while the Mixteca includes tinados [or tempesquistle, an endemic wild fruit not too dissimilar to avocados] and salt that provide special flavors and aromas.”

The Coast region sets itself apart with the regional moles like amarillo de tichinda with pitiona, mole negro costeño, pipián de chacales, pork and chicatana mole, amarillo de nanacates, coloradito and white beans with shrimp molito, while the Mixteca offers its chileajo, huaximole, party mole, chilate, shrimp torta and Mixtec pozole.

Many of these ingredients are roasted on a griddle and ground in a stone mill, later to be cooked in clay pots or cazuelas.

The first edition of the Costa y Mixteca Mole Festival is the result of the collaboration of Puerto Escondido and Huajuapan de León. Zurita explained that in meetings held with Rita Ramírez, Canirac Huajuapan chairwoman, they decided to join efforts to extol the gastronomy and traditions of the Coast and the Mixteca regions, offering at the same time new spaces where local chefs and producers can promote their products.

Attendees will be able to enjoy the recipes of the traditional cooks, as well as what other local cooks will offer, including handmade tortillas, picaditas, bean tetelas, tortilla chips, granillo atole, tepache, natural fruit waters, baked pumpkin and espadín, tobalá and cuish varieties of artisanal mezcal.

The event will be rounded out with a series of talks, live music and dancing.

The festival will take place on Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13, in the central corridor of the Zicatela Market in Puerto Escondido, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Entrance to the festival is free, and each dish will be offered at a cost of between 120 and 200 pesos (US $7 to $12).

El Sol de Puerto


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