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Made With Your Hands

Oaxaca city is rich with culture, brightly colored houses, dramatic mountains, delicious foods, and Smokey mezcal.

Street in Oaxaca, Mexico, lined with uniquely colorful homes and businesses.

We recently traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, and decided to expand our ventures and book a customized tour of the city and villages with Malintzin /

The cities in Oaxaca boast a vibrant crafts scene. The food in Oaxaca is unique with authentic flavors and is best known for its Mole. The Chapulines (Crickets) are known as a delicacy and eaten for a form of protein. The Chapulines are served on top of Guacamole or Salsa or added to dishes. The use of Epazote and hoja santa in their inspired dishes gives a distinguished flavor to chicken, caldos, beans and salsa, and Verde Mole.

We had the pleasure of visiting Dalia and her family about 45 minutes outside of central city Oaxaca in the small rural village in Tlacolula De Matamoros. Dalia invited us into her home and showed us step by step how it was for her family to cook without any mainstream appliances, using ingredients straight from her garden and farm-raised livestock on her property. Everything is made organically, from the Mole to her homemade chocolate. We participated in the making of everything from scratch. We were able to hear the story of her family history, the simplicity of living a life of tranquility and contentment with not having a lot.

Chef Dalia prepares chocolate for a traditional Mexican mole.

The families in the villages earn a living off cooking, farming, and Zapotec weaving, earning about $4 to $6 a day. Seeing the harsh reality of poverty among the villages and how the coronavirus pandemic has affected these families greatly, since the country mostly depends on tourism. There are ways that we can still assist these families in a small way that can change their lives forever.

We also enjoyed the Alebrijes workshop with a family who fine paints each sculpture that they cut down themselves on trees from the mountainside. Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. The first alebrijes, along with the term's invention, originated with Mexico City cartonero Pedro Linare.

We enjoyed lunch at Azucena Zapoteca.

The chili relleno Nogada, chili coloradito mole, and quesadilla con flor de calabaza was delish and don’t forget to try the Guava Atole and Nieve Quemada.

Beautifully plated chile Relleno with pomegranate, almonds, and garnishes.

On our 3rd day, we visited Macrina and the women famous for their barro Rojo. Her history goes back to starting when she was only 14 years old, transforming her surroundings, carrying up to 60 pounds on her back from the mountainside to fill beautiful, timeless pots and bowls. The family is well respected in the village. Macrina still has her living parents that she cares for, never married, and no children; she has sacrificed everything to bring income and maintain their livelihood.

On our last day, we visited Cuauhtemoc on his mezcal farm. We learned the history of growing the mezcal plants and how lengthy the process is (up to 12 years). We sipped on his Smokey mezcal; his compadres set up a luncheon overlooking the farm of tortas, queso de Oaxaca, avocado, salsa, y chapulines.

Chef Adriana and her family visiting a mezcal plant farm in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico.

We learned so much about Oaxaca's history and the artists behind the unique tapestry table runners, pillows, placemats, blankets.

We cannot thank you, Veronica Briseno @verostiendita, enough for helping us organize this trip with Antonio Recamier @malintzin_oaxaca.

Please message me for a full itinerary if interested in experiencing this incredible town for yourself.


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