Home Food and Drink “Sabores” scents, colors, and textures of the Yucatán

“Sabores” scents, colors, and textures of the Yucatán

by Yucatan Times
1 comment
close up of a panucho

Yucatecan gastronomy is undoubtedly one of Mexico’s great culinary contributions to the world, its dishes are made of an exquisite fusion between the ingredients used in pre-Hispanic times by the ancient Maya and those flavors brought to the Yucatan Peninsula by Spaniards and Lebanese during the Colony.

It is a fact that the gastronomy of Yucatan deserves to be celebrated and valued for the great cultural contributions it has left to the world, so in 2022, the State Government named as the Year of Yucatecan Gastronomy, and within the framework of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants -an event that will be held in the City of Merida-, Yucatecans will be able to enjoy the gastronomy of the Yucatan, Yucatecans will be going all out with the various activities that make up the SABORES DE YUCATÁN Gastronomic Festival, which is expected to position itself as one of the most important gastronomic festivals in the country and will take place from November 11 to 15.

Certainly, the key piece of any cuisine is its ingredients and Yucatan has a long list of endemic ingredients that make each of its dishes a unique experience. During SABORES DE YUCATÁN we have sought to honor each one of them, through different initiatives in which we intend to make this great variety known, through the greatest exponents of international gastronomy, who will be gathered in the lands of the Mayab on the occasion of the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Long ago, Yucatan was known as “the land of pheasant and deer” because these species were the main ingredients in its gastronomic delicacies, however, over the years, these were replaced by pork and turkey, without diminishing the majesty of the traditional dishes, on the contrary, the cooks have kept alive the essence of the foods that have been enjoyed in the state over the years.

Gastronomy has to offer the world great dishes and ingredients that fill the tables with flavor, texture and color; that is why we share some of the most representative and obviously delicious ones.

Achiote is one of the most emblematic Mayan ingredients within the local gastronomy, in ancient times this condiment was highly valued, because it was directly related to the blood and was mainly used as a pigment and coloring, making it an essential element of this culture, thanks to its nutritional and medicinal properties. Today, achiote is recognized for giving flavor to one of the most emblematic dishes of Mexico that gives flavor to the pastor; the pork meat that gives name to the “tacos de pastor”; undoubtedly, it also stands out for being the ingredient that gives seasoning and color to the most emblematic dish of Yucatecan cuisine: cochinita.

The Chaya, also known as the “Mayan spinach”, has been consumed in the Yucatan peninsula since ancient times, rooted in the culture of the locals through one of the most representative dishes of the region, the “brazo de reina” a tamale that results from the mixture of corn, pumpkin seeds and chaya leaves, this plant is also consumed in stews and soups of the day; The traditional egg with chaya, a delicacy that is usually accompanied by tortillas and habanero chili, stands out; such is the versatility of this plant that it is even used as the main ingredient of a refreshing drink.

While the aforementioned ingredients add color to Yucatán’s gastronomy, there are others that give texture to every bite, proof of this are the piglet’s ears or pork castacán, the crust that comes from the delicate cooking of its skin; whether in tacos or in cake, a piece of these crunchy delicacies will delight your mouth.

Sikil pak is a snack typical of Yucatecan gastronomy, extremely popular and delicious, this “dip” uses ingredients such as ground pumpkin seeds, red tomato, green chilies, chives and cilantro, which give it an appetizing aroma while it is enjoyed in the center with corn chips.

Polcan is one of the authentic pre-Hispanic foods that have survived the colonization process; its name comes from the Mayan word “pool”, which means head, and “can”, which means snake, since its shape is oval. This dish is made with white corn dough, its filling is known as toksel and is mixed with white beans called “ibes”, ground pumpkin seeds, epazote, cilantro, onion and habanero peppers.

There is no more exquisite aroma than the tatemado of the spices to prepare a good recado, whether black (the only one with chiles tatemado to the point of ash), red or white, these pastes or “salsas” typical of Yucatán are the base of many of its most emblematic dishes and it could be said that their preparation is an art that few master; recados are seasoned with cloves, black pepper, tabasco pepper, toasted garlic, cinnamon, and oregano; in the case of red recado, achiote is added to give it its characteristic intense color, all these ingredients are ground with the strength of the hands of the cook.

Hundreds of dishes, flavors, textures, and colors are to be discovered in Yucatecan gastronomy, and it is possible to do so through any of the SABORES DE YUCATÁN Festival tours or in one of the TakeOvers, where guest chefs will intervene in the local kitchens to create culinary delights where the ingredients of the region will be the true protagonists of the night.

Please note that the activities of SABORES DE YUCATÁN are open to the public and that some of them will have a charge. For the complete agenda, please visit https://yucatan.travel/festivalsabores/, and get ready to discover why Mérida has been recognized as one of the 5 best cities in the world to visit, in the category of “Great Cities” by Condé Nast Traveler.

TYT Newsroom

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1 comment

Website November 11, 2022 - 7:21 am

Thanks for sharing this info, very interesting point of view.


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