A delicious tradition which coincides with Holy Week is the Sherbet Fair in Santiago Tulyehualco, in Xochimilco. This year it will be held from March 23rd to April 1st, and you will be able to enjoy its delicious sherbets, homemade, with 100 percent natural ingredients.
The fair has its roots in pre-Hispanic times, when the first Xochimilcas only offered this delicacy to high priests. In ancient Tlatelolco customers could find sherbet, which at that time was a luxury item for which a high price of up to 20 cocoa seeds had to be paid. The high cost was due to the fact that ice had to be brought all the way from the snowy slopes of the Popocatepetl and Ixtacihuatl volcanoes, two days away. To prevent the ice from melting, the ancient Xochimilcas wrapped the ice chunks in sisal fibers, which kept them from melting. Once extracted, the ice was finely chopped and sweetened with agave or prickly pear syrup, packed in clay pots and taken to the Tlatelolco market.
After the Conquest of New Spain, sherbet was traditionally eaten during the hot season, and particularly on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The Sherbet Fair was established in 1529 by Fray Martin de Valencia and lasted only two days. Over time, the families living in Santiago Tulyehualco resumed the tradition, which continues to this day.
The Quirino Mendoza square, in the center of Santiago Tulyehualco, is the traditional site where hundreds of producers will surprise you with their proposals ranging from the exotic, to the medicinal, with liquor, marine, chile, fruits and cereals. If you have an adventurous palate, you must taste sherbet made from rose petals, pulque with maguey worm, mole, spearmint, lettuce, rattlesnake, shrimp, oyster, octopus or tequila. You will also find more traditional flavors such as mango, strawberry, lemon, zapote, etc. Prices range from ten pesos onward and admission is free. Be sure not to miss it!