One thing is constant in Mexico, and that is cathedrals – each area uses the stone from that region, so they all have a slightly different colour to the rock but in all cases, they are beautiful.
We have just missed “Day of the Dead” celebrations, and everywhere is evidence of the festivities. Really, it might sound morbid, but it is a lovely and fascinating way of celebrating all those that have passed before us. Family and friends gather to discuss and remember the loved ones, their favourite foods are cooked and the parties are endless.
Our 3rd time in Puebla, and I finally bought a small piece of the pottery Puebla is famous for, Talavera Pottery. The clay is sourced locally and most colors are also found naturally in local areas. Blue is the only colour they import, from Morocco. All colours are made from natural and traditional dyes. They have over 100 employees in this building – we did a tour and the place just went on forever. It takes about 8 weeks for each piece of clay to become a piece of pottery, get fired numerous times, painted, glazed, hand marked with the year and then prepared for sale. I asked about seconds, because I didn’t see any in the shop, but they don’t sell any seconds – instead the pottery is broken up and sold by the kilo for work in art pieces.
Inside the Uriarte Gallery – established in 1824, and specializing in certified Talavera Pottery. Until very recently it was exclusively managed by the Uriarte family, however recently it has been bought out and is now owned by 3 Mexicans and 1 Canadian.This large stone goes around the rocks to crush them (in this case the blue stones) and once it is a fine powder they add the water to get their colour. This stone is now powered by electricity but for years it was by a donkey going in circles. Poor guy.
Clay work stations, small pieces are created by hand on the wheel, (anything that is in size from fingertips to elbows) and larger pieces are created with molds.
Pieces air dry first, before being fired in the kiln – now heated with gas where it was previously wood or coal.
After being fired the pieces air dry again.
Once fired, there are a couple of guys that spend all day correcting minor imperfections by sanding. Before glazing anything they test each piece to see if it has survived the firing without any damage to the piece – the sound is amazingly bell like on a good piece, and very dull on a piece with a hairline crack that the eye can barely see.
This guy attentively dips every single piece into the glazing. We couldn’t believe how quickly it dried onto the pottery. After this it is ready for another firing.
Talk about dedication – this sole employee is responsible for hand signing (with a donkey hair brush) each and every single one of the pieces produced.
First painting – then more firing. The firing changes the colour significantly – the light blue turns very strong, and the orange turns yellow.
This definitely requires attention to detail.
We loved the tour and each came home with a small piece. Difficult when travelling – it would have been nice to come home with more!
Puebla is known for food, and one of their specialties is the cemita. A sandwich, to end all sandwich dreams.
Piled high with (traditionally) pork Milanesa style, avocado, cheese, lettuce, onions and served in a special bun, which is what makes it a cemita, other than a “torta” (sandwich).
Fusion has hit Mexico and these are upscale cemita’s. Served with some delicious dipping sauces that really hit the spot.
Moles are another big thing here, and I don’t mean little critters. Pronounced “molay”, it really just means sauce.
Enchiladas tres moles. Means, enchiladas served with the 3 traditional Mole sauces – the red is Colaradito pepper sauce, the black is mole negro, made typically with leftover tortillas cooked until they are black and ash like and chocolate. The green is a pipian mole, made with pumpkin seeds. That sounds simplistic and it certainly is not a simple sauce. Each one has many many ingredients, and every cook/chef is very protective of their recipe.
Mixiote (pronounced misheeote). Really fabulous meat dish cooked low and slow in parchment paper, in this case lamb. The flavour is out of this world. In days gone by the parchment paper would have been ant larvae, but now they settle for parchment.
Tinga. Sounds easy, and looks kind of boring, but one bite and you will wake up. Honestly, so frickin delicious.
Yes, that really does say we walked 15.89 km in one day. At that rate we can eat and drink whatever we want!!
So, needless to say in Mexico, that means Churros. This place had a line up every night and it was easy to see why. Delicious, no really really delicious.
Finally made it to the front of the line.
The best …. sorry, photo is blurry.
Taken through the window, this guy works incredibly hard hand stirring this massive pot of churro dough – SUPER impressive.
If you haven’t done enough walking in a day, there are always other snacking options too ….. every street will have vendors selling fruit or vegetables. Our favourite is jicama and cucumber, sprinkled with salt, lime squeezed over and lightly drizzled with hot sauce.
Puebla is a beautiful city, in fact probably one of the cleanest and home of the most courteous drivers! They stop for yellow lights and pedestrians…. amazing.