Many Mexicans frequently refer to Puebla as the gastronomic capital of Mexico. As a result, it was a priority for me to experiment. Its cuisine is the result of a strong culinary heritage, a wide variety of spices and delicious dishes and sweets.

Mole is one of the most important dishes in the state and has become famous worldwide. My favorites are the chiles en nogada (stuffed peppers dipped in walnut sauce), which is usually prepared between June and September. The legend that accompanies this dish is that the nuns created it in honor of General Agustín de l’turbide by mixing indigenous and mestizo ingredients, such as chili peppers, walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Experiencing this dish is worth the trip to Puebla.

Other foods from Puebla that you may want to try are gorditas, chalupas, pipián, and maguey worms. Also, they have a colorful selection of cakes, sweets and bakeries and a street dedicated to them, including sweet shops. Some of the most popular sweets include the Santa Clara pancakes; jamocillos of marzipan and goat’s milk; and vanilla, pineapple and coconut yams.

It was my understanding that Oaxaca was the “home” of the original Mole. And while Oaxaca has seven different varieties, including black mole, Puebla’s is different and boasts the first mole kitchen in one of its museums and is known for its mole varieties.

I find the history of the mole and the ingredients intriguing. She had seen some women doing it in Oaxaca a few years ago and she was eager to attend the cooking school offered by Mesones Sacristía in Puebla and learn how to make mole.

I have attended many cooking schools, classes, demos, etc. and Executive Chef Alonso Hernández leads the small hands-on classes with comfort and ease. His English is very good, he has a wonderful sense of humor and he is a good teacher. He prides himself that you understand and learn Mexican cuisine. There is also a translator to explain subtleties while you learn the most traditional dishes of Puebla and Mexico. He will also learn about most types of chiles, using pre-Hispanic cooking techniques and home cooking in Mexico. The goal of the school is to share culinary secrets and make attendees have a memorable and wonderful time.

Our class began by walking from the hotel to the market to buy the ingredients for our mole. As we chose the Mulato chiles, Ancho chiles, and Pasilla chiles, Chef Alonso explained the various chiles and the level of capsaicin that makes them hot.

The market was overwhelming with all the fresh produce. Couldn’t help myself, I bought a cinnamon stick that was 1 ½ inches in diameter and about 14 inches long. I have never seen such large and aromatic cinnamon sticks. It did wonders for my suitcase.

Chef wanted us to experience a market fresh sandwich. I shared one and my half was huge. The number of sandwiches this cool counter produces is amazing.

After fishing our marketing, we went back to the hotel kitchen for our class.

If I had more time in Puebla, I would have gone back to the market and spent several hours. it was fascinating

The ingredients for the Mole:

or 3 pieces of chile mulato

or 3 pieces wide Chile

or 3 pieces of chile pasilla

or 500 g of tomatoes

or 200 g of onions

or 2 garlic cloves

o 2 pieces of Ibarra Chocolate (dark)

or 1 tortilla

or 100 g of sugar

or 100 g of salt

or 100 g powdered chicken broth

or 5 cups of water

1 banana

Serve with chicken or turkey

In the kitchen we lower the latex gloves, remove the stem and the seeds from the mulato, ancho and pasilla chili peppers. Then we fry them until we get a crispy texture.

Then we roast tomatoes, onions and garlic on a comal (grill).

We boiled the chiles and vegetables in water until the chiles softened, which took about 10 minutes.

We grind all the boiled ingredients together with their own broth and strain to make a sauce.

The next step was to peel the banana and cut it lengthwise into four pieces. Then we fry it until golden.

We roast the tortilla directly over the fire until it is black and crispy on both sides.

To my surprise, we put the burned tortilla, the plantain and 1 cup of water in a blender to blend and strain.

Then we blend the peppers and vegetables (2 batches) and cover with a cloth so that the steam cooks.

Fry the vegetable sauce in lard and bring to a boil.

Add the plantain/tortilla sauce and bring to a boil for a few more minutes.

Add chocolate.

Season to taste with (about 1 teaspoon) salt, sugar, and chicken bouillon powder. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes.

The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

I was surprised to find prices under $100 for a three-day course with three three-hour cooking classes and three delicious recipes. Instruction includes participation and natural tasting.

They also offer a seven-day, six-night class with six nights of accommodation at one of Mesones Sacristía’s charming properties and a fifteen-hour basic Mexican cooking course in English or Spanish. Your breakfasts are included as well as dinner in various restaurants in Puebla. You will also have a guided tour and other delights.

The Mesón Sacristía de la Compañía and the Mesón Sacristía de Capuchinas are small traditional hotels that are part of Hotels with Angel and belong to the Grupo México Boutique Hotels. They all offer a small number of rooms in historical buildings with unique architecture. They are located in residences over three centuries old that have been remodeled and renovated for the comfort and convenience of guests in the historic and fascinating state of Puebla, Mexico.

Experiencing this school, as well as Puebla itself, will be a memorable experience. I hope to return one day and take Norm or Brenda to see all the city has to offer. Good food is only a small part of this culturally rich area. Like all the other areas that I have had the opportunity to visit, it is the warmth of the people that draws one back to Puebla.

It is also known as the City of Angels and a World Heritage Site with more than 5,000 colonial buildings, most of them built during the 16th century. Puebla is known for its handicrafts, including Talavera pottery, figurines, bark paper paintings, and onyx and marble sculptures. Along with many other fine crafts, the traditional markets and beautiful plazas are where you’ll find artisans selling their wares.

Puebla, the fifth largest city in Mexico is accessible. I flew to Mexico City and took a bus (modern Mercedes) from the airport for 90 minutes and got there with ease.

For more information about the cooking school email: [email protected].

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