Slow Food California and Mexico: Ark of Taste Culinary History & Culture

Slow Food California & Mexico:

Ark of Taste & Presidia Tour, Culinary History & Culture in Veracruz, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tlaxcala!

November 6-15, 2015


Join us on an extraordinary and pioneering journey to explore Mexico’s ancestral Ark of Taste foods: vanilla from La Chinantla, Oaxaca, amaranth from the Valley of Tehuacan, blue corn and pulque from Tlaxcala, among other heritage dishes and ingredients. This trip covers a wide variety of regions and experiences in: Veracruz; La Chinantla, Oaxaca; Tehuacan, Puebla; Puebla, Tlaxcala and Mexico City!


making salsa


Day 1: Friday, November 6, Tonight we will have a fun relaxing gathering / evening at the Portales in the Port of Veracruz


Day 2: Saturday, November 7, Alvarado: Shrimp Capital, Tlacotalpan: Son Jarocho, Arroz a la Tumbada, Arrive Tuxtepec, Regional Gastronomy and Slow Food Event at Meson de la Chinantla, OVERNIGHT TUXTEPEC

After breakfast in Veracruz Sanborncito we travel to Alvarado, the shrimp capital of Mexico. We will meet with the fishermen and fish sellers on the Alvarado lagoon. We will possibly (TBD) take a lancha from Alvarado to Tlacotalpan. Arriving in Tlacotalpan we will be met by Julio and the “jaraneros” from the region for an introduction to their traditional musical expressions and instruments. We will enjoy an “arroz a la tumbada” on the shores of the Rio Papaloapan. We transfer to Tuxtepec, check into the Gran Hotel Tuxtepec to freshen up before our welcome Slow Food Presentation and food demo (and eating!) at Meson de La Chinantla, where the owner, Francisco de la Iglesia is the President of the Slow Food Chapter in the region.




Day 3: Sunday, November 8, Full Day at Rancho Grande: Meet Raul Manuel, OVERNIGHT TUXTEPEC.

Today we will meet with the community of Rancho Grande and learn about their major contributions to the culinary world, particularly the revival of vanilla and the Slow Food International Award of Raul Manuel. Coffee, honey and other products are very important here, as well. We plan to make this a combination of: field and foraging activities/visits (coffee and quelites), as well as a food demo in their pavillion.

  • History of Vanilla in the Region
  • Background of the Slow Food International Award
  • Coffee Production
  • Quelites and other regional plants
  • Cooking demo and tasting (lunch)
  • Foraging for quelities (mostaza, huele de noche, guia de calabaza, ejote mayeso)
  • Miel (honey of the region)
  • Tepejilote
  • Tortilla de yucca y frijol
  • Amarillo de carne de res seca ahumada
  • Pilte (fish and maza wrapped in a banana leaf)

Day 4: Monday, November 9, Soyaltepec (from El Pescadito), exit Ixcatlan. Then go to Ojitlan

We travel to El Pescadito, where we will be met by “lanchas” to transfer us to San Miguel Soyaltepec to learn about the creation of the Miguel Aleman Dam and how it changed the physical and human landscape in the Mazatec region. We will return via San Pedro Ixcatlan to then go to Ojitlan.

We will be met by members of the community who will provide welcome remarks about their traditions in food and dress. We will enjoy the following food items that are unique to this region and are being consciously preserved: Municipal Market.

  • Popo (cacao based, cold/refreshing drink of the region)
  • Caldo de frijol molido con bolitas de yucca
  • Amarillo de cocolmecatl (a vine)
  • Caldo de paisano
  • Tamales rancheros
  • Tamal de yucca
  • Tortilla de yucca
  • Quelites
  • Plantacion de yucca (yucca plantation)



Day 5: Tuesday, November 10, Today we will transfer to Orizaba, Veracruz, as we make our way to Tehuacan. But before we leave, we will experience the singular “Caldo de Piedra” or stone soup that is made by the men of the region, riverside, as their women wash the clothes! Overnight in Orizaba.


Day 6: Wednesday, November 11, Today we enter Tehuacan, where our first visit will be at the Museo del Agua to learn about the revival of amaranth. We will enjoy dishes using amaranth, including “alegrias”. We will visit the community of San Gabriel Chilac, as well, to learn about their traditions in dance, dress and other regional customs. We return to the Hotel to rest and relax, poolside.


Day 7: Thursday, November 12, Today we travel deep into the Tehuacan Reserve, to visit the potters of Los Reyes Metzontla, to learn of their prehispanic form of burnished pottery. We will also make a brief visit to the Ethnobotanical Gardens there! We transfer to Puebla, for our overnight and wonderful dinner of ancient “pipian”, “mole” and “manchamanteles” sauces at Mural de Los Poblanos, with Chef Liz Galicia, and active member and contributor to Slow Food in Puebla. She has initiated a project to revive the ancient worms and to have the recognized in the Ark of Taste of Mexico. Overnight Puebla.


Day 8: Friday, November 13, Tlaxcala and Mexico City.

Visit Maguey Fields to learn of the history and importance of this plant in Mesoamerica. This plant provided fiber, drink, nutrition, and hence it was greatly venerated. We will learn about pulque, the first fermented drink of Mesoamerica. We will also work with corn, making tamales, and we will learn about a project to revive an ancient blue corn variety. Overnight Mexico City


Day 9: Saturday, November 14, National Museum of Anthropology in the morning, to focus on the halls that honor the Corn Goddess and other important Prehispanic Deities. Our afternoon will be in the floating gardens or “Chinampas” to meet the farmers who are reviving this ancient agricultural system. Overnight Mexico City


Day 10: Sunday, November 15, Return Flights home

Note: Costs associated with trip interruption or modification due to weather, conditions, political/civil disputes, medical emergencies or other causes beyond our control. Travel Insurance is recommended for this purpose

Photos From This Tour

textiles motifs







the tools



chinantla- boy

chinantla landscape

town church




making tortillas

the menu

Welcome to San Felipe Usila

la casa del pueblo

la chinantla






4 pineapple for 25 pesos


By the river

The river is waiting

Choosing the rocks

preparing the fire

rocks on fire

rocks heating

preparing the ingredients

the vegetables

the fish

preparing the dish

fresh shrimp

the fire is over

choosing the rocks

putting the hot rock



canoe passing by

coffee berries

taking coffee’s pulp off

drying the grains

coffee drying

coffee is ready

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