If you've been following along, you know I'm in Mexico with the Tahona Society, a tequila education program sponsored by Olmeca Altos tequila. So far we had a cocktail contest and visited three distilleries plus a whole lot of bars.
Today after visiting a distillery, we went to learn some Mexican history. Near the city of Teochitlan are the ruins of Guachimontones, an Indian culture dating back to a hundred years or so B.C.. Up on a hill is the place where the royalty lived and worshipped. There were circular pyramids and a restored ball court.
Then we headed into town to try pulque. If I understand correctly (and I may not have so don't quote me) this traditional product is made by cutting off the flowering stem of an agave plant and scooping out the fermenting watery good inside.
At a little roadside bar we stopped for some. They were made by a proud woman who cooks in a traditional Mexican domed oven, and makes other pre-Spanish foods and drinks.
We tried several things:
- High-strength pulque, which was served in a tiny cup and tasted like vinegar and smelled like the devil.
- Flavored pulque, which is what they normally serve. For this she has clay pots full of flavoring ingredients including tamarind, guava, tomato, and oatmeal. To scoop of this in a glass she adds unflavored pulque to make the final drink. It is served with a plastic spoon in the glass so you can keep stirring it to keep it mixed while you drink it. I tried the tamarind and oatmeal and they were really delicious. (Not so much the aroma, but the flavor.)
- Traditional style pulque, which was chopped tomatoes, onions, and chilies with the high-strength pulque. It almost tasted like vinegar-based salsa and was surprisingly good.
- Sweet bread dessert roll baked using pulque in the recipe, I think in place of milk.
- Corn cooked in pulque, which was good but so flavorful I'd like it as a topping rather than a dish.
All told, a great experience, despite the generally unpleasant things you generally hear about pulque.