Tag Archives: Zapotec

Estampas de Mi Ciudad – Tejate, the Drink of Kings

Tejatera. Tlacolula, Mexico. Photo credit: Chef Aldo Saavedra

With the precision of a natural event, spring after spring, dozens of tejateras (ladies who make tejate) descend upon the village of San Andrés Huayapán, a town about 15 miles away from the city of Oaxaca. The big colorful clay pots signal the beginning of La Feria del Tejate (Tejate Festival), one of Oaxaca’s many tributes to this ancestral drink.

Tejate is made with corn masa, cocoa beans, mamey fruit and the flower of the cocoa plant, also called “rosita de cacao” (little rose of cocoa). Expert tejate drinkers usually agree that the thicker the foam made by this flower, the better the tejate.

This cold drink is served in small handcrafted containers or jícaras. Each drink  is as unique as the jícara that holds it, and as proud as the hands that make it. At first glance, tejate might seem a bit rough and perhaps even unappealing. One sip, and you will understand why this complex mix of flavors was the favorite of Zapotec kings.

Not in Oaxaca in April? Don´t worry. You can easily find this drink year round in any Oaxacan mercado, or around the city.

Estampas de Mi Ciudad – Mujeres en el Mercado (Women at the Market)

Photo credit: Manuel Rivera – Tlacolula, Oaxaca


Ladies in folk attire shop at the Sunday  market or “tianguis” in Tlacolula, Oaxaca.  The open-air market of Tlacolula is the oldest and busiest in Latin America. Week over week, more than a thousand merchants bring to the market a great selection of products ranging from fruits and vegetables, to farm animals, mezcal, handcrafts and hand-made clothing.  Visiting this market is particularly fascinating-  many Tlacolulans wear folk attire and speak Zapotec as their mother tongue.

Barbacoa Roja: Regalo de Artesanos Oaxaqueños – Estampas de Mi Ciudad

Barbacoa Roja. Tlacolula, Mexico. Photo credit: Chef Aldo Saavedra

Our very own Chef Aldo Saavedra has embarked on a gastronomical tour of Mexico. He found this delicious barbacoa roja in the village of Tlacolula, Oaxaca, a town founded by the Zapotecs in 1250 A.D.  In Mexico, barbacoa has little to do with barbecue in the U.S.- this dish consists of goat meat usually cooked for hours in an underground pit. This Oaxacan treasure is cooked with a mix of 10 different chilis and is garnished with cauliflower, radish and cilantro. If you are in Tlacotula, you will find that this local favorite is accompanied with tortillas and a drink made with a sweet and refreshing cactus fruit called pitaya.