Nestled in the Sierra Norte of Puebla, Cuetzalan is a magic town perfect for relaxing, enjoying the fog, listening to indigenous languages and trying dishes with pre-Hispanic heritage. Locals use fresh ingredients to prepare endless delicacies: beans, corn, mushrooms and fungi – which are abundant due to the wet weather – and fruits such as passion fruit, green apple and macadamia, among others.
During Lent, there are lots of options for enjoying meat-free dishes. Just walk down the town’s cobbled streets to encounter snack stalls and small places selling artisanal sweets and liqueurs. If you want to try the most typical food go to the small central market and start your meal with a piping hot mushroom or wild fungi soup. To eat, the local inhabitants use fresh made tortillas instead of cutlery. Other local delicacies are bean and mole tamales, tayoyos –similar to gorditas, prepared in avocado leaves – and stews with quelites, an edible plant.
In the restaurants of Cuetzalan the stars of the menus are the acamayas, a freshwater crustacean similar to the lobster that has been caught and prepared since pre-Hispanic times. It is cooked in soup, cream, or in a garlic or butter sauce, in a chile guajillo sauce or marinated in chile, onion and epazote. Be sure to try it!
To go with your dishes, order a glass of yolixpa, a liqueur containing 23 herbs, sweetened with brown sugar or honey. You must also taste wine made out of coffee or passion fruit. And, to take back home, don’t forget to buy artisan bread and cheese and fruit preserves.
Where to eat
This restaurant is located in the Chiuanime community, comprising Nahua indigenous women. Enjoy some delicious tayoyos, a dish with beans and xocoyote – the stem of a leaf – with sesame seed and chiltepin sauce, a cinnamon mole with freshly prepared tortillas, smoked rice and a fresh passion fruit juice. All dishes are prepared with organic ingredients, grown in their own garden. What could be more traditional than this?
Yohualichan archaeological site, 6 miles from the municipality of Cuetzalan, Puebla
Meson Don Chon
In this typical restaurant, you will find seafood prepared with indigenous ingredients. The acamayas and oysters with pepper are the most asked for dishes. For dessert, indulge in mountain coffee and a macadamia nut pie.
Calle Hidalgo 3–A, downtown Cuetzalan, Pue.