Category Archives: Food

Guide to Markets in Mexico

Friends, followers, internet searchers: Thank you for visiting my blog.

Markets are some of my favorite places to visit in Mexico. Every city has at least one, from enormous labyrinths in Mexico City to warehouse-size local hangouts in small towns. Markets are perhaps the best place to immerse yourself in the colors, tastes, and cultures of Mexico—and of course to buy delicious tropical fruit.

I have the great honor of being published regularly in Transitions Abroad, the best website for travel stories and information on living outside of your home country. They recently published my story How to Make the Most of Markets in Mexico. Please click the link to read the story.

And here are a few more of my favorite photos from markets in Mexico:

13 valladolid market 15 valladolid market yucca

14b san simon candles copy 14a candy 14 medicine 13 medicine 3 12 medicine 2 11c papayas 11b fruit smaller size

The Day of the Dead and the Feria del Alfeñique

For a more recent post about the Day of the Dead in Mexico, please click here.

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November 2 is el Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico. Starting in early October, the Feria del Alfeñique is set up in central Toluca, with vendors, skeleton displays and shrines of offerings for dead relatives from various ethnic groups and universities in the State of Mexico.

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The Ofrenda (Offering)

On the Day of the Dead, Mexicans remember their dead relatives by placing a shrine in their homes full of fruit, sweets, and sometimes booze. If Grandpa used to like a special tequila or whiskey, then in the ofrenda it goes, along with Grandma’s favorite snacks and candies.

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The Cemetery Visit

Along with the ofrenda at home, many people pay a visit to the cemetery to decorate graves of dead relatives and spend some time with them.

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Some people stay in the cemetery all night, drinking beer, tequila, or mescal. If they drink, then they share with the dead, splashing a little on the ground now and then. All night in cemeteries across Mexico there is music, singing, and praying, and light from candles and fires.

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The Feria del Alfeñique (Alfeñique fair) in Toluca

Here in Toluca, about a hundred vendors set up in the Portales, a pedestrian mall and series of arches downtown, and sell all things related to the holiday. This is the Feria del Alfeñique, a great way to sample skull-and-bone-shaped Mexican candies.

Big sugar skulls called calaveras are the most representative candies of the Day of the Dead. The image, with its colorful trim and toothy, laughing mouth, can be seen everywhere – on plastic banners for restaurants advertising their special meal, cut out of decorative pastel paper, and on sugary candy of many sizes.

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Aside from sweets you can get little handicrafts for your ofrenda. My favorites are the calavaritas, little skeletons at work, such as doctors, teachers, musicians or strippers. They are great gifts – buy the one with the same job as your friend. Last year I bought a taco cook for a friend who’s a chef. They cost only a few dollars, a great deal for being handmade.

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Toluca is a little off the tourist track, but it’s an easy trip from Mexico City – only an hour or two. Take a bus from the Observatorio station in Mexico City, and then a taxi (30 pesos) to downtown Toluca (centro) and the Portales.

November 1 or 2 are the nights for a cemetery visit, but if you come to Toluca anytime during the month before the Day of the Dead, you can get a good taste of the tradition at the Feria del Alfeñique right here in the center of town.

For more about the different kinds of candies on this holiday, please read:

Toluca’s Day of the Dead and Strange Mexican Candies

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A Guide to Fruit in Mexico and How to Eat It

Big papayas

Big papayas

UPDATE:

This story was published on Transitions Abroad, an excellent website on life and travel in the great wide world.

Please read the article here: http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/travel/articles/mexico-fruits-exotic-fresh.shtml

Thank you Transitions Abroad for publishing it and so many other of my stories.

And enjoy these pictures:

6 kilos of oranges costs about 1.60 USD

6 kilos of oranges costs about 1.60 USD

pitthaya inside

Pitthaya in Guatemala

Rambutans are the red ones on the right

Rambutans are the red ones on the right

granada cut

Granada (pomegranate) – break it, don’t slice into it

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