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In Mexico, gastronomy has been elevated to an art. No matter where travelers choose to eat — whether they opt for the high-end restaurants of Puerto Vallarta or the taco wagons of Tijuana — close attention to detail mixes in with feats of culinary daring to create unforgettable dining experiences. Exploring the country’s gastronomic offerings is a vital part of any trip to Mexico.
This year has been a standout year for Mexico’s cuisines, with the country commemorating both the Bicentennial of its independence from Spain and the Centennial of the Mexican Revolution. This double dose of celebration has allowed Mexico to reflect on its origins, review its history and recall the events that have helped shape the modern dynamic of the country. The independence movement and the revolution put many Mexicans on the move, introducing them to diverse methods of preparing food and new ingredients that were originally found away from home.
In celebration of the culinary discoveries made during the independence movement and the revolution, Coordinacion Nacional de Patrimonio Culutral y Turismo (CONACULTA), the body of the Mexican National Council for Culture and the Arts, created eight gastronomic routes that allow travelers to experience these diverse flavors and cooking techniques.
While some of the routes are best explored by car, there are also opportunities for the casual visitor to explore the cuisine as well, since many include such popular tourist destinations as Zihuatenejo, Guadalajara and San Luis Potosi. If your clients are intent on striking out on their own for an in-depth experience, suggest they take a look at accommodation possibilities at one or more of the properties represented by Boutique Hotels of Mexico. These are often restored haciendas or historic buildings that offer a high level of service and amenities, and they usually have fine kitchens of their own. What follows is an outline of the cuisine travelers will find while following the eight new routes.
• The Hidalgo Route: Mole, chiles rellenos (stuffed chiles) and the coconut candies of Guanajuato; tequila in Guadalajara; and the enchiladas, marinated pork tacos, minced meat and Morelia gazpacho of Morelia in the state of Michoacan.
• The Hidalgo Route: Carne asada, flour tortillas and the grilled pork of Monclova in Coahuilla; and the picadillo, goat cheese tamales, peach jam, dulce de leche and custard of Matehuala in San Luis Potosi.
• The Morelos Route: Local crab, shrimp, scallop and fish ceviche and the sweet tamarinds of Zihuatanejo in Guerrero; corned beef with cream and cheese, corned pork enchiladas and red turkey mole in Jantetelco in the state of Morelos.
• The Guerrero Route: Black, red, yellow or green mole; corn tortillas and tortilla chips; corn quesadillas; tamales; and a variety of desserts such as sweet tamarind pulp and rice pudding in the state of Oaxaca.
• The Zapata Route: Sweet treats such as borrachitos, coconut candies and candied peanuts in Puebla; sweet bread with molasses and flan in Morelos; and jam, figs and prickly pears in Mexico City.
• The Villa Route: Chili, tortillas, dried meat and fresh meat cuts that are the culinary cornerstones of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.
• The Madero and Carranza Route: Roasted goat in San Pedro de las Colonias; carne asada in Monclova; roast beef tamales in Hacienda Guadalupe; and crushed dried meat, pico de gallo sauce and goat meat dishes in Monterrey.
• The Revolution Cities Route: Baked pig in the city of Aguascalientes; sweet potato in Hill Pavilion in Aguascalientes; red tamales and pulque in San Luis Potosi; and the local mole in the city of Zacatecas.
Coordinacion Nacional de Patrimonio Culutral y Turismo (CONACULTA)www.conaculta.gob.mx/turismocultural/rutas_gastronomicas.php