Posts Tagged ‘Festival de los 7 Moles’

I’m eating my way through the Guelaguetza festivities.  It all began on Friday with the kickoff banquet for the Festival de los Moles.  Remember the chicatanas from last month?  They were there.  Check out the mole on the middle left.  Giving the mole a little “crunch,” it was muy sabroso!

Then yesterday, we ventured out to Reyes Etla for the Expo Feria del Queso y Quesillo (cheese fair), followed by comida at Comedor Colon in Villa de Etla.

Today, we were supposed to go into the mountains of the Sierra Norte to San Antonio Cuajimoloyas for the Feria Regional de Hongos Silvestres.  Alas, bloqueos blocked our way and so L and I were “forced” to browse (and shop) our way through the countless artesan stalls at the top of the Alcalá and in Llano Park.  Of course, this required major nourishment.  At a time like this, nothing beats street food!

Tacos with roasted onions and chopped pork

Tacos with roasted onions and chopped pork

All I can say is, yummmm!  And, next weekend, we will again attempt to venture up into the mountains for the wild mushrooms festival.

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Yesterday, we began the marathon than is Guelaguetza in Oaxaca.  First on the day’s agenda was a morning trip to Reyes Etla.

The Señor de las Peñas church sits atop at hill and views of the lush green fields (gracias, rainy season) and the mountains were breathtaking.

Cactus, farmland, mountains

Impossibly adorable children danced and shared, in the spirit of Guelaguetza.

Boy and girl in traje throwing candy to audience

We were in the heartland of Oaxaca cheese country for the crowning of  Jimena Santiago Vasquez, as queen of the third Expo Feria de Queso y Quesillo.

Girl with crown and red sash

Did I say cheese?  Oh, yes — stalls and stalls of yummy cheese.  The fair runs through Monday and we will be back!

Woman selling cheese

Next on our itinerary was a return to the city for a little (?) gluttony — the Festival de los 7 Moles opening banquet on the grounds of the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca.  Botanas Oaxaqueña (cheese, chicharrón, chiles rellenos), followed by Sopa de Fandango, 15 (not 7) Moles, 4 Tipos de Arroz, followed by a platter of pastries and scoops of Leche Quemada and Tuna nieves (sorbets).  Oh, and did I mention, cervesas and mezcal?

Lines of serving platters and people

We even got a little culture, as author, Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate) spoke, though it was a little hard to hear her, with all the eating, drinking, and related conversations!

Profile of Laura Esquivel

Moving rather slowly, we pushed back from the table and headed down to the Alameda (oh, it felt good to walk!) to take in the last stage of the Diosa Centéotl competition — the chosen “Goddess” presides over Guelaguetza.  However, the area surrounding the tented stage was a mass of people by the time we arrived and the best I could do was see the backs of the magnificent traje.  (See Chris’s blog for close-ups from the stage one competition.)  And, the winner is…  Dulce Yanet Grijalba Martínez, from the Zapotec community of San Pablo Villa de Mitla.

Backs of women sitting in traditional dress

After a brief siesta, I rendezvoused with some young friends and we walked over to the Plaza de la Danza for a free performance by Alejandra Robles, one of my favorite Oaxaqueña singers.  (For video from the last time I saw her, click HERE.)

Alejandra Robles

The night was still young for my young friends and they were off to get a nieve at Jardín Socrates.  I was off to bed, because I’d already had my day’s allowance of nieve AND we’ve only just begun!

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And, then there was the Festival de los 7 Moles opening buffet lunch set amidst the beauty and tranquility of the Jardín Etnobotánico.  Serendipity and synchronicity brought us there… running into a friend, conversation, investigation (see pots below), and her enthusiasm and powers of persuasion (gracias, Rosa!) had us purchasing tickets on the spot.

While kitchen staff prepared the serving platters and bowls…

Woman in apron and wearing hairnet, scoops cooked rice out of a large bucket.

Dancers gathered on the Alameda for a calenda that would lead people the luncheon.

Two women displaying their long  colorful full skirts

They included a number of small children…

Woman squatting down and clasping hands with a toddler-age boy - both in indigenous dress

The calenda, including the requisite marmota (giant cloth balloon), monos (giant puppets), band, dancers with canastas (see yesterday’s post), and the sponsoring banner of CANIRAC (national association of the restaurant and food industries), made its way up the Alcalá…

Procession with marmota, monos, and banner

before turning onto Constitución and entering the Jardín, where wait staff and divine moles awaited.

Wait staff, wearing black, white, and grey gathered next to table.

Yummm, mole negro

Large green pottery bowls filled with black mole.

Mole amarillo

Green pottery bowls of red colored moles

Mole coloradito

Green ceramic pot with red mole.

Mole verde

Green mole in green ceramic pot

There was also mole chichilo, mole manchamanteles, and mole rojo.  I tried them all!!!  And, I haven’t even mentioned the cervesa, mezcal, aguas, and appetizers of quesillo, chicharon, and tacos filled with guacamole and chapulines (grasshoppers).  You’ll have to switch over to Chris’s blog to see those and much more.  Oh, and for dessert, a scoop of each of my favorite nieves (sherbet); leche quemada (burned milk) and tuna (cactus fruit).

A day filled with light, color, music, fabulous food, and, most of all, wonderful friends — the recipe for a perfect day!

(ps)  There are almost 50 restaurants around town that will be featuring mole as part of this 12-day festival.

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