As we headed toward the first presentation of the day by Chef Eduardo Wichtendahl Palazuelos, Lourdes Pina Soria, media coordinator from Mexico City, explained to El Gringo that today’s theme was “the producers”. Who are the producers? According to Lourdes, “First, there is mother Earth. Then, the soul of the Mexican people and their traditions. Then there are the farmers, the chefs, the vintners, the distillers. Everything is linked, including the eaters.”
After the presentation, the press were led into the busy kitchen, where chefs in white jackets milled about amongst chefs in colorful and traditional dress from Oaxaca, Michoacan, San Luis Potosi and other regions of Mexico. Your Gringo has never seen such colorful and varied stations! Everything smelled fantastic as I dodged the busy chefs hauling large vats of boiling peppers and other goodness. All of this food would be on display and ready to eat for the lunch break.
After the cocina, El Gringo headed to the expo floor to sample moles, chipulinas (fried and salted grasshoppers from Oaxaca), chocolates and dulces, mescals, wines and a dizzying variety of tasty cuisines from all over Mexico (perhaps the dizziness was from the mescals, but I cut it off after several samples). Oh, and Baja Norte was represented by La Guerrernese from Ensenada. Their pulpo ceviche with smoked and roasted nuts was one of the BEST things your Gringo put in his boca!
For lunch, we headed outside to sample green mole from the state of Mexico. Delicious! El Gringo also met some fairly famous members of Mexico’s food press, including Ruth Algeria from Mexico City and Mark Miller…the expat Gringo author of one of the leading books on the variety of Mexican chiles who would be presenting the next day. Ruth told El Gringo that one of the main purposes of FMGM was to elevate Mexican cuisine as a national treasure. And to certify the cuisines of Michoacan and Oaxaca to a state status on the level of a UNESCO World Heritage site. We were introduced to Mexican Top Chef Alicia Gironella, one of the main presenters, who posed for the press in a Sonoran Sombrero.
After lunch, we headed back to the expo floor to hook up with our host, Chef Martin San Roman who owns Seasons Catering in San Diego and is cuisine consultant for boutique hotel Casa Fernanda in Tepotzlan. Martin introduced us to Antonio, a representative of Tequila Casa Flores, who have produced an EXCELLENT premium tequila bearing Martin’s name. We sampled the blanco (very smooth) and the extra anejo (even smoother, delicious and with just a hint of vanilla). Additionally, Martin spread some of his “Pulpa” on a piece of artisan bread for us to try. Pulpa is gelatinous and made from the corazon (heart) of the blue agave. The spread was savory and sweet and we loved it! Martin let us know that his Pulpa is an original product. Look for both his tequilas and pulpa in Whole Foods Market and other outlets in Southern California soon!
At the end of the day, El Gringo, Chef San Roman and our journalist companion Rebekah Sager from Fox Latino and several other media outlets headed back to our hotel to relax poolside and sample some of Martin’s extra anejo tequilas, while preparing for our Oaxacan tasting menu at Zibu later in the night (but more on that later).
The first day was a success, and organizers hope that this event will become an annual touchstone in the presentation and promotion of Mexican cuisine.
Your Gringo in Mexico,