Mexican cuisine comes from an extensive history. Its deeply rooted culture is actually a fusion of recipes and ingredients from Caribbean, African, French and South American cuisine. Some of the unique ingredient combinations create complex, refined flavors; pairing well with beer as well as wine. In fact, today’s palate tends to lean more on pairing Mexican cuisine with the perfect wine.
Tostadas (pair with Grüner Veltliner)
Tostadas are an authentic dish dating back 2000 years. Many historians claim that the food originated near the Monte Alban ruins. The Spanish meaning of the word tostada is “toasted”. Typically, a corn tortilla is deep fried or toasted until crispy. It is spread with delicious toppings like refried beans, guacamole, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, cilantro, cheese, sour cream and salsa. Choices of meats include seafood, chicken or pork.
Enchilada (pair with Chianti Classico)
Many cultural historians believe that enchiladas date back to Aztec times. However, the first reference of the term in the U.S. was in 1885. The word “enchilada” means “in chile”. Traditionally, this Mexican street food was just a corn tortilla immersed in chili sauce with no filling. Today enchiladas are served with a variety of fillings and sauces like cheese, pork and onions, beef and chicken.
Tamales (pair with Sauvignon Blanc)
Tamales are one of the most traditional dishes in Mexico, dating back as early as 5000 BC in Mesoamerica. The word “tamale” is derived from the Nahuatl word tamalli meaning "wrapped". This authentic dish is created with masa that is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. They are typically filled with cheeses, meats, vegetables or chilies, depending on region and taste.
Chiles en Nogada (pair with Vermentino)
Chiles en Nogada was invented in 1821 by the nuns in Puebla, Mexico. It was specially prepared for Agustin de Iturbide. He was a Mexican army general who was battled for Independence and the control of Mexico City. The dish consists of poblano chilies stuffed with picadillo which is a combo of meats, fruit and spices. It is served with a cold walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seeds.
Pollo Pibil (pair with Chardonnay)
This scrumptious dish is a mainstay in Yucatecan cuisine. The “recado rojo” or achiote paste (anchovy) served with the dish can be found in any market in Yucatán. As well, there are many varieties such as red (achiote), green (pepita), brown (de bistek) and black (chilmole ). The sauce is cooked with meats that are wrapped in banana leaves and baked in a pit or “pib” dug deep in the earth. Anything cooked in a pib is referred to as pibil. The word “pibil” means buried.
From tostadas and tamales to Chiles en Nogada, it is easy to love authentic Mexican food. The traditional comfort food is a warm welcome to any table, whether enjoying a classic home cooked meal or celebrating Cinco de Mayo.