Homemade Achiote Paste ~ Recado de Achiote

If you’ve ever tried the slow-roasted citrusy pork dish, cochinita pibil, from the Yucatán peninsula, then you’ve certainly experienced the flavor or achiote or annatto seeds.

The achiote tree or bush is native to the tropical regions of the Americas. The fruit of the plant is very peculiar looking. The orange-red seeds grow inside hairy brown pods and have been used to color everything from lipstick to cheeses.

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Places to Eat: Puebla

Balcony at El Mural de los Poblanos

Although we were only in Puebla for a few short days, the food has been some of the most memorable we have eaten on the whole trip. My wonderful travel companion, Daniela of The Spiced Kitchen, always asks, “Do you think this meal was life-changing?,” and I honestly have to say that some of the foods we tried in Puebla were a big YES! to that question.

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Mesón Sacristía Cooking Class

Chiles en Nogada at Mesón Sacristía

It has been a while since I have done an update. I apologize. The internet has been very spotty at some of our hotels, and it makes writing a blog post ten times harder.

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Mesones Sacristía

Ten years ago, I came to Mexico for the first time to study in the city of Puebla. I immediately fell in love with everything–the food, the people, the architecture, the colors, and the way of life. I remember coming to the downtown area on my free afternoons and just marveling over the beauty of the buildings and the hanging green plants everywhere. I would often walk by this quaint hotel that was painted that pretty Mexican pink with indigo blue accents and peer in at the beauty beyond its large wooden doors. I remember I even asked the door attendant one time if I could come in to take a few pictures. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that ten years later I would be staying at this gorgeous oasis in the middle of one of my favorite cities.

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Casa Jacaranda

Inside the beautiful Casa Jacaranda

Today’s adventures began just a few blocks away from our AirBnB at a little café called Alelí. One of my favorite parts about staying in La Colonia Roma is that you discover a new little shop every time you turn the corner. Alelí is one of those cute cafés with pretty plates of many designs hanging along its wall, a collection of fun cushions on the long bench, and tables with chairs of different sizes and colors.

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Escuela de Gastronomía Mexicana (ESGAMEX)

For those of you who don’t know, I will be in Mexico for the next three weeks with fellow teacher and food blogger, Daniela Cho of The Spiced Kitchen, studying Mexico’s gastronomic traditions. We received a Fund for Teachers Fellowship to study the intersection between Mexican food, culture, history and community, and we will be bringing our experiences back to the classroom in the fall to share with our students. This means that we will be taking cooking classes, visiting markets, talking to locals, and traveling throughout Mexico for the next few weeks. I am going to do my very best to give you an update each day, and I hope that the pictures can do a lot of the talking.

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