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ZACATECAS

GASTRONOMY

Gastronomy in Zacatecas is not only a feast to the palates, but a testimony of the history and evolution of this region; its culinary past dates back to the dawn of civilisation, when the first inhabitants fed themselves with the meat of the animals they hunted and with the fruits and roots they recollected.

After the arrival of the Spaniards in search of gold and silver, the city was populated with miners in search of fortune; they turned the guajalotes (a kind of wild turkey), the maize, the chilli, the tomato, the frijoles and the quelites (wild herbs), into the base of their diet.

The growth of mining also generated a dynamic commercial activity, so the first inns and restaurants of the city began to appear; dishes mixing regional ingredients with those brought from the Old World and whims were served in them.

In 1864 the French took the city, and its kitchens in the process, feeding them with the best recipes of the Gallic cuisine; dishes dressed with butter, almonds, plums and raisins, which were accompanied with excellent wines. In those times banquets were not complete if there were no fruits soaked in wine or glassed, biscuits and chocolate with milk.

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Cattle breeding developed in Zacatecas during the government of Porfirio Diaz, so the tables were then adorned with grilled roast beefs; years later, during the Mexican Revolution, the gorditas con chile (tortilla dough stuffed with frijoles and fried cracklings), which were painstakingly prepared by the "adelitas", insurgent women, would make their debut.

Nowadays, the menu of Zacatecas has the wedding roast beef, a must in every wedding, standing out; it is prepared with loin of pork chopped in little pieces and fried, then dressed with a sauce made of wide red chilli browned with lard; it is seasoned with pepper, nail of clove, cinnamon, laurel, orange peel, bread, a bar of chocolate, sugar and salt at leisure. It is accompanied with slices of raw onion and soup of rice.

The typical drink in here is the mescal of Huitzila (a town south of Zacatecas); nonetheless, it is not the only thing there is to drink; we recommend you the table wines and the white and pink red wines that are prepared in the wine cellars of Zacatecas.

For dessert there are always the delicious cocadas, jerezanas, melcochas, ates (sweet dough) of guava and quince, jamoncillos of milk and honey of tuna, as well as the traditional sweets made of sweet potato, biznaga, chilacayote and pumpkin.

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