Of course, food is also an important part of the history and customs of any civilization. Michoacán is not an exception. It enjoys a great tradition and culinary variety that delights everybody. As in all mesoamerican towns, corn (one of many gifts from Mexico to the world) has been the basis of nutrition in this part of the country since prehispanic times and is also related with beliefs and religious practices.
Besides corn, there are some other foods that are important in Michoacans gastronomy, and to a large extent revolutionized the European kitchen. These include beans, chili (many varieties of hot and mild peppers), tomato, potato, cacao, calabash or squash (and its flowers and seeds), camote (sweet potato), chayote (a native squash-like fruit), avocado, yucca (a sweet tuber), nopal (the pad of prickly pear cactus), tuna (the red fruit of the prickly pear) and some derivative products of the maguey and other cacti.
This guide doesnt pretend to be a recipe book; we will simply mention the more representative foods of the region, but you can be sure that all is delicious and absolutely different from anything you can taste in other parts of the country.
Made from corn, we can find:
- gorditas (little fatties): thick tortillas filled with broad beans or pinto beans.
- tortillas: made by hand of white or black corn, which in this most mexican form can be enjoyed in all kinds of tacos, or in enchiladas (fried tortillas dipped in tomato and chili sauce, filled with cheese and onion) accompanied by fried chicken and potatoes (youll find this in the porches of the Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra).
-tostadas (tortillas fried crisp).
-sweet or chili tamales, blackberry tamales (made with cold atole blackberry).
-corundas: corn masa formed into triangular shapes, wrapped and steamed in corn husks, they can be plain or filled with fried beans or cheese; they can be served with cream and with tomato relish or with bean soup, pork meat in tomato sauce, fresh cheese and cream
-uchepos: made of green corn and wrapped in corn leaves; they are eaten with cream and tomato relish
-atoles, hot drinks made of corn flour mixed with water, milk sugar, fruits and/or other ingredients, for example camata urápira, an atole of maguey juice with corn flour; white corn-flour atole; black atole made with cacao; atole with tamarind or of grain, made with fresh corn, corn masa, anise and sometimes even chili
-beaten pozole: (a kind of soup made of hominy and pork meat), white, red and máschuta, that is, made with black corn, beans, cilantro (fresh corianderleaf) and chili.
-sopa tarasca: must not be overlooked; invented by an excellent chef from Pátzcuaro.
-fish: characterizes this region of the state. A typical dish is charales, which are eaten fried, in soup, in tacos or alone with salt, lemon and chili.
-caldo michi: a stew that includes sour prickly pears, greens and chili.
-the famous white fish (pescado blanco) that is eaten battered and fried with egg, in garlic sauce, pickled, or in soup.
-roasted acúmara and its eggs, in tortillas or tacos; trout, fried or battered with egg
-achoque: an unusual amphibian that inhabits the lake of Pátzcuaro is considered a living fossil, it looks repulsive to many, but just as many find it delicious fried.
As for meats:
-carnitas: pork meat deep fried in its own juices are famous and delicious in Pátzcuaro, Quiroga and Santa Clara del Cobre, where is also prepared an exquisite mutton in a wooden bowl.
-churipo or bote: is prepared with beef and also contains xoconochtle, greens and red chili.
-olla podrida (rotten pot): is a mixture of beef, pork and chicken with all kinds of vegetables cooked in pulque (a drink derived from the maguey).
About bread, there exists a great variety characteristic of the region, those made with corn or wheat dough, with egg, with piloncillo (brown sugar), with cream and the ordinary kinds, but with the flavor of Michoacán. For the Day of the Dead in November, the delicious pan de muerto (bread of death) is prepared, and can be savored only at this time of year.
And of the desserts, there are many choices, beginning with the unique and delicious nieve de pasta an ice cream made of milk, and made only in Pátzcuaro.
Also during the different seasons of the year, it is possible to taste with pleasure ice cream of black zapote, peach, quince, changunga (a kind of yellow cherry), apple, strawberry, mamey, guava and various melons, and other native fruits.
In reference to regional
sweets, there are those made of milk, pastes of guava or of quince,
jelly, cajetas (carmelized goats milk), alegrias (of
amaranto seed and honey), preserves of all types, doughnuts with
honey, charamuscas (candies), dried fruit and many others.
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