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Posts Tagged ‘Atole rojo’

“But one day we shall be rich, and the next poor. One day we shall dine in a palace and the next we’ll sit in a forest and toast mushrooms on a hatpin….” — Katherine Mansfield, The Aloe.

Last Sunday, via a narrow winding road, we drove up into the Sierra Norte for the 13th Regional Wild Mushroom Fair (Feria Regional de Hongos Silvestres) in San Antonio Cuajimoloyas.  The village is part of the Pueblos Mancomunados, a union of seven villages formed to protect the forest, preserve local traditions, and promote ecotourism, in order to provide employment. Thirty-seven miles northeast of Oaxaca city, 10,433 feet above sea level, and often in the clouds, Cuajimoloyas has an ethereal feel and seems a world apart from the valley below.

“I am… a mushroom on whom the dew of heaven drops now and then” — John Ford, The Broken Heart (1633).

Entering the plaza in front of the portales of the municipal building, we were surrounded by the 20 species of wild mushrooms endemic to the region.  There were mushrooms with shiny orange caps; mushrooms resembling coral, trumpets, a head of cauliflower, flower petals; baskets of freshly dug mushrooms, baggies of dried mushrooms, a bowl of spores; mushrooms sauteed, grilled on hot coals, stuffed in empanadas and tamales, and made into candy.

“Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.” — Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus.

And there were the people of Cuajimoloyas…  I quickly found the enchanting abuela from last year, again selling Atole Rojo and it hit the spot!  Another abuela was selling fragrant fresh herbs, most I’d never heard of.  I forgot about a sprig she gave me and it was a pleasant surprise when I returned home and emptied my pockets.

I’m already looking forward to next year…

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