Mexico’s tourism officials have unveiled the second phase of their “Live It To Believe It!” campaign. The first phase focused on some relatively unusual destinations and sights in Mexico. The second phase is based on the nation’s extraordinarily varied gastronomy. “Eat Here to Believe It!” is our suggested shorthand.
Mexican cuisine has taken the world by storm in recent years and Mexico is rapidly becoming one of the best destinations in Latin America for food-related travel. Promotional videos (sadly, no longer available on Youtube) highlight how regional variations in cuisine across Mexico mean that a vacation in Mexico can be like visiting several different countries in a single trip.
In addition to items such as tequila and mescal enjoying international protection and recognition via their denomination-of-origin status, in 2010 UNESCO added the indigenous regional cuisine of Michoacán to its “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” list.
Quoting from the UNESCO site:
Traditional Mexican cuisine is a comprehensive cultural model comprising farming, ritual practices, age-old skills, culinary techniques and ancestral community customs and manners. It is made possible by collective participation in the entire traditional food chain: from planting and harvesting to cooking and eating. The basis of the system is founded on corn, beans and chili; unique farming methods such as milpas (rotating swidden fields of corn and other crops) and chinampas (man-made farming islets in lake areas); cooking processes such as nixtamalization (lime-hulling maize, which increases its nutritional value); and singular utensils including grinding stones and stone mortars.
Native ingredients such as varieties of tomatoes, squashes, avocados, cocoa and vanilla augment the basic staples. Mexican cuisine is elaborate and symbol-laden, with everyday tortillas and tamales, both made of corn, forming an integral part of Day of the Dead offerings.
Collectives of female cooks and other practitioners devoted to raising crops and traditional cuisine are found in the State of Michoacán and across Mexico. Their knowledge and techniques express community identity, reinforce social bonds, and build stronger local, regional and national identities. Those efforts in Michoacán also underline the importance of traditional cuisine as a means of sustainable development.
For more about Mexican cuisine, visit the amazing award-winning blog Mexico Cooks! and also browse the huge selection of recipes, articles and tips about all aspects of Mexican food and cooking in the “Cuisine” section of MexConnect.
- Cuisine changes as Mexico experiences a nutrition transition
- Mexico’s first cooks and the origins of Mexican cuisine
- The geography of Mexican cuisine
- The geography of tequila: how is tequila made?
- The regional geography of tacos
- The geography of Mexican farming, agriculture and food production: index page
- Diana Kennedy and regional cuisines in Mexico
- Your Thanksgiving Dinner: why Mexico deserves some of the credit